It’s not that I didn’t know what to say in response to her; baby, I have an excellent way with words. I even remember how to meticulously place a few four-letter words in there. Today just wasn’t the day for that kind of victory. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even feel like getting her back. I simply decided that she could have that one.
| Growth Check: Oooo, You Tried It! |
As a child, it was recommended that my parents take me to the doctor at least once yearly. This particular appointment was called a “Wellness Visit.” My five years of experience working in the medical field at least taught me the difference between a problem visit and a wellness visit. Problem visits could be scheduled anytime that an issue arose. The appointments would fall somewhere between the previous and upcoming yearly exams, and typically a quick emergency fix was needed. For example, if I had been running a fever for a few days, if I had an ear ache, or even the time I got ring worm as a child, my parents called my pediatrician so that I could be seen as quickly as possible to fix the current problem. Then there are wellness visits. Though you are allowed to address any symptoms, issues, or problems that may be present, this type of appointment isn’t specifically for that. At my yearly wellness visits as a child, my doctor wanted to measure my growth. He would take my height and weight then compare my vitals to other children my age based on a grown chart. From there, he was able to determine if I was developing properly and was on track, if I had surpassed other children my age, or if my growth was lagging behind and possible further treatment or assessment was necessary. Even as an adult, I still have wellness visits. I see both my primary care physician (PCP) and my gynecologist (GYN) once a year for my annual exams where at that time they check my overall health, get blood work, do screening exams, etc. Again, though I can voice any issues at my this appointment, my wellness visit is to check my progress over the last year in order to determine if I changes need to be made.
I assume that the vast majority of you who are reading this are no longer toddlers, adolescents, or even teenagers. I would go on a limb and say that today I am conversing with some adults. To that end, you if you are calling a pediatrician, it is probably for your child…I hope. I also would guess that some of you, like me, have found visiting the doctor a bit undesirable since becoming an adult. First of all, there’s that co-pay with the possibility of a bill to follow. But even that isn’t the primary reason why I don’t enjoy going to the doctor. I avoided the doctor for many years because I feared that he or she would find something wrong with me. That almost sounds idiotic because if a problem was found, the doctor would have a solution whereas at home with your undiagnosed problem, you are only at risk of getting worse. With this said, I pause to gently remind you to visit a doctor. You only have one life. Please don’t lose it or the quality of it because you don’t take care of it.
Now that I am an adult, no one is really comparing my height and weight to charts (except to tell me that my BMI is too high). I am not expected to get any taller at this point in my life. In fact, at some point in the distant future I may shrink. When I get on the scale, we are not hoping for weight gain; as a matter of fact, my doctor is fussing at me to lose weight. So what kind of growth can be measured once you become an adult? I’m so glad you asked!
The measure of growth for adults is maturity.
If you rewind the clock about a decade, you will find a smart-mouthed, neck and eye-rolling, “cut you with the intent to kill you” woman named Christen. I was NOTHING to be played with. I could roll with the punches with the best of them. My words were my ultimate weapon; I could cut you and it would be hours before you even knew you were bleeding. P.S. I DIDN’T CARE! It bothered me not that feelings got hurt. The truth is, I was so nasty because I was bitter. I allowed words to hurt others because I was hurting myself. Once I became aware of my root issue, God allowed me to care for people’s feelings a little more because I knew how it felt to get my feelings hurt. I no longer purposely cut people, but I was the type that knew when to release the beast. Push my buttons real good if you wanted to… That sword of a tongue of mine would slice and dice you like a vidalia onion! Then God began to work with me to realize my triggers. In addition, he began teaching me how to have temperance or self-control.
So let’s fast forward to this morning when I had somebody try to come for me in my Facebook inbox. Y’aaaaaalllll, whew! She tried it! Someone that I don’t know decided to click on my profile, choose the messenger option, and send me a message because she didn’t like a silly joke I posted on an acquaintance’s status TWO DAYS ago. Ya’ll, I was so mega annoyed when she tried to come for me. For about three seconds, I remembered Christen circa 2008 and even the Christen I was circa 2013ish. Then I remembered who I am now. I chose to look at this situation with a mature set of eyes. Y’ALL…I said something respectful to the lady, wished her an amazing day, and deleted my comment from my post. Now please know that my flesh, that part of me that couldn’t care less about following God or doing what is right, was ready to LET HER HAVE IT!!!! I was about to go in on her. I was going to go so far in that when finished I’d be exiting from the back door! I was about to steal, kill, and destroy all her little countenance. It’s not that I didn’t know what to say in response to her; baby, I have an excellent way with words. I even remember how to meticulously place a few four-letter words in there. And I partially felt like she earned what was coming because I didn’t send for her; she came for me. BUT the Holy Spirit inside of me, (thank God for the Holy Ghost), wouldn’t let me revert to who I was just to win this battle and prove a point that I’m not the one. Today just wasn’t the day for that kind of victory. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even feel like getting her back. I simply decided that she could have that one.
