Mean people and far away places

I can’t stop thinking about this girl I met last night. First I’ll explain where I am.

Yesterday I traveled halfway across the country to visit my friend in Nashville. I’ve never been to the South before, and so I’m pretty excited to see new places and meet new people, and basically get out of my “bubble”. When my friend brought me home, the first thing I noticed about Nashville was the architecture. Not the big convention center or the skyscrapers, but the regular houses. Her house, like pretty much every house I’ve seen so far, was built in the ’30s and very obviously been added to over the years.

If there’s a difference between anywhere I’ve ever lived and here besides the humidity and outrageous heat, it would be building codes. I’m fascinated by the incredible character and story every house has. This may sound strange to some, but if you have grown up in a cement-and-asphalt paradise, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. It’s just different, and to tell the truth, I think it’s awesome!

I met tons of new interesting people including one girl, who apparently, is the local pariah. We’ll call her Marissa. I was told that no one likes her because she tends to be bossy and condescending, yet she always ends up inviting herself whenever there is a social event.

I consider myself pretty friendly and able to get along with many different types of people. Realizing you can’t always judge a person’s character by opinions of others, I decided to try to talk to her. I ended up failing miserably. Walking up to her, I had in mind to ask her something about school, or where she’s from, but from the first “Hi”, she stared at me stony faced and turned to talk to someone else. Burn!

I was surprised. Even though my friend had told me she wasn’t friendly, I hadn’t expected an outright rejection. Maybe it’s because I’m from California, or she didn’t like the way I looked, or my crashing the party, but whatever it was, she wants nothing to do with me.

Ok fine, shake it off, not everyone is going to like you! And I’m no saint, so my first thought was not to pray for her. But it really bothered me all night. I even dreamt of that disdainful face, judging me from across the room.

Thankfully, there is joy and hope that are alive in Jesus. And that ugliness as pure dross, not part of the glory-self prepared for her. So I did eventually pray for her, something like this:

“Father, I want to lift [name] up to you. I reject the bad thoughts and feelings I hold for her right now. Take them away and put them before the cross. I don’t know her story, but you know everything about her. You can see clearly what is happening, and I pray that she come to know You, that your good work be started, or continued in her, whichever needs to happen. Thank you for the opportunity to give out of the grace I have received, and I pray for your will to be done in her life and mine.”

Praise God for daily proof that the Spirit lives in me! I wouldn’t have even thought to pray for her, if God didn’t keep her on my mind. It’s hard to pray for someone you barely know, and have no desire to know, but what a perfect exercise in humility! Who in your life could use a prayer right now?

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