A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22
The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, But as for a broken spirit who can bear it? Proverbs 18:14
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:13
Don’t Take It Personal was the debut single by Monica, way back when lol, who happens to be one of my favorite singers of all time. Now the rest of the lyrics of this song don’t relate all that much to what I am going to share here, but its the title that keeps ringing in my head lately because I realized a few days ago that I was taking things that had been happening a little too personally, to the point that my mood, demeanor and outlook all changed.
There have been so many things going on lately in my life and in the lives of my loved ones. Consequently, these are things that I have taken personally and allowed to affect me in my heart and soul. These things had me sad and honestly, feeling very broken. Because the truth of the matter was that I could not fix these things myself. Control issues surfacing again…Eeeck!!!…I guess I was still trying to fix stuff smh. I had to sit back and let God do His work. But as I thought over the last few day how these situations had affected me this summer, I realized how personally I had taken them…they put me in a black hole so to speak. I allowed the negativity that emitted from them to zap my strength, to hurt me, to put me in a place of unpleasantness, and cause me emotional turmoil. I allowed disagreements, opinions, and attitudes as well as circumstances and situations to affect my energy and how I was feeling. Finally, I heard God speaking to me repeatedly over the last few days, especially yesterday through the scriptures above on why I should stop the madness already! LOL!! I love that He has effortlessly stripped them off my back already and I am quickly returning to my chipper self.
I had crazy thoughts from all of these things. Because of the relationship woes faced by some of my friends and associates, I temporarily felt I would be doomed to the single life of being alone and needed to find the nearest convent…even to the point that I thought it was best to deny myself the right to living one of my dreams of being married and a mother one day. I allowed being here in New Orleans alone without close family or many friends to drag me down to the slums where I was having a regular pity party for myself. I allowed the negative energy caused by the test of my faith at work to drain me to the brink of depression and I allowed other things to nearly ruin my birthday. I allowed the struggles of others to tug on my heart so much that I would feel sad instantly from hearing of their struggles. As I think of this now, I recognize that I was being attacked mentally, physically and spiritually by the enemy through these things. Why and how, you ask? Because I had taken them personally and as a result, I gave him a door of opportunity to infect my mind. Even worse, like a first time gardener, I nurtured those weeds unknowingly!
Do not get me wrong…we all go through and are comforted by God to in turn provide comfort to others. Going through is a part of the Christian walk. We are called to help carry and share the burdens of our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. However, I have yet to find a place in the Bible that says we are to take these things so personally that we allow the words subsequently planted by the enemy after we open that door to throw us into a conundrum where we then doubt the promises of God for our own lives. And that is what I was doing. Taking everything personally, dragging myself down. My error involved two things: not guarding my heart and not being as vigilant as I should have been over my thoughts.
So as a result, my heart was aching. And as I took a giant leap back from others to rest and refuel these last few weeks, God has shown me many things and in turn revealed the condition I was suffering from and its source. Taking things personally breaks our spirits. Taking things personally basically puts us under the feet of others and causes us to be trampled by their lives and our own lives. I also just realized it indicates a lack of complete faith and submission to God because we then try to fix these things in our own strength or we allow those seeds to take root in our own minds, causing tares in our garden. And it isn’t others that have to weed your garden–God does it with you being a willing participant! We cannot allow what others do to us, the things those close to us are facing, the ills of the world, and the drawbacks we face personally to get us so distraught that we drawback from God or we attempt to take fixing the wrongs of life into our own hands. We are told to place our burdens at the feet of Jesus–don’t you know that it includes the burdens of others and every situation we encounter, too? We have to leave our bitter supervisors and co-workers, unhappy family members, confused friends and in my case, loneliness, and any other issues that arise at the feet of Jesus. We have to put on that garment of praise and remember that God will get us through this time and also get others through their tough times as long as we are trusting and resting in Him. We cannot take things so personally that we disconnect from God. Remember, the joy of the Lord is your strength, so if you lack joy–something that no man can take away–you lack strength!
If you would have saw me around the second and third weeks of July…you would have asked me what was wrong. I had so much on my mind; I was dealing with stuff that wasn’t even my own to deal with and as a result, I questioned myself (this is why it is key to go to God for yourself for that clarity, because while others may be able to provide insight, only God can truly reveal the truth, but that is most definitely another devotion, another day for that, lol). But in submitting these things to God, I have gained a key to the future. While it is much easier said than done–to not take things personally, that is–the one thing I can always do is pray for God to help me with it. You can do the same and trust that God has you, your friends and family, and even your coworkers in the palm of His hand. He will work it out for you!
Heaviness in the heart of man makes him stoop: but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25