A door mat or a stepping stone

Key verse: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galations 6:9 (NIV)

I had taken up yet another assignment for my not so pleasant boss.

Correction: I did not have the courage to refuse yet another assignment from the scariest (short tempered, moody and unpredictable) person in my department.

The assignment was time consuming and monotonous, and I would gain nothing from it- not even praise.

Being at the bottom of the corporate ladder and having lower qualifications than most of my colleagues made me an ideal scrape goat for assignments of this kind.

Also the reason why my colleagues called me the door mat- yet again!

The doormat title wasn’t a new one.

The descriptions changed: in childhood it was called caring, helpful, pleasant, friendly; in adulthood it was called people pleasing, diffidence, irresoluteness, non assertiveness.

The feelings of resentment and anger that rose within me, did not diminish over time.

I love my job and unpleasant tasks like this one are scarce.

But after sleepless nights at the computer, a nauseating road trip of 300 kms, and another degrading comment, I did some introspection.

Where was the boundary between being a stepping stone and a door mat?

Should I turn down assignments that are unpleasant (or from an unpleasant person)?

Should I feel taken advantage of when assigned additional tasks?

A verse in the bible reading that day struck me:”If someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well; and if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two.”(Matthew 5:39-41)

This was not about developing assertiveness, making priority lists, being productive, and setting professional boundaries.

This was not about self preservation.

The instinct that says: What is in this for me?

 “How do I benefit financially or career wise by doing this task?” “I will not to tire myself out physically and emotionally, so that have energy left to do what I have planned afterwards.”

Our instincts tell us to pursue success, happiness and health.

We falsely believe that we lose something by rendering of ourselves or our possessions.

Our instincts are strong, but blind and need direction. Unless directed towards God, we may lose the very thing that we yearn for. In seeking happiness, we may lose it; in seeking health, become unwell; in seeking satisfaction, become delusional.

Self preservation focuses on self while sacrifice denies self.

The word of God says that it is better to give than to receive.

That pursuing purity of heart is better than pursuing health and happiness.

That in order to reap generously, we are to sow generously. (2 Corinthians 9:6)

We are further asked to give cheerfully, not out of regret or compulsion. (2 Corinthians 9:7)

God promises that if we suffer, he will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us. (1Peter 5:10)

I thought back on my boss, the one universally disliked. Whose entrance into the office, caused others to leave. Whose voice caused people to pretend deafness.

God however seemed to say that day: “He’s my child too”.

Suddenly I didn’t feel resentful, I felt sorry for him. I pitied him for the life he had created, his use of threat rather than love to get work completed and his lack of meaningful relationships in life.

I realized that the only way to overcome evil was with love.

I prayed for him that day.

The boss didn’t change and became a wonderful human being.

This assignment didn’t get me the promotion and raise I was waiting for.

What had changed was my attitude.

When a few days later he sent me a thank you note, I thanked him for the opportunity to help him.

I stopped slandering him, and even attempted to defend him when he was unjustly criticized.

I certainly lost my dread of him, even though there were harsh words carelessly tossed at times.

I learned that you don’t lose anything by giving.

Dear Lord, we pray that you will always be first in our lives. Help us to follow your example in selflessness and look to you when we feel weak, insecure and unappreciated. When we are tempted to indulge in ourselves or disregard someone else, remind us that we are all equal in your sight. Help us to understand that we fulfil your purpose in our lives only when we submit ourselves to you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Advertisements
Posted in self image, woman, work | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Deliver us from Evil- Ravi Zacharias

Deliver us from Evil- Ravi Zacharias

I literally picked up the book by its cover, which displays the famous painting by Edvard Munch entitled “Scream”.

Why is there so much evil in this world? Is God at fault?

I was confused and wanted answers, which I thought this book might help answer. It did answer a few.

The first session was long winded and difficult to read. It tried to explain how the American society has changed in the past century in terms of culture and approach to moral values.

The second part talked about our role as Christians in society.

