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Meanness

February 24, 2009

I am consistently awed by the timeliness of God’s presence in my life, and today’s example was no exception. I look forward to Tuesdays because it is “Mountain Blend” day—the day we gather at Thomas Road for Bible Study. We’re studying Beth Moore’s Esther currently, and although I’ve read the book before, and of course seen One Night With the King, I’m falling in love with the story all over again.  Who can help but do so, when met with a character such as Esther’s—young but so wise…good…humble…beautiful. Almost makes you want to puke.

 

I’ve gained such truisms from this study, particularly in Beth’s reporting on what women find to be the toughest aspects of being a woman in today’s world. Topping the list are yielding (we won’t use the S-word), finding balance, and hormones. Respecting hormones, one woman joked, “I get mad at the people I love and cry over the people in the commercials!” I’ve been there. (The commercial that stands out in particular is an old McDonald’s one…you know, the one where the big brother gives his little sister French fries from infancy into adulthood? That one gets me every time.)

 

Today’s video segment, though, was particularly powerful, because once again it brought home to me how immediate and how personal is God’s presence, and how He will use anything to get my attention and reveal that to me.

 

Some of you, I’m sure, read my posting a week or more ago about “Mean Girls.” Well, Beth’s video segment today was about nothing less than how tough it is being a woman in a mean world. When she started getting into her topic, I just lifted my eyes heavenward, set my pen to the page, and said a little prayer under my breath, “Yep, I hear you. I’m here. Listening.”

 

Listening. To the fact that meanness has a history, as evidenced by the conflict between Mordecai and Haman. I had to wonder what meanness had warped certain individuals to respond so reactively to a relatively simple situation, to blow it so out of proportion. To the fact that meanness perceives a threat, whether it’s real or imagined. I could see this so clearly, looking back on my own recent experience. I didn’t offer a threat of any kind…but I was perceived as such, because meanness was present. And finally, to the fact that meanness spreads like a nasty virus. This, too, was apparent. It infected quite a few of us that day, and lingers still. As Beth Moore put it, “coming in contact with a mean girl has a tendency to raise up your own mean girl.” In my case, truer words were never spoken. I have a hard time sitting back and holding my tongue, even when Proverbs tells me that “a fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds back.”

 

It’s interesting that my husband can get mad at a friend, yell at him, tell him off, get it all off of his chest…and be just fine with him five minutes later. I’ve heard other women say the same of their men, so this is apparently a male phenomenon. Why is it that women have such a hard time with their meanness? We get our mad on, and it wants to stay put for a while. It’s almost as if getting over that anger is a weakness, and a sign of insecurity. (Gotta keep that friend! Might not get another one!)

 

Food for thought, at any rate.

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