Don't get me wrong. I'm not a total wimp...just a part-time wimp. Sometimes I can be strong and confident, but it's usually over something stupid, like if it's company policy and it's written in stone-something concrete. "Oh, you would like this item to be on sale and it's not? Oh, sorry, I can't make it be on sale." That's concrete. But customers always seem to find the abstract to argue about.
I'm in the landscaping business now. Well, I'm not actually in it...I don't go out and mow the lawns and install the patios myself. I sit in an office and do the books and keep track of things and answer the phone when those unhappy customers call. And you know...the customer is always right! I've realized what that really means-it doesn't mean that you should go out of your way to make sure the customer is happy. It really means that the customer always thinks they are right!
The beauty of this job is that while I am the self-appointed office manager (that's the name I gave myself; even though I'm the only one in the office, I still manage it. I just manage things now instead of people), and I do have to make decisions, and yes, I do have to try to either appease the customer or help him/her to understand whatever it is they called to complain about, I don't have the final say. I don't have to be the "manager in charge." If I can't resolve it, and they just won't budge, I get to pass it on. I get to say, "You'll have to take that up with the owner." Essentially, I'm saying, "I don't have the authority to make that final decision. You'll have to take that up with someone with more authority than I have. You'll have to take that up with my boss."
I kind of like that. I'm not completely wimping out. I do try to solve the problem to the best of my ability. But some people...you know the ones...they are relentless. They will not back down. They have it in their minds that we wronged them and they demand for us to make it right. They accuse you and don't hear or see their part in the problem. Like, maybe if they wanted something done, they should have called and asked for it to be done instead of expecting us to know through osmosis that it should be done.
When I worked in retail, there was a woman who would come in to the store that was so difficult to work with that most of the other associates would avoid her. One girl would actually hide in the stockroom until she was gone, because she had been so harassed by this woman in the past. I found her to be a challenge. Somehow, I knew how to handle her. She just liked to have you all to herself, to be in charge; all you had to do was make her feel important. For some reason, I was able to be strong and confident with this woman.
Satan likes to harass us in much the same way. He calls us up when we least expect it; while we are just going about our business. Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He calls and complains. He is not at all happy with our service. He is relentless. He won't back down. He has been wronged, and he demands that we make it right. He brings up specific things that we've done wrong. Then he heaps on the guilt, the shame. He threatens us. It can even get to the point where when we see him coming, we hide in the stockroom because we don't know how to handle the harrassment. We don't feel strong and confident. We feel like a wimp. And that makes us feel ashamed. We start "shoulding" on ourselves..."I shouldn't be like this. I'm a strong and mature Christian. I should have tried harder. I shouldn't have said that. I should be doing more. I should have known better....I should read my bible more. I should pray harder. I shouldn't have any fun. I don't deserve it. I should get up at 5:00 am to have my quiet time. I shouldn't fall asleep during my 5:00 am quiet time. I should be more like_____. Fill in your own should. We all do it; we all say it. And that is right where the devil wants us...that's where the devouring process begins.
But here's the thing. We don't own the company-our body, our soul, our spirit. When we give our life to Christ, he becomes the Owner of the company. We are no longer the manager in charge. We can try to be, but it's awfully tiring. At times we can be strong and confident, with the concrete things. But when the devil comes at us with the abstract--with all those shoulds, we wimp out. What to do?
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make your strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:9-11)
We don't have the strength in and of ourselves to resist him, to resist the accusations, the "shoulds." But the Owner of the Company does. Our boss does. So when the accusations come, and they will, we can say, confidently, firmly and strongly, "I don't have the authority to make that final decision. But the owner of the company does. You'll have to take it up with my boss...Jesus Christ." There is power in the name of Jesus! We don't have to cower in the back room. We don't have to sit on the phone and listen to all the accusations. We don't have to look at that finger pointing at us. Or the finger of "should" that we point at ourselves. We get to pass it on and then forget about it.
What are you dealing with today? What "shoulds" are in your life? What accusations have you been listening to over and over? What finger is pointing at you, pointing out all your wrongs, demanding that you figure out a way to make them right? What are you worrying about, stressing about, getting anxious about? Remember this: For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night has been hurled down. Revelation 12:10.... Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (Rom 8:34)
Hold up your hand and say, "STOP! I don't have the final say in all of this. But the Owner of the Company does. You'll have to take it up with my Boss! Jesus, there's a call on line one for you-it's urgent!"
Blessings Along the Path,
Song of the Day