Monday, February 4, 2013

How Do Others See GRACE in us?

I had a rough weekend.  Since this space often serves as a journal of sorts for me, I am going to use it to share this experience; I have no doubt that there is a lesson in here for me.

I'll try to be brief since generally, I'm an all-the-details-I-can-squeeze-in kind of gal.

Many of you know, I own my own business.  Without stating what company I represent, I'll just say that I make a great income working from home and doing a few shows/parties outside my house once or twice a week.

This past weekend, we traveled to Charlotte, NC for a one day conference and training event. These events include trainers and speakers from our home office as well as those in the local area. It is a great event and largely built around excitement and recognition both at the individual level and the team level.

I have been in this business for almost 9 years and, at the risk of sounding conceited, I think I have done pretty well! I am not even close to the highest position with the company; I'm not as advanced as I imagined I might be at this point when I first started; I don't have a huge team.

However, I have been able to stay at home with my kids and have worked this business and built my team while having and raising 2 kids who are now almost 9 and 5.  So if you didn't pick up on that, I started my business while I was pregnant (very pregnant) with my first child.  I've personally helped around 50 other people start their own businesses with this company, and then continued to help them as they sponsored new members and formed their own teams.

Most people are THRILLED to have help from several "generations" of women in this business.  I think it says a lot about the compassion and integrity of the group I joined back in 2004 that we want every new consultant to thrive and meet his or her personal goals!

THRILLED! ALL BUT ONE who, at every turn, has refused my help and pushed me away with both hands.  Now, don't get me wrong, she is successful; she has done well; she is a self-proclaimed "fame seeker." She likes to be the center of attention and she will tell you that; she likes to have a fuss made over her.

It would not bother me in the slightest for someone to be a self-starter and want to do things on their own, if it meant the quality of what she was passing along to new consultants was the same as the precedent that had already been set for this team.  I understand there are many methods for achieving the same result, but when new reps aren't getting basic information that equips them to go out and hold successful shows, I take offense. I take my job, to train and equip everyone on my team, very seriously. I also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I have offered to her, as well as everyone she has sponsored, all the same benefits that I have always offered to new team members.

Unknown to me until the moment it happened, she was selected to speak on stage at this recent event.  While some of the details of her speech seemed a little "off" to me, I assumed it was due to time constraints and the need to leave out unnecessary details.  Except she didn't.  She managed to mention the person who first offered her this opportunity AND a higher up director in her speech when the story would have been just as effective had she not.  Guess who she didn't mention as a helper along her journey? You guessed it - ME: her actual director!

I was already shocked that she was even on stage! So now, I was actually stunned that she had just snubbed me so publicly! Dozens of people (and quite possibly hundreds) in that room knew she was part of my organization.

A few minutes after her speech was over and she'd left the stage, I left the room.
Between sobs and hyperventilating breaths, hiding in the very last stall of a large women's restroom, I wondered what I'd done to DESERVE such a thing!? Then I quickly flew from sadness and hurt to anger and resentment.

Writing this almost brings the tears again, because I am so ashamed of my prideful reaction to this and what was, bottom line, a huge blow to my ego.  

I could only think of myself for quite awhile after this.  I composed myself and left the restroom, stopping to glance in the mirror through blurry eyes.

So I stuffed it down; covered my pain with a smile, and tried my best to act normal (whatever that is).
All the while, everyone else is gushing over this speech and "oh my gosh, how cool for her! Wonder why she didn't tell us?"

It gets better! I had a team mate tell me later, this girl said I never congratulated her on earning an incentive last year (as in December 2012).  And I can't help but retort, "she doesn't want any help or association with me, yet I am supposed to gush over her every accomplishment?? Suddenly she needs my approval??" I don't think so; it still feels wrong, even though I've {mostly} made peace with this situation.

On Sunday, I was reminded that Grace is undeserved.  Grace asks, "Who can I show kindness to, " without expecting anything in return.  I guess you could say, grace is unconditional kindness.  I was challenged by my Sunday school leader to think of at least one person who needed grace from me.
Of course, I already knew.

So I vowed to pride myself on conducting my business with integrity even when it doesn't get those results she got.  When I've been told by her team that she bugged them and wouldn't leave them alone and that's the reason they joined, I don't want to feel smug; I want to pray for her and hope her motives are pure. To remember when she gets credit for an idea I originated, that what my Heavenly Father thinks of me is infinitely more important than what people think of me.

And then I read things like this on a friend's FB status:

{I stand in front of the mirror and all I see is what's lacking. What I am not. What I don't have. What I can't do. Then I think of her. Who she is. What she has. What she can do. And it all just splits me open like a plow cutting a line in the soil to sow seed. Scripture warns where this thinking leads: "You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirt will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit." (Galatians 6:7-8 NLT) 
Even when life is hard and chaotic, I pray we make the courageous choice to embrace what is and to fill our souls with all of the good reality right in front of us...May the seeds harvest sincere celebration for her and complete peace in me. Me. A woman once so empty and unglued. Learning. Growing. Reaping more and more fulfillment. (Unglued - Lysa TerKeurst)}

And things like THIS from Ann Voskamp, 

"Someone who knows that in every hard place is exactly where you

extend grace, ..."

And I know, that just as parents use discipline to mold our children and make them stronger, God uses ALL situations for the good of us who love Him and want to live according to His purpose.

And so I sent this team member a congratulatory note on Sunday.  Not to gush, not to prove I was the bigger person, but because it isn't my place to determine who needs GRACE.

For we ALL need it, yet none of us can earn it.  Jesus extended His Grace to me by leaving Heaven, sacrificing His life, and covering all my sin with his shed blood.

The LEAST I can do is extend grace to a fellow human, whether they deserve it or not.  

1 comment:

  1. Love this post- you are so brave to share the huge hurt you felt! And you pointed to truth! Love this!