Please bear with me while I tell this story to the end. I know, I know; I will get to the point! Some stories are worth telling though, and I think this one has some wisdom!
When I was in 8th grade I had transferred to a new school. Life changes happen. For the most part it was a pretty good experience. I was around family members at school, and had some old friends I got to reacquaint with. It was a hard era to be in school though. The process of racial integration had begun and there was a lot of unrest between students and parents. The students were being bused to schools that were further from home in order to compensate for the previous era of segregation. We all had to get used to changes.
I was always a quiet soft spoken person back then and I was just kind of coming out of my shell a bit. Life was pretty good in school that year, accept for one issue. For some reason a girl took a disliking to me. I was not completely sure why because I never really talked to her and I don’t think we had any classes together. I’m not sure if it was fueled by the racial tensions or not. ( I am thinking probably so). All I knew was that she suddenly just hated me. Along with my quiet demeanor was a very non violent person inside of me. I just don’t believe in attacking others. This little lady was different though. She was mouthy, and sure did not hold back the comments regarding what she wanted to “do to my face”.
Every single day it was the same. I would see her in the hall and she would say something cruel to me and talk about what she was going to do to me. Having lockers close by caused us to see one another a few times a day, so several times a day she got her comments in before the next class. I said absolutely nothing to her, not ever. I just did my business and then walked away. This made her even more aggressive for some reason and her threats became more intense. So, I began to do everything I could to avoid her. I seriously started to believe there would be bloodshed and yet I had no idea why. Fear crept into my existence and the more intense she became, the more I worked harder to avoid her. I did not want to fight this girl. I did not want to fight anyone, but for some reason she felt she needed a way to express her anger and trying to get me angry was her goal.
I started to adopt the practice of hiding in the bathroom while she did her locker business and did not come out until I was sure she was done and gone. All I wanted was peace, and to not have my face torn off! She was a little thing, much smaller than I was, but she always seemed to have a group with her. I mean, what fun is it to tear someone’s face off if you have no one watching, right?
Then one day she caught on to me and went into the bathroom while I was in there. She was alone this time and so was I . I was washing my hands and getting ready to head to my class. She came up to me with an angry scowl. She was about 4 inches shorter than I was so she had to look up to look me in the eyes. So, I just stood there and looked down at her, keeping my gaze in her eyes and my facial expression unchanged. A lot of thoughts raced through my head. I was preparing to have to defend myself because I sure did not want to stand there and have my face torn off, like she said she wanted! So, I waited and just breathed. The next sound I heard was her grumble something under her breath and off she went out the door. I took a huge sigh of relief!
“A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
God honors wisdom. A harsh word would have created chaos in this situation. There is a time for everything under heaven. This time was NOT a time to speak. She never said another word to me again; not ever! I got to stay out of the bathroom before my next class and I never had my face torn off! (Huge sigh of relief here)!
My point here is “Choose your battles wisely sisters”! There is a time to speak and a time to remain silent. Sometimes silence speaks louder than words ever could and wisdom knows “her” place. That is at the throne where God delivers to us His power to be what we need to be at any given moment. I learned a lot from the bathroom that day! The Lord chooses the darnedest places to instruct us on our walk with Him!
These are days when I am finding I have less of a filter, so how do we know when to remain silent and when to speak? It’s kind of a type of strategic wisdom God gives to us when we remain in Him. In the particular situation in the bathroom, silence was the answer. Sometimes wisdom comes to us when we seek “her“. Sometimes we make a mistake and our face gets torn off. Bottom line, we learn with practice and experience. Believe me, you will know when you have made the wrong choice!
With my face in tact,
Pastor Jenine Marie Howry
800-421-1765 for prayer!
** Image credit : Getty Images, Stock Photo