Editors note: This blog post was originally published April 6, 2016 on this website.
A myth goes around that we’re our own worst enemy. I don’t like to dwell on it because I know I’m my own worst enemy. It’s fact, not a myth to me. And I don’t need a reminder.
There is another myth, thankfully, that goes around stating people closest know us better than we know ourselves. I need to be reminded of this often. Because I’ll have these moments where I’m high on joy from positive achievements. But then that joy will blind me to some negative things happening alongside the joy as well.
At the Coug, my favorite place in Pullman, I’ve been given a phenomenal set of reminders about how this stuff plays out. One of these reminders hit me last weekend.
I’m at this point where you can count on my dropping by at least four out of seven days a week. A fair amount of regular customers and bartenders know me by name.
I drink there. I eat there. I read my text books there. I study scripture there. I sometimes just sit there and do nothing but hang out with people.
It’s a second home. And it’s safe to say I can comfortably name a handful of my favorite people who are beginning to know me well.
Two of these people are bartenders. Their names are Kate and Tia.
Not only do they provide great service and make my drinks, but they also encourage and pray for me when I need the support.
Before last Saturday, I walked into the Coug five days in a row. Each time I was stressed about everything and something negative spewed from my mouth.
The worst was Thursday. I walked in, Kate asked me I was doing, and my response was “F***ing awful. But the sun is out and God is good so I’m not going to complain.”
I did complain, though, my response was counterintuitive, and it was noticed.
When I walked into the Coug the following Saturday I was in a different, good mood. I was prepped for this thing my friend Chris and I do where we order beer and read the Bible together.
When I got to the counter, I was ready to order my drink. Tia was working and she asked me how my day was. I don’t remember what I said, but it missed the mark.
She immediately called out, “Every time you say something bad I’m going to make you say something that’s good.”
I was thoroughly annoyed and blew it off. I didn’t need anyone telling me what to say. I was in such a good mood. I’d been dwelling on the positive all week. I didn’t need to work on anything.
But what she said stuck with me. And it made me realize I wasn’t acting on the positive I was feeling.
Up until the moment Tia called me out, I’d had a ridiculously rough three weeks prior. I thought I’d effectively controlled the hurt and been joyful.
But I was wrong. I was feeling joy, but I wasn’t expressing it in any way shape or form.
When I think about the second myth mentioned, I have this habit of assuming close people are immediate family or die-hard friends.
But sometimes close people aren’t family; they just interact with you on a regular basis.
I also have this habit of assuming the revelations shared are astronomical. But sometimes, they’re unbelievably small.
Tia and Kate are simply bartenders and friends who have cared enough to learn my name, ask me questions, and pray. It’s nothing ridiculously special, but it’s unique.
And the comments they make hold weight.
In instances like this, they know me better than I know myself. I need reminders to check myself before I evolve into something I strongly dislike. Because, you know, I’m my own worst enemy.
At the end of the week, lead pastor Keith of Resonate church took some stabs at topics I wrestle with consistently. Original sin, universalism, and deism were a few brought up.
I couldn’t help but continue to wrestle with my own character flaws. And, thankfully, one of the other pastors said something that helped me process everything a bit more.
As the service ended site pastor Drew asked how we would live more like Jesus Christ in the coming week and apply faith to daily life.
It was kind of off-topic from the grander message, but the question stuck with nearly as much as Kate’s earlier response and Tia’s weekend burn.
My answer to Drew’s question is externalizing joy, not just internalizing it.
However I pull that off, I hope to keep listening to what others have to say. Because the minor, consistent people who appear in my life know much more about me than I know about myself. And their little, off-hand responses and statements hold a lot of wisdom.
I don’t want to be reminded that some myths are fact. But I do want to live a life extraordinary. And that’s not possible without responding to those truths positively.