She hated my guts, at that point in time. With the receiver still perched in her hand, the woman who thought I wanted her job eeked out the exact words I’d just said to another caller,
“You’re welcome. Hope you have a bright rest of the day,” and hung up with a cold smirk. Though each revised word seemed sweet enough, she was glaring across the office at me with a sour look the whole time.
Has anyone ever borrowed an aspect of your personality they otherwise react negatively to when no-one else is around?
Abrasive: showing little concern for the feelings of others; harsh.
Gentle: having or showing a mild, kind, or tender temperament or character.
Today’s post is on gentleness in a rough world, though I’m no expert on this and couldn’t do it without daily help from above. If you’re wondering – yes, many people will consider you weak when you choose to live gently instead of operating roughly in certain spaces and circumstances. They may even elbow-jab, sharp-nudge, tease or try to belittle you to become more prickly to the touch, but little do they know you’ve probably likely been given a million opportunities to set your heart to cold and walk through life stepping on toes without batting an eyelid.
Being ‘real‘ does not mean being rough; please don’t fall for that trap, sister. How many of us would have bonked someone on the head with a pencil or told someone off without a second thought if being ‘real‘ meant we did and said every and anything that came to mind in a heated moment?
Living gently doesn’t mean you don’t ‘stand up for yourself,’ but it does mean you don’t always have to – it’s also about picking and engaging in ‘battles’ sparingly and debates selectively (or not at all, if you can.) It also entails measuring the weight of words (ideally) before dishing them out to others…maybe you, like me have failed ’nuff times at that too.
Gentle and strong is a thing.
It’s too easy, especially in tense times, to react abrasively when under pressure or to someone who’s either a bully or amidst company that you don’t fit in with and share a different mindset from. Many times, the same people who like to rough-house those who live on the gentle side are observing your every move and mood, perplexed by how you choose calm over chaos. Little do they know – it’s truly a choice at first (sometimes for awhile)…until it become a part of your character.
They often study your demeanor, posture, facial expressions, sensitive spots…the temperature and rhythm of your words, and can adapt traces of some or all of these to meander their way through otherwise tense situations…without any true adjustment or growth in their nature. That’s not your (or my) business. Usually, it’s our unspoken hope for them…that they let light in, soften to recognize the trap of getting caught up in wrestling matches and recognize that time is precious and strife mercilessly uses it up while wizening the soul.
Sometimes the ones who critique you the most are the most curious about how and why you are the way you are.Tweet
If you tend to be more on the gentle side than on the rough one, you know just how challenging it can be to maintain a steady course at that tempo. On our own, it lasts about as long as a bike ride on balloons (instead of wheels.) Choosing gentleness can cause you to retreat from the crowd – good move, as some of are are called to live set apart while reaching out with purpose to share and show love to others. It can stir up feelings of loneliness, but don’t let that lie take root in your heart or mind. You are not alone and you might be sweetly surprised to know there are plenty of gentle souls around the world; some who have endured storms of all kinds and have come out on the other side lighter and better not colder and bitter.
Keep on shining a light. One day it may make a difference for the better in someone else’s life.Tweet
Don’t believe the hype, sis. The world’s definition of ‘strength’ doesn’t match up to the truth about what it looks like or where it springs from and how it’s expressed in real life. The loudest one in the crowd isn’t necessarily the best leader, like the most muscular isn’t always the most brave. Very often, strength under pressure involves restraint – degrees of self-control. Tough may be trending today, but graceful endurance comes with benefits that radiate from the inside out without the inevitable side-effects of being rough as a default setting.
Gentleness is also better for your heart health and mind state than its opposite. I have no stats on that; just sharing an observation.
If you’re having a tough time living gently right now, a light reminder that you can still pray fervently. We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood anyways so stop flailing your arms and using up your energy and precious time, ok sis? I hope that doesn’t sound rough but at times we’ve got to be assertive about being gentle and not fall for the traps set in place to derail us from walking through life with gifted grace. When your strength and joy come from above, the battles and tug-o-wars that will happen here are already beneath your feet.
It kinda comes with the territory that your patience and nature will be tested and triggered from time to time.
Remember not to be rough on you too – we’re all still works in progress. Still, be proactive with prayer – vigilant and resilient with it especially if you are under attack or in an oppressive environment. You don’t match tough talkers where they are because that’s not who you are, but you can maintain your essence and emotional distance while you press forward and beyond any situations that threaten your peace, seek to undermine your nature or are designed to derail your destiny.
Choose gentleness, pray fervently, love faithfully, endure gracefully and live joyfully. This post is inspired by someone who did just that, even when faced with disappointments and challenges that could have changed her character – she was determined to stay thankful, bright, tender-hearted and full of life: one of the most joyful, generous, loving, radiant and beautiful souls I’ve ever been blessed to meet, know and love as a sister-friend. Rest in peace, dear Debbie.
Related post: A Seed Of Kindness: Tenderness In A Tough World