(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 7)
I don’t know what it is but people have always been seemingly obsessed with my business, where I’m working, what I’m doing, how I’m spending my time, what’s going on in my life, as if I owe all of them an explanation for every iota of what I am doing and how I am living my life.
Needless to say, the constant nosiness has been exhausting. Shockingly, even strangers, even people that I consider distant and even those that I have not seen in years are all seemingly preoccupied with my affairs. They want to know what’s going on in my life and they want to know really bad.
Admittedly, this has frustrated me. For the life of me, I could never understand the reason for the apparent fixation. I would be like, “Lord, why are they so intent on knowing and minding my business? I am not half as interested in theirs. I don’t pursue after them so relentlessly. What is it about me that makes them want to know so much? Why does everybody feel that they have a right to know exactly what I’m doing and what is going on in my life and to tell me what I should be doing and to even come up to me with insulting, critical, malicious, hurtful and downright disrespectful statements if they think I am not doing what they think I should be doing? Why are people, whose business I am not even interested in, so interested in mine? I have not dared to be so bold-faced as many have been with their questions. Why do they pursue after my business with such vigour and why are they so hell-bent on knowing what is happening with me? Why am I always the topic of their conversation? Why am I always on their lips? What is it about me Lord, that makes me such a hot topic on everyone’s radar? (Of course, by everyone, I don’t literally mean everyone but many people who know me and that I have had cause to be around).
The more I pondered on this issue and sought the Lord for answers, the more the inquisitiveness continued. I was truly baffled. There was nothing spectacular about me. What was it then, that made people near and far, feel so eager to know, so entitled to find out what was happening, personally, professionally and otherwise in my life, that they would go to such lengths to find out, even approaching me at times with a shameless line of questioning? Was I on trial? Why was I being so interrogated and was it for my welfare? Really?
I would say, “Lord, they are at it again! I am not pursuing after their business. Why then is it that they feel the need to do so with mine and many so maliciously? Yes I studied a certain area of studies years ago. I did so quietly, relied on your help to get through it and made no boast about it. I never threw my qualifications (which you enabled me to acquire) or any secular title of mine in anybody’s face. Why then do so many people seemingly, have an issue with what I studied? Why was what I studied any of their business? Was it jealousy? Was it envy? Was it an eager and over zealous desire to see me fail so that they could say “aha!”, the motive behind their actions? Why are they so obsessed with what I may or may not be doing for a living when, due to your sufficient provision, I have asked not one of them for a cent, never uttered a word of complaint to any of them and your joy Lord has been my strength? Why do I not sense genuine concern when they pursue after my affairs and ask me their questions, to know what I am or am not doing?
Why the fixation? Why the brazen obsession? Why the preoccupation with my life and not exactly for my welfare? Why were so many people invested in seeing the outcome of my life and why don’t I feel cared for by any of these people? Why don’t I feel like they are rooting for my holistic (including spiritual success, which is most important) but something else? Where is the love that many of these people are supposed to be characterized by, which is supposed to be patient, to try to understand the full story, to not jump to wicked conclusions, to pray for me and encourage me and tell me to keep standing for the Lord, no matter what and to even commend the stance that I have taken for your name and why is it that all I see instead is ugly and unprovoked venom?
I’ve wondered this for many years and the more I pray for people to leave me alone, the more they pursue. They come with a condescending, critical, accusatory, “I need to lecture you” sort of stance, which, even if they don’t say it with words, they certainly find ways to communicate it, as if to imply that they need to dictate to me how I should be living and what I should be spending my life doing because they have “read” my life story somewhere (gossip) and it was declared that I was a failure and so they needed to set me right or embarrass me into action (the action that they believed I should be taking), as if God gave them the blueprint for my life.
My prayer has therefore changed. I realize that, as much as I hate it and wish that people would just leave me alone (because they don’t truly care for me or the real story), in his sovereignty, God has allowed their inquisitiveness, an inquisitiveness that is so driven, that it shows no sign of abating. The fact is that, although I hate attention (especially if I’m going through a rough patch or have been through some really painful experiences in my life, career and otherwise), people are fascinated with my story (or at least the part where it looks as if I am defeated and failing and as if I can be blamed for my situation). They are overly curious about me and whether for entertainment, gossip, drama, to make themselves feel better or otherwise, they are watching me like a hawk, always talking and gossiping about me and at times, when they feel like they can’t take the unknown anymore, they even have the nerve to come up to me and ask the most brazen of questions, as if they have a right to know! The number of people who have done this, generated from gossip (since I said not a word to them about anything) is astounding!
Instead of praying for them to leave me and my business alone therefore, I am beginning to see the need to pray a different kind of prayer. I am by no means perfect but if I must so constantly be on people’s radar and minds and tongues, then it is only befitting that I use this fascination, this obsession with my affairs, as an opportunity to point people (both saved and unsaved), to the LORD JESUS CHRIST! And by the grace of almighty God, that is EXACTLY what I shall do.
In this way, what the enemy of my soul intended for evil (he is the one motivating these people to harass, mock, laugh at, gossip and arrive at ill-founded conclusions about me without even knowing the truth about my situation), God can turn around for good!
The unsaved need the Lord to be saved and the saved need to be reminded that the Lord (not money, career, work, marital status, children or any other earthly idol) is on the throne and in control. It is HE that rules in the affairs of men and this is not my show or theirs but HIS.
My prayer is now therefore:
- “Lord, I don’t like attention but as much as I try to avoid it, to stay out of drama and to mind my own business, for some reason or another, you have allowed all these people to be preoccupied with my business. Since this is the case Lord, given that I am always on their radar and on their lips in conversation, then Lord, use the fact that they are soooooo interested in what is happening in my life, to POINT THE GLORY TO YOURSELF. Since they can’t help but be obsessed with me and my business, then use this to SHOWCASE YOUR GLORY. When they come as they usually do, to enquire inquisitively about me, do a work in my life to the extent where they can’t help but see JESUS’ HAND OF OPERATION. Let what you do in my life, speak such volumes, that they are silenced, HUMBLED EVEN because they realize that you are STILL on your throne and mightily at work and that you have never abandoned or forsaken me. Even if they came fixated with me Lord, let them leave with THE CROSS OF JESUS FIXATED UPON THEIR HEART, in Jesus’ name I ask this, Amen.”
In short, I was asking the Lord for a very simple request: Since people were always frantically digging up in my life for something to spectate and talk about, I was asking him to please give them something major to behold and talk about and to do it in such a way that it BLOWS THEIR MINDS because they KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt that it was HE, the almighty God, my Saviour and my Lord, that did it and SUPERNATURALLY.
May the good Lord grant my request and in his good timing, in his own way, may it all redound to HIS honour and glory. In the interim, before he shows up and shows off in my life as ONLY HE CAN DO, may he grant me the strength I need to endure. It is not easy. Being on everyone’s tongues and the subject of much gossip, slander, put-downs, ridicule, entertainment, malice, criticism (without knowing even half of the facts and when you have taken a stand for the Lord that is supposed to be supported and commended but instead, you are attacked for) and insults (where they come with preconceived notions, not at all knowing the truth) is not easy but I am reminded by his Word that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(Written on 31st July, 2022)