resisting retaliation

resisting retaliation

“See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.” –1 Thessalonians 5:15

2018-02-06 09:41:10.591

One of the hardest things in life is criticism. Whether it’s constructive or meant to tear you down, comments about the way we do things can seem personal and hostile. I am not good with criticism. Even if I ask for it, I still cringe at the thought of someone calculating my every move. It’s a part of human nature. We take these helpful hints as a shot to our pride, and we react. Feelings are inescapable. Emotions are in essence the human condition. But emotions are also internal, and most of the time we can choose to show them. Being sensitive to constructive criticism is one thing. Some people can take it like a champ, make the changes, and become better because of it. Not me. I’ll be torn up for days about it, I’ll contort my face and wring my writs with nervousness. These outward actions as a result of my inward emotions are frustrating and self-deprecating. But they’re also a me thing. It’s a personal struggle and the only person who has to deal with it is me, and I recognize that.

Reacting to a negative comment is an entirely different thing. This isn’t something my mind has made up to confuse me. This is actual judgment coming my way with malicious intent. It’s hateful. It’s destructive. I may not have done something to cause it, or maybe I did. Either way, this kind of adversity isn’t meant to lift me up, it’s meant to bring me down. Dealing with this isn’t easy. It isn’t irrational to want to respond. And it’s not inherently wrong to respond. When something like this happens to me I want nothing more than to do just that. To put them in their place, to prove them wrong (especially if what they’re saying is inaccurate or slanderous.) It’s one thing to hold a friend accountable. Accountability is tricky because we’re called to do it. James 5:16 says to encourage your brothers and sisters to grow in Christ, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Jesus “called out” (for lack of a better word) his brothers and sisters. He encouraged them to do better, to fulfill their whole purpose not only for their sake but for the betterment of the Kingdom of God.

“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

We aren’t meant to do life alone, but confronting someone for nothing more than social power and your own satisfaction does nothing. There’s no way to stop this from happening. We have no control over others actions, no matter how hard we try. Individuals will act out on their own will for no reason at all sometimes. The only thing we can control is ourselves and our reaction to this betrayal.

The way we react to things shows our true character. It shows our true colors in the rawest way. Retaliation is something I struggle with, and I probably will for a very long time. It’s not a one-step fix; it’s a process. Like anything in life, in order to change, we must give ourselves space to grow. It’s so frustrating at times, but I’ve found the key to happiness is ignore, ignore ignore. Meaningless hate is just that-meaningless.

Life is too short to acknowledge petty things, much less react to them. If a subtle confrontation has turned into something where it has become impossible to overlook, it’s time to speak up. This interaction is such a sensitive balance, so it is crucial to be gentle with your response. Giving them the satisfaction of a melt-down lets them win. At this point, I want to explode. I want them to feel the humiliation and agitation they made me feel. But what good does that do? They get exactly what they want and I am left even more embarrassed that I showed that I let it get to me. “The only thing more frustrating than slanderers is those foolish enough to listen to them.” ― Criss Jami, Killosophy. Letting the ridiculous thing someone said about your get to you gives it power, and in turn gives power to its creator.

So let go and let God! 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”…-Phillipaims 2:12

 “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me,“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”- 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

kendallbayleejohnson@thehomesickwanderer.com

wait..where’d the sun go?

wait..where’d the sun go?

i’m sure you’ve heard the hundreds of different stories of where everyone in the country spent their day during the GREAT AMERICAN SOLAR ECLIPSE. something about that name makes me laugh, it sounds almost commercialized? can you commercialize the sun? sounds wrong, but very patriotic.

anyways…i had the privilege of spending those 2 1/2 minutes of (partial) totality at my favorite place in the world. camp.

we hosted an event appropriately entitled “total eclipse of the pines” which made me belt out into bonnie tyler every time i heard it!! it was a day of fun, friends, and new experiences. over 900 people showed up to camp, swim, zipline, and try not to stare at the sun. there were even some really cool critters we got to see and even hold!!

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me, excited and terrified that i’m holding a dinosaur, basically.
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scooter was not pleased to be in that little kennel, but he sure was a cutie.

working an event like this was so unique because it wasn’t something we had ever done before (i mean, COME ON!! once in a lifetime people!!) and i had an excuse to see all my cutiehead friends i miss ever so much. spending all day everyday with a group of people and then never seeing them is such a bittersweet feeling. it’s what makes those people special; although i do jump at any chance i get to hang with my peeps!

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cutiehead friends, as previously mentioned!!

the moments leading up to the eclipse were the best part. we had all finished up our stations so collectively we migrated to a nice, sunny spot to catch a glimpse at this thing everyone had been talking about.

the news was there, everyone was happy and smiling: it was absolutely electric!! we probably sat there for thirty minutes buzzing with excitement and anticipation for what was to come, belting our voices out so loud, ignoring the thousand other people in the field staring at us like we’re crazy people.

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and then it happened!! a countdown began as the crowd cheered on the moon, just doin’ its thing. leading up to this point, the sky began to dim. it was as if dusk had fallen; the bats even came out to see what all the commotion was about!!

totality was definitely worth all the hype. it’s so crazy to think something so rare can be tracked down to the second; the moon crossed over the sun right on queue!!

i am so glad i had the opportunity to see such a cool sight not only at my favorite place in the world, but with all of these people i love so dearly.

 

i hope you enjoyed this little snapshot at my eclipse experience.

happy sunday, y’all.

 

kendall