You Must Not Know 'Bout Me
I froze as my computer alerted me that I received a new email. I already knew who the sender was before looking because she was not new to my inbox. We had been going back and forth for the past several weeks. Due to our history, however, I sat there for a moment before clicking over. My corporate America personality began fighting with my feisty personality, fearing what would come next. I knew I should’ve just walked away from the laptop, but I needed to see what was said.
I clicked over from the excel sheet I was working on to my Outlook inbox. My brow tensed as I read the email repeatedly, ensuring that I didn’t miss any key phrases, such as: “please, thank you, I appreciate you, etc.” But I didn’t miss them, because they weren’t there.
All the cuss words formed in the back of my throat. Ready to spew in defense of the micro-aggressive waves released via email. “And she has the nerve to add a smiley face,” I stated through clenched teeth. The lyrics to “Irreplaceable” – you must not know about meee – and “Knuck If You Buck” played in my head simultaneously. The itch to kick her in the throat was almost unbearable to the point of action, and my fingers hit reply so fast, I couldn’t keep up. I hurled words on the screen effortlessly and, with each keystroke, I felt my anxiety reaching its maximum level in step with my rising blood pressure.
As I continued typing the “nicesty-est” email, my spirit choked me up by the neck and whispered that I should walk away. Appalled at the disrespect, I read the email once more. Then I read my response and smiled. Under normal circumstances, I would’ve ignored that chokehold and hit send, but this time was different. So, I listened. Still livid from the audacity of this lady, I paced the floor for several seconds before closing the laptop and texting my accountability partners, “I just logged out because the spirit of clap-back was on me heavy.”
I sat down and scrolled on Instagram to calm my nerves, and just like God with the subtle yet timely message, I saw this:
I took a screenshot and instantly knew what I would write about for this week’s blog. Now, I did not want to write on this topic, because in all honesty, the spirit of clap-back visits me more times than I’d like to admit. However, my entire week consisted of tests that would render my clap-backs justifiable to my standards. This whole week was straight from hell, and almost everyone had me messed up. Though I managed not to clap back, it was by far one of the most trying times I’ve had in a while. My conversations with God were so raw and angry because why in the WORLD would he allow folks to do me like that?
Nonetheless, I prayed feverishly for strength because mine was failing miserably. I also felt like my prayers were not making it up to heaven, but they did. Although it wasn’t on my time, I received a loving nudge from God through the form of an Instagram post that was indeed on time. And though that loving nudge did not address the disrespect, it did address me.
I realized that my clap-backs are fear tactics. I am afraid that if I do not respond to people who “try me,” that I am in some way losing the respect and stability that – I think – I should have. So, in defense, I respond to gain the respect back. But in actuality, am I gaining it back? Was it ever there to begin? Did I indeed lose it? Was this my problem to fight? Or was it a personal problem with the sender that I interpreted as my own? These questions flooded my heart as God checked me.
I know that with all the craziness and uncertainty happening in the world, life can get overwhelmingly hard. In our efforts to maintain a sense of stability within this uncertainty, we try to defend ourselves using various, fearful ways – such as avoidance, unhealthy confrontation, and more. For me, it is clapping back. Yet, truth told, the clap-backs only offer a moment of satisfaction before another one is needed, and the cycle continues. It is a false sense of stability that I was after – a false sense of respect. I gain nothing from snatching respect besides high blood pressure and intense stress. The way the lady responded to me – rather rudely – had nothing to do with me and everything to do with her battles. So why stoop to her level? Trust me, I know that it is easier said than done, but why jeopardize peace for a moment of arrogance?
Though I am not over my clap-back mentality just yet, I am now aware of its origin and actively working to relinquish the fear and place my trust in God. As I continue to practice praying first before I react, I encourage you to do the same in whatever capacity it needs to be applied. As we tackle another week, I hope that it produces more long-lasting fruit in you. Please pray for me as my corporate America personality and my feisty personality tackle yet another work week, too. 😉