Do you ever feel like a ping pong ball? You go to one side of the table to handle a concern, but you are then slapped to the other side of the table. Back and forth you go, until mercy intercedes and you land on the floor.
This is how I felt recently, when trying to get my pets’ monthly prescriptions. I order them through a retailer, who contacts the veterinarian to make sure the dogs are up to date on vaccinations and such. Once approved, then they send the medications in the mail. This normally works out fine without an issue. So I will place the order and go about my business, expecting to receive the meds in the mail.
However, recently things didn’t go as planned. We received an email stating that the order was cancelled because the retail company was unable to contact the vet. I called the vet and they said they never received anything from the retailer. So I called the retailer to see what the issue was. They had all the correct information for the vet and had no idea why it didn’t go through. So while on the phone, we placed the order again.
This time I kept checking on the order and saw once again, via the retailer’s website, that they were unable to contact the vet. For two days I went back and forth between the vet and the retailer. The retailer wanted the vet to call them. The vet said they don’t normally do that and suggested the retailer try emailing instead of faxing. The retailer didn’t want to email them. They said they would keep trying to fax the vet every day. I explained that for weeks no fax made it through, so why did they think it would suddenly work. Finally in the end, the vet did call the retailer to “okay” the medications. I was thankful for the lady in the veterinary office who took time out of her busy day to do me a favor.
But this situation made me feel like a ping pong ball. In our world today, we might often feel like we are being stepped on. And good customer service can be hard to find. But when we do find good customer service, it amazes us. Or at least it does me. I am thankful when someone is nice, friendly, and helpful. But shouldn’t that be how we are treated, and how we treat others, all the time?
In a perfect world, yes. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Sometimes we feel stepped on. And sadly sometimes we step on others too.
So how can we handle these situations when they arise? Well I first want to talk about times when we might have stepped on others. I remember on one occasion when I was frustrated with some of the stress in my life. As a result, I had a “tone” when speaking to someone over the phone at the doctor’s office. Thankfully the Holy Spirit convicted me and I called back to apologize. The lady said she understood and we parted ways on good terms. So if you find yourself being short with someone, or stepping on someone, it is not too late to turn things around. We can always try our best to make things right. We can apologize and we can start over.
If you are like me, then more often you feel like you are being stepped on by other people. This can be tricky to navigate.
(Note: I realize that not all situations can end well. And I also realize there might be some people in our lives who are consistent when it comes to stepping on others. Creating boundaries in our lives would be the next step, if possible.)
I believe it is a good thing to speak up and let the other party know that they have bulldozed you. Some people don’t even realize that is how they come across. So this might come as a shock to them, and they might deny their actions. We can speak to them firmly, yet also kindly.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – Matthew 5:44
Ultimately, as Christians, we are called to walk with the love and peace of Jesus. That is what I attempted to do in the above situation when speaking to various people on the phone regarding my pets’ monthly medicine. And in the end, the situation was resolved peacefully.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9
When we face difficult people, our flesh wants to rise and tell the person a thing or two. It is very tempting to do that, I know. But Jesus should be our example. He had many interactions with people who questioned and ridiculed His actions. Jesus always came up with a clever answer, but always proceeded with peace in love.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. – Matthew 5:38-40
We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, so we do have the power to approach difficult circumstances in the same style of peace that Jesus did. Jesus is our anchor. Day by day, let us hold tightly to Him. And when difficulties arise, He will help us navigate them with love and peace.
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas