Sometimes God uses me to piss people off on purpose. Not joking. It’s never my favorite thing because I am by nature a people pleaser who is desperately afraid of doing something wrong or hurting people’s feelings (I’m still healing out of these areas). But I’ve watched Him use me periodically to bump up against someone’s belief system and idols in order to bring them into the light, so that He can ultimately move them into greater freedom and truth.
I can’t say that I enjoy these moments when they happen, but in retrospect I’ve admired the wisdom of God in each one and I’ve become reconciled to the part of taking someone else’s heat and reactivity in those moments.
I remember one of the first times I noticeably watched Him use me in this way was with a friend of mine. It was during an occasion in which I thought I showed up on time. But as soon as I saw my friend’s face, I realized she was upset with me. I couldn’t figure out what had happened. It turned out to have been a miscommunication of sorts; and she was irritated with me because she had missed out on another activity in lieu of waiting for me at the time when she thought I was going to arrive.
Normally in those moments, I would have defaulted into I’m sorry mode and apologized profusely because I try to be so intentional about respecting other people’s time. Usually out of my stewardship mentality. Partially out of fear.
But in this case, I felt God speak to my spirit and say, “This one’s not yours to own. You don’t need to apologize.”
It was off my grid at the time. Not apologize when she was seriously pissed off? That felt like a friend death sentence. Everything in me just wanted to say, “I’m so so so sorry.” My autopilot mode at the time was just to take the blame, be the peacemaker, and not rock any relational boats. And of course, take all that projected shame and guilt upon myself as well.
But God wouldn’t let me.
Instead, He showed me that He had intentionally covered over a piece of the information in this friend get-together so that I purposefully wouldn’t see it—in order to actually facilitate this run-in. Huh? Talk about a paradigm shift. And then He followed up that revelation by playing back my memory reel on the many times that He HAD covered my butt in the area of potential missed information. I had gotten really used to Him reminding me of specific details and prompting me to check information again so that I wouldn’t miss something.
But He didn’t do that this time.
And even as I felt the full force of her displeasure with me in that moment, God was comforting me and telling me that this had been a divine set up. His hand had purposefully veiled over a segment of the meeting information in order to cause the misunderstanding. And even though I didn’t like being the fall guy, I saw where He was moving in her life.
My friend’s reaction was pretty mean even if the situation had been my fault. I didn’t see any love or fruit of the spirit in that moment. No forgiveness. No kindness. And I saw that God was revealing what had become an idol of control and schedule in her life, revealed by the disproportionate reaction of a small grievance turned pretty large.
I remember it all feeling a bit surreal.
Like here I was in the middle of a friend chewing me out, and yet God was telling me at the same time that this was a catalytic moment. And even though she still viewed me as the one at fault, I was able to walk through it all without taking on any shame or guilt—which wasn’t my usual response.
And I’ve come to realize over time through these situations that even though it’s much more fun when God tricks me into being life-giving to a person, it is equally as needed when He tricks me into bringing pain to a person—in order to facilitate their transformation.
Because that is what a catalyst does.
A catalyst agitates things for the purpose of change. And because God has called me to be a catalytic person of influence, that will sometimes (or often) mean that I will push some of their buttons.
And that’s okay.
A life coach recently shared a research study with me in which the results revealed that people would rather be right even over having money and power.
We as human beings are incredibly invested in our belief systems even if they are incorrect.
And I’ve watched God use these times of confrontation to heal my own people-pleasing tendencies, as well as sharpen my ability to address belief systems in other people’s lives that aren’t rooted in truth.
I probably would never have done so otherwise without Him putting the pressure on me.
And God likes to change strategies up. The ways that He facilitates me bumping up against someone’s pain points or belief system varies. Recently, I’ve noticed a new trend in which He nudges me to share various stories, which end up triggering a weird reaction in them as the story bumps up against a particular contrasting belief.
I still feel awkward in these micro moments when He uses me to piss someone off or trigger pain in them.
But now that I know where He is going from His macro perspective of using pain for transformation, I can partner with Him in these uncomfortable situations and let Him heal the fear of rejection out of me at the same time. And even if I never get vindicated through a specific person’s eyes, even if they never catch the larger picture of what God is doing, that’s okay.
Because placating somebody’s idols or false belief structures is not in my list of delegated responsibilities from God. Nor is it loving.
Pursuing the Light,