I have a close friend who amazes me each time I talk to her. She is the softest, kindest person I know! Her sensitivity and emotional gentleness are superpowers that allow her to feel compassion for and connection with just about anyone. Every superhero has their kryptonite, though, and hers is that when others are careless, she is easily hurt because she takes things so personally. She expects others to be as thoughtful and as kind as she is.
Taking things too personally is something we all do once in a while. This is even something that the prophet Samuel struggled with at times. Today’s scripture tells us that the Israelites came to Samuel, telling him that they wanted a king to rule over them. Samuel was, after all, getting old and his sons clearly weren’t up to the task. They explained that they were tired of having judges – they wanted to be like the other nations who had kings!
As you can imagine, Samuel wasn’t thrilled with their request. It would be pretty difficult to not take what they were saying personally, especially if you were the one in charge! Rather than reacting in anger, though, Samuel turns to God in prayer. God responds, saying that it is not Samuel they are rejecting, but God. Basically, God says, “It’s not about you, Samuel. Stop taking it personally.”
“It’s not about you.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed to hear those words. How about you? Do you sometimes take things too personally? We waste a lot of energy worrying or getting mad about things that just aren’t about us. My hunch is that this is happening even more now, as some of us are spending more time with loved ones than we are used to! Many are feeling stressed and frustrated with our current reality. During this time, let us strive to offer one another even more grace and take each other’s words and actions less personally. And may we follow Samuel’s example and turn to God in prayer when we are hurt, before we react with anger.