When I was in the Air Force, one of the people I worked with drove me crazy. She pushed my buttons, made me feel insignificant, twisted my intentions, and I just couldn’t get past it. Eventually, I even took the issue up the chain of command because I felt this person’s only intention was to see me fail.
One day, after a particularly disturbing encounter, I walked out of the office and down the hall to another area where there worked a supervisor, Mike, whom I trusted and confided in. I told him what had been going on and he said, “You’re not crazy. I have heard from others how difficult she is to work with.” His validation made me feel relieved. To know that I wasn’t the only one who saw that she was wrong, made me feel like I wasn’t alone.
But then he added: “You can’t let her get under your skin so much though. Why do you think you let what she does bother you so much?” For a second, I felt exactly like I did earlier as I walked down the hall to talk to him. This was not what I wanted to hear. I wanted him to keep throwing his supportive comments at me and continue to give me reassurance that I was right to feel this way. This conversation was supposed to be about her, not me.
Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.”
He continued: “You know, sometimes people are allowed into your life to teach you a lesson. Until you learn that lesson, those same types of people will continue to walk into your life. I’ve been in the Air Force for 19 years, so you can imagine all the people I have encountered along the way. I’ve definitely worked with some difficult people and I didn’t always handle it appropriately. Finally, one day I realized I did have some control over situations with difficult people. What I could control was me.”
Shortly after the conversation with my Mike, I was moved to another area and things went back to normal. Even though I listened and trusted what Mike said that day, I still didn’t apply it.
Years later, as I looked back on other jobs that I had, I realized that, just like Mike tried to tell me, God had continued to allow the same kinds of people into my life, over and over again.
It’s not that they’re innocent – it’s true that they may be difficult people to work with. God may even be trying to use you to teach them a lesson!
The fact is, that you can only control how you react to difficult people. Learn it the first time, or you’ll find people like that coming into your life over and over again.
Instead of a problem, look at the situation as an opportunity – one that is there to help you grow into the person God needs you to be.
Those who are wise learn from opportunities and are not too proud to receive guidance from others.
How about you? Is there someone or something in your life that keeps popping up? How can it help you grow?
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