I’ve written about this before, but I had a new experience of the lesson and wanted to write about it again. “Dear John, it’s not personal!” It’s so easy to take things personally. I don’t have particularly thin skin but when things feel pointed, I can take it personally. Yes, I may get my feelings hurt or become offended, but God has told me repeatedly, “It’s not personal!” Oddly enough, nothing is personal for the one in Christ (more on that in a minute).
It Really is Not Personal
Today I went to the chiropractor. As I’ve described before, you wait in a u-shaped queue of nine seats to be seen by my doctor. I was in seat #5, waiting to be seen. There was an elderly lady sitting to my left and the next arriving patient would sit in seat #6 on my right. The next patient was actually a woman and her two young boys. From behind me, I heard her tell the receptionist that she wouldn’t sit in seat #6, preferring to be seated in seats 7, 8, and 9. She hadn’t gotten close enough to me to notice if I smelled (hahaha), so it couldn’t be that. And I was dressed normal, not like a vagabond or as if I had just come out of the gym. So what could it be? I could have gotten offended but instead I just let things play out.
After I was seen by my chiropractor and went to the reception to be checked out, I joked, “Do I smell?” The receptionist giggled and began to tell me that this woman has some serious problems in her life. She assured me that it actually wasn’t about me at all; this lady was just concerned that she be the only one sitting right next to her preteen boys. I replied, “I thought it was something about me.” She said, “Oh John, I thought you were kidding.” I was joking, but it was odd to have someone refuse to sit next to me. God would say, “Hey John, I told you it’s not personal!”
Long story short, this lady has been experiencing trauma in her life. She is extremely paranoid and a little wacky, believing herself to be followed. It had nothing to do with me at all; it was that she had to sit right next to her boys, maybe even to prevent their abduction. Regardless of her motivation, it really had nothing to do with me. I was just an individual who happened to be seated next to her drama. God was right, it had nothing to do with me.
In my post It’s Really Not Personal I wrote this:
“If it’s true that it’s no longer “I but Christ” who lives, then nothing is personally about me. To live without taking things personally would be such freedom for my body, soul and spirit. Talk about uncompromising focus. If nothing was personal, you could live free of man’s influence. Neither their disdain nor affirmation could sway me from my focus on Christ, because nothing would be about me.”
Purposing to See It as Not Personal
It is my earnest desire to live unaffected by others. There is such bondage in being effectible. Now, I don’t think I will ever live unaware, because that’s not how I’m made. But it’s one thing to be aware of others and quite another to be drastically influenced by them. My influence is the Life of Christ in the Spirit. This is how Jesus lived. He was aware of those about Him, He was even moved by their condition, but He wasn’t influenced by them. He followed the Will of the Father, not the whims of man. If He had walked about influenced by the will and hatred of man, He would have been a pawn for hire. Man would have swayed His movement and actions. This was the Father’s to do and His only.
Here’s another point. The reason it’s not personal is because I will never be as important to others as they are to themselves. Probably the reality of my visit to the chiropractor is that this woman wasn’t even aware of me at all. Most people are so focused on themselves that they hardly see anyone else. This isn’t a judgment; it is just the reality of humanity. We can be a bit narcissistic. So at the end of the day, truly it’s not personal at all.