Dr. Ravi Zacharias language is deep, intellectual and complex. He quotes beautiful passages from famous writing and speeches.  He is an apologist. This book is very useful when talking to people who do not believe in religion. It digs deep into the basic understanding of religion and the uniqueness of Christianity. The final message is loud and clear: Evil can be overcome by the power of prayer and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Posted in book review, Christianity, classics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

It’s my turn – Ruth Bell Graham

51eScsSHhyL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI picked up this book out of curiosity. I wondered what this famous preacher’s wife said about managing a home of 5 children mostly on her own, while her husband was travelling the world. I expected serious, deep theological advice, but was pleasantly surprised to find down to earth witty writing. Ruth describes her struggle with weariness, handling a difficult child and understanding her purpose in short passages interspersed with poetry.

A treat to Mummies struggling to have it all together.

 

 

You can find the book in amazon here.

You can read a nice article about Ruth Bell here.

Posted in book review, Christianity, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Don’t chicken out!

Bo Bo, the latest addition to our family had what you could call a “narrow escape”. She was brought to our home to be made into ‘biryani’ (which is a spicy dish of rice and meat) but stayed on alive.

My daughter took a fancy on her when my father in law told her it was an egg-laying hen. She wanted to see a hen lay eggs, and with no knowledge of chickens- except how to make curries and fries of them- we conceded. By day 2, my temper was rising and obsessive nature at full display. There were droppings on the door mat, on a chair and rice strewn over the floor. Bo bo had bad manners and there was no sight of eggs. On day 3 I came back from work to a chicken coop in the front room. The chicken was clearly here to stay. My tantrums hadn’t helped at all. My aversion to animals can be excused, having grown up in a nuclear family with no pets, except fishes when in high school. I learned a few things from BoBo anyhow:

  1. Animals make children happy

Over the next one week, I noticed my daughter looking much happier. She woke up in the morning on time to look out for her chicken. BoBo broke into a happy gurgle on seeing her. She responsibly fed it and took it for its daily walk, which was also a physical activity she badly needed.

2. Chicken are good at being chicken

Bo bo taught me the literal meaning of being a chicken. Being from an overcrowded farm grown, she had never seen real food. She cautiously examined the cucumber from all sides before making a peck at it and tried to hide from the tomato. When whiskers, the cat,  passed by the opposite wall, she broke into hysteric buck buck bukkks, which would not stop, even when reassured that she was safe in her coop.

3. Chicken and children have similarities

BoBo needed healthy mashed baby food since she had been debeaked- a common practice in large farms to prevent hens from hurting each other. It is difficult to toilet train her. She seldom learned from her mistakes. She did not learn that once she kicked down her water jug, the water would be gone. And once food was spilled, she refused to eat it.

4. Animals help you make friends

Bo bo  attracts the kids in the neighbour, who drag their parents along to see the ‘kozhi’, as a result of which we have gained a few new friends.

5. All we like chickens

We are all chicken in some ways. We have difficulties adjusting to new places, new food and new habits. We have fixed ideas about situations and have difficulties seeing a positive side of it. (Like the impossibility of growing a chicken in a small house and the possibility of writing a positive post about it.)

We resist change. Change looks messy, annoying, inconvenient and at times unreasonable.

As we start another year, I pray that we will be able to accept the changes it brings, gracefully trusting in God to change us into the kind of people He wants us to be. Amen

 

Posted in life style, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Guilty and Charged

I completely realized that what I had done was wrong.

I would have felt better if I hadn’t. It would have felt good to justify myself and blame the other person. But didn’t want to.

I felt remorseful, pained and ashamed!

What was fuel to the flames were the reactions of others.

Judgment was unrestrained- cruel and brutal.

It was delivered through averted glances, words that ceased when I passed, missing invitations and a vacant place next to me in church.

I lost all my friends almost overnight.

Some of you may be thinking- of course, there is pain. Actions have consequences.

“The wages of sin is death”, and what I had done considered one of the worst.

There was one person who did not condemn me though.

He said all sin had consequences- jealousy did, so did gossip, greed, covetousness, anger, envy, pride, unforgiveness and self-righteousness– to list a few.

He said he didn’t see sin as a spectrum, from the smallest to the largest.

In fact, all big sin started with little wrong thoughts- thoughts of discontent, comparison and egotism.

He said: “Yes, there are consequences. But I still love you and I would never leave you.”

So while the world judged and condemned me, I understood that the One who knew me through and through didn’t.

I learned to stop seeing myself as a victim, or a trespasser.

