I LOVE a good sale! But if finding good deals became an Olympic event, my husband would be a gold medalist in every category. He really is that good. I can say that with great enthusiasm because I was his first coach. However, like all good Olympians, he has surpassed his coach to such a degree that friends ask him to search for a deal for them before they make a large purchase. With that backdrop set, my next statement may seem out of place. There are some things that should under no circumstances EVER be discounted. Never should they see a red tag slapped upon them or be thrust onto a half-off bargain basement sale table. What is of such great value it should never be “priced to move for quick sale” you ask?
Recently I faced a situation that I have to admit I did not have the most lovely of responses to. So bad, that I was more than a little shocked at a few “choice” words that came out of my mouth as I asked a friend to pray for me. Remembering that “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”, (Matthew 12:34), I realized there was something pretty ugly in that heart that just spoke! It was a response seemingly very out of whack for the situation. My wise and loving friend’s response was to ask Holy Spirit to show me why the strange reaction. As soon as I did, I heard, “discounted.” As I thought about it, the people involved in the situation may as well have been on a cheesy local car dealer commercial advertising the greatest sale in history, THIS WEEK ONLY!!!!! But they weren’t selling cars, their actions had just “advertised” a “discount”, their seemingly complete lack of seeing value in ME. Had it been strangers, I would not have given it a second thought, but it came from those I knew and had walked with for many years. Ouch. A serious ouch.
So, what does it mean to be “discounted?” It is a form of rejection in a less obvious package, less direct. To feel less than, worth less than others by the words or actions of others or our own self talk, and it is a lie.
Say, you are known for your baking abilities. You love to bless others with yummy cakes, cookies, etc., and all who know you, know this is something you love to do. As a dear friend’s birthday approaches, you are excited to make her favorite chocolatey goodness that you know she loves! You prepare to bless this friend at her upcoming birthday party only to find out that another friend has decided to hire an expensive caterer for the party and tells you that she will purchase the cake as well, your cake is not needed. As she describes the decadent chocolate masterpiece fit for a queen, complete with top reviews from Foodies and culinary websites, with a royal price tag to match, she assures you that her doing so was surely to get you “off the hook” of having the chore of baking. Problem is, baking is NOT a chore to you, it is a way to bless and you suddenly feel like your heart just became day old bread, discounted to the point of having little to no value.
Was it intentional? Well, that’s where we get in trouble… In the sting of rejection, the lie of being discounted wants our flesh to rise up as it demands the verdict of guilty! It is easy to judge the heart of the one who has hurt us and assume they MEANT to do so. Problem is, we see in part, no matter how much we want to believe that we KNOW another persons motives, truth is, we really don’t. Often the motive of another has little to do with us at all. In the cake scenario, the friend buying the cake may have woundedness that makes her have such a low opinion of herself that she overcompensates to gain approval and goes to extremes to do so. Or maybe she TRULY does think it would bless you not to have to bake and she has the financial ability to bless the birthday girl AND you… point is, it isn’t our job to figure out her motives.
No cake was involved in the creation of my “discounting”, but as I saw my heart through my words, I began to see that the real issue was my feeling of being discounted, NOT the motives or intentions of those involved. I began to unpack WHY I felt the sting. As in the cake scenario, it seems to be human nature at times to miss the value of those we are familiar with and heighten the value of those promoted in their field by others that we don’t know. During his entire lifetime, Van Gogh only sold one painting, it appears that he may have been seen as the “crazy guy” with one ear, not the master impressionist who would influence generations of artists and whose “Sunflowers” painting would fetch the highest price at auction of all time. They may have just seen him as Vince, the crazy dude.
When we suffer discounting, our flesh wants to be justified. I wanted my “Sunflower” moment, NOW, I wanted my value to be seen! What I really wanted when you unpack the hurt, pull back the veneer of the “I have value” internal screaming, was to have their approval. I may or may not ever get that. They may or may not ever see my value. At the root of it all, under the discounted price tag I felt they placed on my forehead, was my need to see that we are all broken. We do this crazy thing in our brokenness, we slap discount tags on those WE see as broken. As I pulled off the tag on my forehead, I pulled off the tag I had placed on theirs in my retaliation. If I stay in the center of my Daddy’s will, in His heart, I have His approval and am not in need of the approval of man. When I am in His love I am fully loved and free to love fully. I can love with a full heart, with a heart that is brave, unafraid of being wounded and that does not wound and discount others. In His love I do not get to play dress up, wear my Daddy’s clothes and be judge of hearts that only He can truly know. So instead, I will get off of His throne and onto His lap where I belong.