Some time ago I met a flirtatious guy while traveling.
It’s super-common for people to be flirtatious in airports, or while traveling in general. With the transience inherent in travel, stakes are low and excitement is high. (Reminds me of relationships that form on the courage of drugs and alcohol. Not exactly flattering. Good gracious!) But privacy is important to me, so fortunately we can all rest assured that this story takes place in a way that the guy’s identity is well-protected in a sea of anonymity.
Once it became clear that this flirtatious guy was not someone I would date, and therefore was not going to string along, I remained kind but let up on the flirting. As he pushed forward more, I had to be clearer. He eventually got the picture. And then he got angry. He actually made a complete 180 turn. I was shocked. I hadn’t expected such a strong reaction. It was the kind of angry that made me want to crawl into a hole. Or apologize. But I didn’t. I had clearly defined my convictions and held to them. I’d done nothing wrong.
As I reflected on it later and wondered why the reaction had been so strong, I couldn’t help thinking I’d unintentionally stumbled onto this truth: A woman immune to flattery is a force to be reckoned with.
Apparently it wasn’t what he was used to. I wasn’t exactly used to it either. I don’t think I knew I had it in me until I was tested. My 15-year-old self would probably have been a complete train wreck. And I’ve certainly made mistakes in my interactions with guys since then. But in this instance, by God’s grace, it was so clear to me that I should back away. His reaction not only further confirmed my suspicion that he was not a good dude, but also helped me see a strength I didn’t know I had. Would that we all could be immune to flattery.
Hold to your own convictions, knowing your worth is like having a superpower.
Now that doesn’t mean being hardened or shutdown. I don’t want us to be dull men or women, or people who live in fear. Life can’t be lived very well on the sidelines. Embracing all that life and love have to offer includes embracing risks that come with it. And sometimes that is unavoidably painful.
Surround yourself with people who speak kind and true words to you. Take those words to heart. Let your heart be fed by those truths. Surround yourself with people who genuinely love you.
Would that every person could find their true identity and rest securely in it.
The ultimate goal is that you not lose yourself — that you not lose sight of your identity — and that you not lose sight of the God who created you and gives value to that identity.
Above all, this identity can only be understood by knowing the One in whose image you have been created. Surrounding yourself with what He says about you is even more important than surrounding yourself with other people. Sit at Jesus’ feet and learn from Him. He is gentle and lowly of heart. Let Him pour His truth into you. Set aside time regularly to be quiet before God and aware of His presence. Memorize and meditate on Scripture. Make Christ a priority. Invite the Holy Spirit into your thoughts and feelings throughout the day.
Would that we could each know our strength and worth deeply.
From this place of deep, significant relationship, you are so so free to love while still being more protected than ever. Like a child who knows she is safe under her daddy’s watchful eye and so freely plays and takes risks.
As you are surrounded by all that goodness, when the intruder of flattery comes along, it will seem small to you. It may be sweet, but it will be extra. It will be superfluous. You have been fed by better delicacies. When you are first filled on what is truly nourishing in God, anything else is just extra, whether a relationship, a home, a job or some personal desire for anything else.
Jessica Wright is a nurse in Philadelphia who is trying hard to keep this bio from sounding like an online dating profile. She’s mentored young women for over 10 years. She’s devoted to sound biblical doctrine and finding our ultimate joy and satisfaction in God through Jesus Christ. She recently moved from Oklahoma City to Philadelphia and is learning how to make the most of every opportunity she’s been given in this single life.