I learned to see myself as a child who had taken wrong baby steps of curiosity, leading to a wrong path, leading to a wrong destination.

I submitted my wrong footwear and unguided feet to the One. He took me into his everlasting arms and said: “I forgive you, my child, do forgive yourself.”

I stayed in that place untilthe storm passed by and the waters ceased to rise. Then I took a new path, guided by a loving and firm hand.

There is forgiveness of sin- You just need to ask!

Forgiveness.png

Posted in Christianity, depression, pain, psychology, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I wonder if you’re hurting tonight.

“not all scars show,

not all wounds heal,

sometimes you can’t see the pain,

that someone feels.” – anon

I couldn’t stand another story of miraculous healing, cured illness or transformed relationship. While those seemed to happen in other’s lives, clearly it didn’t happen in mine. I’ve also had enough of Christian friends telling me to have more faith, pray more deeply and attend more bible studies. So at one point I shunned them and found myself alone in my pain.

The pain increased when I saw expecting mothers and little children- which was inevitable since I work in the new born unit of a hospital. It also hurt when colleagues didn’t tell me they were expecting in consideration of my feelings. My constant thought was “Didn’t God love me enough to grant me my little wish of a child?”

As I sat today with the results of yet another failed In-vitro fertilization, I questioned God again, “Why?” Why would someone who could move mountains, make me go through so much pain? The argument that it was to make me stronger, seemed cruel and void. I felt empty and drained.

The devotion of that day started with this verse: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3: 17-18

At this time I couldn’t stop the surge of tears.

“This is not fair Lord.”

He asked me then: “Would you still love me- cos I do!”

Did he mean if my wishes don’t come true?

I read the verse again and again and teared up every single time.

And my heart spoke:”Yes Lord, I do love you- where could I be apart from you?”

I felt a peace envelope my heart. It’s alright if I don’t understand the why, as long as I know who matters.

That was enough for me.

 

“The Lord thy God in  the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”

Zephaniah 3: 17

 

Dear Lord, I pray for all those who are hurting today. I pray that you give us strength to face all that life throws at us. I pray that your comforting words sustain us, when we want to give up, that in the midst of the raging storm, we feel secure, because you are holding us. And if possible Lord, take this suffering away from us, but your will be done. Amen.

Posted in Christianity, depression, pain, Uncategorized, woman | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

What’s the point with words?

Sometimes I wrote cos those words wouldn’t stop coming from somewhere deep inside, and I felt I would suffocate if I didn’t get them down on paper.

I wrote in glitter pens- when life was good; in pencils- when I wanted the content erased; in black ink in scribbles- when life was hell; and in blood- when I was in pain.

Some words turned into poetry, some into stories and some journal entries along life’s way.

I wrote for self-gratification- to make me feel accomplished, get ‘likes’, and get prizes when it was a competition I wrote for.

I wrote for myself.

Till I joined COMPEL.

COMPEL is underlined with the words- “Write words that move people.”

It is an online Christian writing community with courses on writing- with a focus on Christian Writers.

I don’t consider myself a good Christian, so while I wanted to learn to write, I wondered if I would be out of place. Also, membership was costly- about my one months’ salary- and I’m a person with difficulties maintaining a minimum balance in my account.

On the last day of registration, I happened to have exactly about that amount in my bank account- I can assure you it never happens, and it had to be divine providence.

It was a leap of faith and one that was completely worth it.

Over the past two months, I have heard down to earth women talk about their lives, about writing and what keeps them going. I have seen and heard what faith can do and what happens when you heed your calling. I also learned how to write good titles, short sentences, and great first paragraphs.

But what moved me most was one speaker pointing out that with each sentence you write on a blog, you are asking people to ‘follow’ you. The last person who said that was Jesus. And that was responsibility!

I was ashamed of some of the posts I had written and struggled with the impulse to delete them all.

I didn’t.

I realized that the same person who asks us to follow him, accepted us the way we were then, just as he accepts us the way we are now and will be if we allow him to walk with us the rest of the way.

That was me then, this is me too.

I pray that God seasons my words henceforth to bring glory to him.

That I write words that soothe, strengthen and encourage people.

I pray that you who patiently read my posts will be lifted up by its content.

With love.

Posted in Christianity, dreams, psychology, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment