- The crave for caffeinated fulfillment…
- The mid-afternoon coffee rush…
- The anticipation of one cup of steeped goodness igniting the day’s doldrums…
Take yesterday, for example, when me and some TDOT colleagues moseyed down to a local Starbucks to take advantage of a ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ holiday drink special.
As we approached the main entrance, we noticed the coffeeshop was highly congested with a line nearly extending out the door into the brutal cold.
Thankfully, having purchased coffee at the store before, and seeing how the line progression worked, I was able to educate my group in navigating the shop’s awkward floor plan. Essentially, to keep upcoming guests from waiting out in the cold, we decided to walk through a second entrance (a signature mark of a downtown corner Starbucks) and wait at a point in the store where the line should have been.
Yet, despite what may have appeared as an anomalous maneuver, under no condition were we trying to cut our way ahead in line. We were simply trying to stay ahead of the curve (pun intended) and recalibrate the line to honor future guests.
Unfortunately, our move was severely misinterpreted by a pack of…well, let’s just call them an older, alterative version of “mean girls”.
“Psh…We were here first,” cried the alpha.
“Yeah, we were definitely here before you guys,” said another.
“Oh, yeah. I know. It’s just the line usually starts back here in the mornings,” I replied. “I wasn’t…”
“Well, it starts right here today! So…move aside.”
I was stunned…
…crossed between my inner Madea and my external suavity.
Seriously, I was thinkin': those chicks are gonna brew the day.
I mean…goodness gracious…you talk about brazen barking and a nasty, condescending attitude, completely contraire to an otherwise serene ambience…let me tell ya, they were settin’ the bar high.
After taking a few more snarky pelts, I decided to leave the premises before I was tempted to give them a generous piece of my mind (which may or may not have been partially inspired by this iconic scene from Disney's Brink).
After all, it’s not like I was the one running on an assumption and using it to falsely accuse a complete stranger as if his moral character could be so easily appraised.
But though my intent had been brutally misjudged, even though a gesture intended for kindness had been falsely interpreted, I realized there was only one thing to do…
Yes, that's right.
I had to shake it off.
I had to shake it off.
No way around it.
Even as one far removed from the Taylor Swift bandwagon, I recognized some powerful truth when applying the lyrics to the situation.
‘Cause truth is: Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate.
They might even berate, berate, berate…
But under no condition, does this mean we have to deflate, deflate, deflate (i.e. internalize unjust criticism)
Instead, in those moments, we just gotta shake, shake, shake…shake it off! Shake it off!
How freakin’ awesome is that?
We can’t control the liars and cheats of the world…we can’t prevent others from misjudging us from time to time…
…but what we can do is turn the other cheek in a way that says, my dignity, my value is found in Christ. I don’t need to retaliate or prove my innocence, when my heart is perfectly known by my Creator. Besides, respect from men doesn’t validate my identity, my call or my will. Thus, I don’t need to exert power to prove a point, but rather rest in the soothing lounge chair that is God’s heart…with my holiday expresso in hand.
‘Cause if we truly trust God, then we’ll give Him the honor of dealing with those who persecute, violate and disrespect us for His sake. In other words, we don’t have to steal God’s thunder by striking back in the same spirit when we trust that He will ultimately confront everyone’s humanity. This is why, when we zoom out and think big picture, we should rejoice when God convicts and disciplines us, as opposed to the blind man who has no clue of his ways.
Going back to Taylor Swift, I have no idea whether or not she had Matthew 5:39 when she wrote her acclaimed hit. Regardless, the provoked takeaway is: Don’t underestimate the value of the left cheek. It will ultimately keep your hands free so you can not only hold on to your coffee…but give someone else a cup of the life you have inside you.
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