In Proverbs 27:17 it says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
This is all fine and dandy until you are that second iron! Let me explain: From Christmas Eve until a couple of weeks ago, I was being stretched and grown, way out of my comfort zone! I was being sharpened.
If you know me, you know that I like to encourage, empower and equip people. I love to see them serving in their God given SHAPE, with the Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Personality and Experiences He gave them. I love to make people laugh, have a good time and can be a little goofy. Why is this a problem? Because sometimes that means that people won’t take me seriously. My boss could see this and was lead to help me see it, too.
This is my viewpoint of the events since Christmas Eve: Any time I would make light of something, a joke or be funny, I was put in my place, swiftly and coldly. It would be a cutting remark just to me or in front of people, it didn’t matter. I was put in my place. I was not funny and making jokes at any time was inappropriate. It was hard. I took things personally. I questioned everything. Why was she being so mean? To just me? While uplifting and encouraging the rest of our team. Why in front of people. That’s not okay! I’d told her about a great things that happened in ministry, just to be told that it was great, BUT it should be done a different way. I could even tell that sometimes, she was very uncomfortable when she would chastise me. What was THAT about? I started to shut down around her.
It super sucked.
However, I also started dressing differently; more businesslike. I started praying A LOT more, throughout the day, with my Bible, all the time. I talked with God a lot about what was happening. He started revealing to me when others were being funny and I could see if it was an appropriate time or not. I started to take myself more seriously, too! I was moving closer to God, swiftly. I leaned on Him. I looked to Him.
In small group, we started studying 1 Thessalonians. In chapter 2 verse 4b it says, “We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” WOW! That spoke to me so specifically. I realized that I had been trying to please a person: my boss. I wanted her to be proud of me. To be proud of what I was doing. See that I was growing. But that’s all wrong! I need to please God, not people! What a breakthrough! It was interesting, because I told my small group, during prayer request time, that my boss was mean and she needed prayer! HA! It was really me who needed prayer!
On the way to CLASS 301, I prayed about the evening. I told God that whatever He wanted me to do, I would do. It may not be the sexy option of teaching. It may be the behind the scenes support of the volunteers there, loving on them and helping them love on others. It may be speaking into the task part of class; people making appointments for their SHAPE Discovery Sessions and what that entails. Whatever it was going to be, I wanted to follow God’s will for me, the class and submit to my leadership. I trust them. They are tuned into the Holy Spirit. It’s obvious. When I got to class, I opened my Bible and kept reading over and over, 1 Thess 2:4. I prayed and prayed about that one verse. I submitted my heart to God’s will. I enveloped my heart and mind to please Him with whatever I said and did. A few minutes later, my boss asked me if I would speak on the H in SHAPE. I was surprised. She told me that God had directed her to that request. I absolutely believed her. I jumped right back into my Bible and prayed. I love speaking on the H in SHAPE. It’s Heart. He had been working on mine, through my boss. Huh! How awesome is that?
Many times after that, I attempted to talk with her about what was going on. I even set up an appointment of sorts to talk with her about it all, but not feeling lead by the Holy Spirit to talk with her about any of this at that moment, caused me to talk with her about something completely different…and not “set up an appointment” worthy. I could see on her face that she knew there was more. She didn’t press. Later that week, after a little bit of an awkward moment, she called me by His prompting and we talked all about it. Wow. It was liberating. It was eye opening. It was God.
As I look back, I’m so very thankful to her and the fact that she follows where God leads. She responds to Him, even when it means that she will have to look like she’s being mean. I completely thought she was mean! She could tell. It had to be hard for her to go through with all of that, but she did. She was being obedient, no matter the cost. She’s pretty awesome. I could have responded differently, but I moved closer to God instead of people, which is what He wanted all along. Iron truly does sharpen iron. God uses people. God used her to sharpen me.
I was trying to please people. I was tested. I was sharpened. I am closer to God because of it. I am forever grateful for my boss.
Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” 1 Thess 2:4b, “We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”