HOW DO OTHERS EXPERIENCE ME?
Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” Genesis 37:9-10
Joseph shared his first dream with his brothers and it didn’t go well. They despised him for it. Didn’t he notice their reaction? Didn’t their rejection of him make an impact on his heart? Why in the world would he tell the second dream to this same unreceptive audience? Perhaps in his enthusiasm, he just couldn’t help himself.
When I’m excited about something, the need to tell someone is strong. I want those I love to share the joy with me. But I can share my jewels indiscriminately and experience the same kind of reaction Joseph got from his family. I repeatedly put myself in a setting where rejection is going to be the outcome. I do this for a couple of reasons. 1.) My need for approval is so strong that discretion goes out the door. And, 2.) I suffer from magical thinking. “This time they’ll listen!”
Becoming a person of self-awareness is critical if I’m going to be successful in relationships. Do others receive my words and stories eagerly? Is my point of view welcomed? What is the track record with these people? If Joseph had considered what happened when he related his first dream, perhaps he would have stopped himself before sharing the second. Timing was everything but maybe the power of rejection urged him to speak prematurely. He needed them to value him as much as God did. I can be so much like Joseph. If I know something, I just have to say it.
There are some things I believe passionately and I’m tempted to keep speaking them to the same group of people. So far, they haven’t listened. Truth be told, they may be rolling their eyes when I start my speech for the umpteenth time. They are closed to me and it would be wise for me to acknowledge that. A season of quietness and prayerfulness is needed. God needs to heal the rejection my soul suffers. He also needs to show me if my words are framed by a need to be right. That repels people. What I speak may be true but no one will hear it if it comes with ‘attitude’.
No mission is more important than being God’s spokesman. Getting the message right is only half the challenge though. Getting the timing and attitude right will cause the words to roll off my tongue the way Jesus would speak them. There may still be rejection but at least I’ll know it’s the message they’re rejecting and not me.
So, what do I do with my need to be liked, respected, validated and accepted? Prior to any speeches, I take my needs to the One who makes me whole in His presence.
Put a watch on my tongue until it’s time for me to speak. Amen