I already know some of y’all are ready to squad up on my behalf. You are permitted to drop your torches and pitchforks. My 20 and 25-year-old self would have snapped because she dared to question my intent, my character, and even think that I’m so unwise as to ruin my witness for Christ…all from a position of not knowing me AT ALL. My 30-year-old self saw that moment as a wellness visit…a growth check. I would have been TOO easy for me to do what I know how to do ooooohhhh so well, but what would it have proven? That I am merely who I was 10 years ago? Today I chose respond differently and show that I indeed am NOT that woman anymore.
“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.”
Proverbs 18:21 [The Message Bible]
“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
Romans 12:2 [The Message Bible]
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
The message in my inbox today had less to do with the lady [who I didn’t know], what she said to me, or how she said. She probably meant no harm. Today I had a wellness visit. Today was a test.
It is so very easy to be who we have always been with no second thought about it, but that is such a slap in the face to the person who God is trying to transform you into. Personally, I go to a great church. I hear the untainted word of God that stretches, breaks, builds, and shapes me. I have a relationship with God that allows me to have access to his holy presence and be surrounded by his love and peace. Speaking of peace, he has freely given that gift to me (for my 30th birthday) and has only asked that I protect it. Being the Christen who I was 10 years ago would not only offend the person who I am today but the God who made me this way.
The scriptures posted include the YouVersion Bible App’s verse of the day, Proverbs 18:21. As aforementioned, I once used my words as a weapon of mass destruction. I would hurt, cut, and kill people to not only protect myself but to prove my point. I have heard this scripture before several times in my lifetime, usually in the King James Version. I always and almost only assigned the death and life that my tongue had the power to call forth to myself. I would say, “MY death and MY life was in the power of MY tongue,” but I think I missed a bit of the point. Words have power, period. Just as my words can negatively or positively affect me, others can be affected by my words. So the lady tried it, and if I would have let her have it, I would have then left a sour taste in her mouth, I would have definitely hurt her feelings, and my witness with her would have been shot. I guess all I’m trying to say is words matter. Proverbs 15:1 says, ” A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.” [The Message Bible] Clapping back may have done more harm than good.
The second scripture I used challenges me. Now days, being shady is the norm and clapping back is second nature. It isn’t hard to just be and respond like the people around you. I dare go on a limb a say, it is harder to be the positive example. I won’t say I have trouble being a positive example, but sometimes I want to pop off like the rest of them, treat them like they treat me, then not care about their feelings, BUT I can’t do that because I’m set apart. I am and profess to be a child of God, and daily he is working to grow me up. Because of that, I can’t without thought be like everyone else. Through this scripture I am instructed to focus on God…which can be hard to do in the heat of the moment when you remember the cuss words quicker than you remember how to regroup. Can I get a witness? Amen, lights! There are times that I literally have to stare blankly at someone, set my phone down, or even walk away so I can gather up all my thoughts and re-center them on God, because honey…..you don’t want me to speak first and think second… Okkuurr? Tuh! I’m all off track. This scripture says the world wants to pull, no drag you down to a level of immaturity. AIN’T THAT IT? Check the people around you who are always instigating and egging you on to get out of character; and that’s all I’m going to say about that. God on the other hand always wants to bring out the best in you and display your maturity.
My dear friends, if you find yourself in a situation where someone is TRYING IT, be aware! Whether they are antagonizing you with their words, irking you with there presence, or just being straight aggy, as the young people say (it means aggravating), be not deceived. This is your wellness visit! God wants to see how much you have grown since the last appointment. If God has poured his spirit into you, you hear and can understand his word, and if he has graced you with friends and partners who hold you accountable then he is going to periodically check for a return for what he has deposited into your life. If a farmer plants a seed in a grown and tends to that field, they expect a harvest. Just the same, God is expecting you to grow! At this juncture of my life, I just want to protect my peace but sometimes that means I have to hold my peace (or shut up) and walk away from a fight…even if I could have won. …THAT PART! So when you get tested, don’t give in to the urge to go for what you know. Just take a breath, try to gather your whole life, hold you peace, and chuckle as you say, “Oooo, you tried it.”
That is growth.
P.S. I have been tried yet again since I commenced typing. No worries, all is well.
I hope this helps.