Dear Lucy: I have a co-worker who is very religious. She is always evangelizing and bragging about how blessed she is. That's fine for her, but I don't want to be made to feel like I am somehow less than she is just because she walks around beating up people all in the name of The Lord. Frankly, she uses God's name in vain by always telling us that "the Lord doesn't like this or that" or that bad stuff in our life is God mad at us. How do I deal with this? – Tired of it!
Dear Tired: Recently I have been exploring weight loss programs and read a little tidbit (from a guy named Tony Horton) about what you should do when first starting a diet program. Here is what got my attention:
"(Life) has peaks and valleys, ups and downs, lessons and celebrations. This is how we grow and learn...Stop lying to yourself and everyone else about what you're doing, what you've done and what you're going to do. Stop telling others about your hard workouts and clean diet while pretending that what you are saying is true. If it is true, guess what, we'll know it. Reality is the ability to accept your present situation and love who you are through the process."
So why would I talk about weight loss in answer to your question?
Many of us get excited about new and wonderful directions in our lives. Living is an evolutionary process, "from glory to glory." Whether we are learning to love again, to do a job well, to live a more peaceful, healthy or wealthy life, we like to talk about it. Sometimes we take the track of "faking it 'til we make it."
There is nothing wrong with evangelizing. But like anything else, our truth will show up and show out in the end. Evangelizing that works best is the kind where we are a living testimony. A part of that testimony is being thoughtful and respectful of others.
"From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, the Lord's name is to be praised." God told Moses that His name is "I Am that I Am." We carry that same name. Each time we open our mouths and begin a sentence with the words "I am..."
We have the opportunity to either praise God and set great and holy truths into motion when we use the name that has been shared with us, or, we can follow this powerful name with words of lack, limitation, fear, worry, jealousy, judgment, condemnation, and all sorts of negativity that shows up eventually as our own life circumstances.
What can you do about your co-worker?
Refrain from judgment. Thank her for her obvious concern. Let her know that you are also working your salvation out and that you carefully choose to whom, when and how you talk about that.
Most important, let your own use of "I Am..." be filled with praise in the form of those words and actions that are kind, gentle, loving, truthful and encouraging for you and anyone around you.
When your co-worker begins to speak of her blessings, begin to make a mental list of your own. As you practice conscious gratitude, all anger or frustration with her will melt away. Make of yourself a living testimony of patience, forgiveness and loving-kindness.
And then perhaps one day someone will come to you and ask how you got to be so blessed!
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy's new book, "BE NOT ANXIOUS." Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or from her website.)