In my job as a Receptionist for a non-profit transportation agency in Los Angeles, I normally encounter customers (mostly by phone and sometimes, in person) who have issues with our service. Although it is not my job to resolve their issues, my responsibility is to direct them to the appropriate department or person who could help them with their concerns or requests.
This past work week, I have noticed that I have been receiving calls from customers who present their concerns in such a way that made me realize that it is beyond my scope, or is even beyond the scope of the people I work with. And I was like, “O…kay? So, what do I do, Lord?”.
Listen. Try To Not Interrupt.
Some people just want to vent out and rant, and you can’t do anything but to listen. I had quite a few customers who no longer want to file a complaint and follow the procedures, and just want to take things into their own hands. So, even though they are already taking action on their own (or at least, that’s what they say), they would still take the time to call and take their frustrations out on me or on whoever answers the phone. And it’s quite obvious, they have the need to be heard. They need their issues to be resolved, yes. But in times like this, they no longer ask for anything from you but for you to just listen, then after saying their piece, some people would politely end the call, others would curse before they hang up on your face.
I am honestly thankful to God, first of all, that I have a job. Second, that even though I am currently not working in the field of Psychology (‘yon ang tinapos kong course), I feel like I am still being given the daily opportunity to practice and apply what I have learned and to keep learning more about people, their behavior, and how to deal with them.
I still have so much to learn, but so far, one of the most vital lessons that I am still trying to master is to listen. To listen without interrupting, judging, being defensive, and brushing off, for me is tough even though my background is supposed to make people expect that this is just a piece of cake for me. But with my proud, selfish, defensive, judgmental impulses, it can still be challenging.
That is why Jesus has been giving me opportunity after opportunity—similar situations where I could practice listening—to get used to listening to people, especially when they feel like no one is willing and available.
Matuto Kang Makiramdam. And Don’t Overthink
My Uber driver this morning, after I asked casually how she is, answered “Well, I guess I’m good… can’t complain… no one listens, anyway.” with a heavy sigh afterwards. Oh, I felt it, girl. I felt it. I wanted to keep the conversation going to give her the chance to ‘let it out’ and I would listen, but I was thinking that time that since my ride is just short distance, we might not have enough time for her to talk about what she is going through, so I thought I might as well keep quiet.
Besides, she may not want to spill it to a stranger like me, although I get to have heart-to-heart conversations with strangers like drivers or fellow passengers in the vehicle sometimes, but there are instances where I could just sense in my gut that it may not be a good time to make the person talk even if I know that there’s a possibility that he or she is going through something.
Don’t Absorb the Negativity. Don’t Take It Personally.
I have this ugly tendency to be affected quite easily with people whose approach is just negative and pessimistic. What makes it harder to dodge and just ignore is when they make it sound like it’s personal. But what I have learned from school and from work experience is to not take things way too seriously and personally. Man, I had to learn that the hard way, I mean I have already been taught about it several times, but it just takes time and some experience to REALLY apply it, and the Lord has been so faithful and patient in teaching me that lesson repeatedly.
There are several techniques and methods about dealing with negative people and I am not going to write them all here, we can easily find them online or in many books at a library, and I hope you find what works best for you.
As for me, together with all the lessons I have learned from college and from school overall, I have to proactively remind myself in every single situation I face: “Don’t take the crap in!” as my co-worker and friend once told me. While it may not be the exact words that Jesus would say, I believe that He also does not want for our hearts and minds to be polluted and consumed by the negativity that’s just not going to help us in any way.
Learn To Let God Take Over
I have had encounters with quite a few people who had communicated issues and troubles about themselves, with other people, or with me personally, When I saw an opportunity, I tried to talk to them, hoping to help them out or to resolve the issues. While some of my attempts have succeeded at some point, there were just some cases that are no longer within my capacity to handle and fix.
Usually, when I reach this point in a situation, I can already feel an unrelenting pain or discomfort in my heart due to the realization that I cannot solve the problem on my own. But before insecurities, pride, anxiety, and all of their ‘friends’ could completely take over, the Lord is prompt and quick to come to my aid to remind me that not every battle is mine alone to fight. Jesus comes just in time to rescue me from the trap that either the other person or I, myself have created. He has done this for many times, in different ways, using various instruments such as my dear friends, co-workers, family, or even a mere stranger, reminding me to rely on Him more and more until I learn to depend on Him completely.
LOVE IS THE ANSWER
We all have our own tasks to finish, goals to reach, situations to face, problems to solve, questions to figure out. I believe that we are also given sufficient tools to fulfill whatever purpose God has set for us. We have been given gifts, but we need to unwrap them and learn how to use them.
We need to do what we need to do, and we do what we can. But in times when we don’t know what to do and how to do it, in times when the situation is beyond us and the problem is no longer ours alone to solve, I hope we can all remember that God is here. We have a Heavenly Father, a Savior, and an Advocate who is not just watching us, waiting whether or not we will succeed on our endeavors and ordeals, but is actively working in, through, and around us to accomplish His will for the good.
As much as I try to avoid being too preachy, I have to say it, I want to say it because that’s just what I am always being reminded of everyday—His presence, His omnipotence, His faithfulness, His love. Lagi akong pinapaalalahanan kasi lagi rin akong nakakalimot kahit hindi dapat.
Maybe some of you are also like me–who likes to take control of things, to know everything and to be ready beforehand, and who becomes anxious when I feel like I already have reached the end of my rope—or maybe not. But what I have been gradually learning in this journey is to completely let the Lord take over, to be able to wholeheartedly say, “Jesus, take the wheel! Take it from my hands, ‘coz I can’t do it on my own. I’m letting go…” as Carrie Underwood’s song says it. Ang ‘corny’ ba?, but I don’t really care. LOL! This is what I need to do, and you too. But don’t get pressured, we’ll get there, we’ll learn eventually, as Jordin Sparks’ song says, “One step at a time, there’s no need to rush.”, another ‘corny’ line, huh? LOL it’s fine!
In this journey, maraming sasabihin ang mga tao kahit ano pang gawin mo. So, whatever the situation is, let’s do what we can and let God take over the rest. As I am reminding you, I am reminding myself, too. 😊
When it’s no longer ours to handle, ibig-sabihin lang no’n, si Lord na ang bahala. At kapag sinabing si Lord na ang bahala, ‘wag na tayong mag-alala. May nanalo na. 😊
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