Welcoming Unwelcomed Guests

Have you ever had an unwanted guest? You know, someone who talks incessantly, is abrasive, goes through your drawers and closets, somehow makes you feel like you’re not good enough in one area or two or five? For me, the dilemma is that I really want that person out of my home, but I don’t want to be rude or cause them to be upset with me.

I remember hosting an open house each Christmas when the kids were little, which is a lot of work, but extremely rewarding. There was one open house I remember well. Everything was spotless and areas throughout the house were set up for conversation and food. However, there was one room that served as the stash-away spot: my laundry room tucked behind the kitchen.

While the rest of the house was warm and inviting, my utility room was the designated spot to store a large number of eclectic items from the rest of the house. It looked and felt like there had to be a hoarder buried beneath the unsightly mountains. Gives me the heebie-jeebies to thing about it. Thank goodness that room was hidden!

The evening went well until, to my horror, I heard voices in my laundry room! Yep! Someone who was familiar with the house was giving a comprehensive tour to her friends, and the laundry room stop was happening. I opened the door slightly and peered around the corner to see four guests surveying the damage. The tour guide seemed unphased by the mess as she complimented the wall colors and floor tile (what you could see of it).

Because I didn’t want to come across as a lunatic, I refrained from screaming and crying for them to get out of my laundry room. I cared about the impression I would leave at that moment, so I simply made a joke and then explained that we had hidden all our junk in this room so the rest of the house would look like sane people lived here. They politely chuckled while I completely shriveled up and died inside.

I know I’m not alone in experiencing unwanted guests.

Sometimes those guests come in the form of pain, illness, grief, financial ruin, criticism, or a break in a relationship.

I also know I’m not alone in hearing the phrase, “I don’t care what people think of me!”

I have wrestled with that philosophy all my life because the truth is, I DO care what people think of me. I care about how I represent my upbringing, my husband, my children, and now my grandchildren. I care about how I represent Christianity, my church, my God. I care what you think about me because somehow, that is a gauge of how I’m doing.

I’m thankful, though, for the times when someone has notified me that they don’t think very highly of me. It hurts deeply, but it also prompts me to survey the accusations, research, soul-search, and learn something new about myself and the other person. It’s called growth, and it’s not for sissies.

I have never been able to truthfully say that I don’t care what people think of me and I’m glad.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.       ~I Peter 1:6-7


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