Last week I received a snarky email from a total stranger. This person was critical of my podcast project, MERCY UNWRAPPED, and in a roundabout way let me know I was going about it all wrong. All week I have been receiving encouraging emails from others. Not just a few, but dozens. I got a couple of great radio interview invites. I've had nearly 30 people sign up to be interviewed, with excitement! And yet, the snarky email bugged me for DAYS. I wasn't sure how to answer. Should I respond? Should I ignore? I let it grind in my head.
Finally I answered as kindly and graciously as I could. And I got a brief, snarky reply. This is where the DELETE button can be such a friend. I sent all of the emails into cyber-oblivion.
.And I still felt bad. Why did a couple of emails from someone I don't even know bother me so much? My loving husband challenged me to examine my heart and think about it. It seemed simple enough. Doesn't everyone hate to be snarkified? But I took his advice. I thought about it. And here is what I came up with.
I needed that total stranger's approval for my project. My vanity cried out for it. LIKE ME! LIKE MY PROJECT! PROVE THAT I AM OK BY YOUR APPROVAL. Vanity is an inordinate love of the approval of others. Instead of believing the truth-I am loved and accepted by the God of the Universe, I belong to Him, that is all I need- the snarky email put a dent in my vanity. It messed with my misguided self-esteem and my unholy self-love. For a few days I forgot WHO LOVES ME and focused on the disapproval, which, in all of time and eternity, does not matter one speck.
I told the Lord I was sorry and asked for His grace to do better. I forgave the snarker. I thanked God for the opportunity to feel humiliation (the only road to humility!) I remembered Whose daughter I am, Who has given me this task, and to Whom I am responsible. And after that, I was no longer bothered. I stopped talking about it (husband was happy) and stopped worrying.
It was a good lesson. The things that bug us and cause us to obsess are worth examining. They are good reminders that we keep on needing God's grace for our whole lives. Hopefully I will remember this lesson in the weeks and months to come. I certainly needed a reminder. God is good!
I am a Catholic wife, mom and grandma. In 1995, after Bible college and a few years as an Evangelical Missionary, I was received into the Church at the Easter Vigil. These are my personal musings on Scripture, prayer, and living close to Jesus.