So I had this dream.
In it, a girl I once knew sat behind a desk shuffling papers. Each paper was an indictment against me, detailing what I’d done wrong. She showed those papers to anyone who would pass by, and each one would nod, look at me with disgust, and walk on by. Every person agreed with her assessment of me.
Problem was, as she read from the papers, I realized each page had a glaring error on it, some little detail that tinted the entire page. That one little falsehood made me look awful. Without it, the page read accurately, showing me, who I was, with reality. I pointed this out to her, but she refused to listen. And she camped and harped on the one detail about me that was wrong.
There was nothing I could do to change her mind. And I understood truly that she, of course, would have a terrible opinion of me if those little details were true.
All I could do was shake my head and walk away and let her spread lies like poison.
I woke up with a start, remembering. Thinking back on some painful interactions with people where there was nothing I could do or say that would convince them otherwise. How my trying to help them understand only made me look more guilty of something I never did. How I dug myself into further ridicule.
And in all that, I rested on this: God is either in control or He’s not. And I have very little control in this life, particularly what people believe about me. I cannot manage my reputation. All I can do is look at myself, ask Jesus to examine my heart, make amends where needed, and seek to walk with humility and grace. And remember this beautiful picture: God grants us feasts in the presence of our enemies. (See Psalm 23 if you don’t believe me.)
The real miracle isn’t that I can redline the negative things people believe about me. It’s that I take those misconceptions and lies and place them in the hands of the One who was deeply misunderstood. And then wait for the feast He’ll prepare in the midst of the swirling negativity.
Oh Lord, let it be. Let it be. I’m hungry for Your feast and tired of trying to manage my own reputation. You do it, Lord. I entrust myself to You. Help me to crane my neck just so, so I hear Your voice, not the naysaying voices of those who choose to believe the icky stuff. I’m not saying I’m perfect, Lord. Not by any stretch. But sometimes I let the words of those who are offended or angry define me. It’s YOU who define me. Let me rest there. Let me feast there.