"The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing." Zephaniah 3:17
There was this lady who hated me. I know most of you find that hard to believe but really she hated me. I could hear her mutterings under her breath when I would enter the room. I could feel the daggers she aimed at me when I was in her presence. I saw the look of dread in her eyes when we crossed paths...let me take you back with me.
Soon after I had graduated high school I landed a job at a retail women's clothing store in the town next to ours. I was referred to the assistant manager of this establishment by a friend and was called in for an interview and hired on the spot. I was so excited to begin this new journey in my life. I had always thought I wanted to work in this industry. I loved clothing (the wearing of it and the selling of it).
I worked my first few days in joyful bliss, happy to be apart of a team of women that welcomed me in and taught me everything they knew on how to be a helpful sales representative of this fine boutique. I looked forward to my days of folding the clothing in neat stacks and straightening the clothing on hangers, being sure they were in order by style and color. Everything was going charmingly, and then the manager returned from vacation.
She was very intimidating to me and I could tell from the faces of my co-workers they felt the same. She was not at all how I had pictured the woman who would run a successful garment business. She towered over all of us in height. She wore polyester from head to toe and pantyhose with her opened-toed sandals. She looked through thick coke bottle bottom glasses and also on her face she wore a glare of heightened proportion. I don't think I ever saw her smile.
I was introduced to her immediately on her return and as we shook hands she looked me up and down as if to see if I measured up to what she thought best for her quality of employee grandeur (obviously I failed). She swiftly turned around and on her departure from our introduction she mumbled something about 'time will tell if I am a fit or not'.
Now I could not for the life of me figure out what I had done to this lady. I was always a pretty likable person. It ate away at me that she just didn't care for me...at all.
I began to question every move I made. Second guessing my abilities in this job and redoing all my endeavors at everything I touched. My confidence took a turn for the worse to where I had a hard time approaching customers that would frequent the shop and believing that I could actually help them or not. My comrade's in the industry rallied around me. They encouraged me and told me she always puts the 'new girl' through a time of initiation before she will accept you so I hung on as long as I could until another job opportunity came about then I felt best to be on my way.
After I had space from this time in my life and had spent a lot of time analyzing this experience I realized her hating me was all a perception on my part. I gave her the reigns to who I was as a person and my ability to do a job (I loved) well. I looked to her for acceptance when it wasn't hers to give. I expected too much from someone who was busy carrying her own burdens.
This memory got me to thinking about how many times I assign thoughts to others that they never actually think. I hold them accountable to harsh judgments they never make. And I own a rejection from them they never gave me. I believe I was probably never in her radar but because of my need to have her like me I placed myself there which put me in 'my crazy inside my head scenarios'.
Thankfully, the Lord reminds us that He is able to "quiet" our thoughts with His love and acceptance of us just as we are. We should 'live loved'. Live from the abundant place where you are loved, and you won't find yourself begging others for scraps of love that they are not capable to give.
Lysa Terkeurst says, "God's love isn't based on me. It's simply placed on me. And it's the place from which I should live...loved."
I love you & He loves you more!
Lord, Thank You for experiences in life I can learn and grow from. May I always remember I don't have to worry about who likes me and who doesn't, but that I can rest in knowing the truth that I am completely and perfectly loved by You. Help me to live loved in my everyday. In Jesus' name. Amen.