Have you ever had one of those days where God seems to be wanting to teach you something, but you just flat out don’t get it? I’ve had a week like that.
“Baptize me, oh Lord,
To the criticism of man,
That I might one day
become immune to it.”
– Beth Moore
That is not a prayer for the faint-hearted, wouldn’t you agree?
To be covered by, or immersed in other people’s criticism so that I can become immune. Wow. Not something I would personally wish for. The immunity part, fine, I just don’t like the medicine. There’s no sugar coating that kind of cure. Even the flu shot only offers a small amount of the virus, and it’s already dead. It’s not full of a live flu culture, I mean that would be crazy. Right?
This is a different kind of booster shot: Criticism in it’s full dosage, alive and well, pouring over me. To be found lacking by someone else. Me? Lacking, surely they jest or do they? Not my kind of cure.
It all started when I went to a Women of Faith conference last week with a few gals from my church and we had a blast. We listened to Max Lucado, Jennifer Rothschild, Patsy Clairmont, Marilyn Meeberg, Sheila Walsh, Luci Swindoll, Thelma Wells, and Sandi Patti. I was tested, lifted, and refreshed. Their joy was so contagious that we reserved 25 tickets for next year. I couldn’t wait to tell the gals who couldn’t come this year, about their chances for next. We spent the whole car ride home talking and planning.
Sunday morning I saw her. The one person I thought for sure would be excited. Was she not the person who told me when I joined the church four years ago that she was hungry for Bible studies, retreats, and women’s ministry? Had she not told me that while other churches in our town did those things, ours did not and she wished we could and that she just knew that I was the person to lead them? Had she not wanted to go with us on this weekend? Did she not simply say “I can’t afford it right now, but keep me in mind for next year?” I couldn’t contain myself. I just had to tell her what we had done.
I got baptized. Not sprinkled, I don’t even think I got dunked. Think Niagara Falls and I never saw it coming.
I had forgotten that our missionary league had a national gathering in 2007. She is a very active member of this missionary league. An organization that I had participated in and loved for well over a decade. They do a lot of wonderful things for the body of Christ, things that might not otherwise get done. I just don’t have the time for it right now. My heart’s desire, my passion, and my “mission” if you will is to feed women. To give them a place for the Marys to be and the Marthas a break. If you ask me what excites me? It’s watching the lights come on in their eyes, seeing the shoulder’s relax, and the spirit rest. I love that!
So, I’m excited, and not only is she not sharing my joy – she turns on the fire hose of conviction and opinion. “Oh my. That stuff is soooo second rate. Don’t you understand they are just wannabes compared to XXXX. We have everything you need in our group. You need to come to nationals for yourself and just see.” My first impression was one of total disbelief. I could not have heard her correctly. Max? Luci? Sheila? Second rate? Are you kidding me?
Our animated conversation continued outside. The more passionate she became in her convictions, the deeper my heels dug into the ground with mine. I finally had the sense to state that she could have her opinions and that was fine, just please don’t run me or what I’m trying to do into the ground to my face, or to other people.
I wish I could say she heard me, and understood. But she didn’t. All she had to say to that was “Well, I have to tell people the truth.”
I wish I could say that I heard her, and understood, but I didn’t. All I could say was “Well then, don’t ever ask me for anything again.” and I walked away.
Yep, I took the mature route. I took my dolly, walked over to a place where my “real friends” were sitting, and burst into tears. I was a sniffling wheenie. After being consoled and calming down, I did what any red-blooded woman of faith would do, I went home and prayed for her.
My prayer? “Go get her God.”
That’s how a lot of my intercessory prayers begin you know. With them.
I’m thankful that not only does God meet me there, he doesn’t let me stay there for long.