Did you ever wake up excited about the day and everything is going great, then boom, one negative response from somebody bursts your bubble? You allow your moment or even the whole day to be ruined! How does one deal with people who are Bubble Bursters?
Last week I had one of those moments that I allowed to turn into days after being on a super high from the Easter weekend and my birthday the day after. I woke up early in the morning and decided to listen to some YouTube videos to fall back asleep (too pumped up). I popped on the headset and picked something from my IPad to listen to. It was great! A motivating lesson stirred me up positively further though as it matched something I wrote a piece on a couple of years ago. I was so inspired I sent a message to the author thinking they’ll be so excited someone was praising and agreeing with them.
Instead, I got a reply that had not one, but five critical statements in it. I politely said, thanks for the feedback but I think you have misunderstood what I said. I explained myself further and asked for clarification, and sent a follow-up text as well. The response was, you sound like you are ‘self-conscious’, in essence saying who are you anyway? Their response came via a social media messenger tool. The texts I started the conversation with were ignored and translated incorrectly from one media to another, making it impossible to explain. This was with a person whom I had been graciously conversing with and giving positive comments on their SM pages for two years. We also had a few conversations directly on the phone and via text. I honestly admired the person who was a bit quirky like myself. Their social media posts and videos drum up minimal views and little feedback most of the time, like mine, lol. They act like it is no big deal, I guess. I likewise, after nearly ten years in the social media world, also try to act like it is not super important to me.
Well sort of. In all honesty, we all want to be correct, receive positive feedback, and get an occasional pat on the back from people, don’t we? And criticism is at times a good thing. We all have room for improvement and can be misguided by the vast amount of information we try to decipher. But what purpose does it achieve when all you have done is burst a person’s bubble and leave them hanging to boot? I got over it, after a day of wrangling and moved on. It is not worth the price of letting someone’s insensitivity (whether they are right or wrong or not) ruin your day. Although, it lingered around in my thoughts for a few days. It is not the first time some person used their own insecurities or outright rudeness to make me (does it happen to you?) feel inferior.
Funny, after that, I started noticing other people talk about how they had their feelings, ideas, and even their whole being ripped apart by someone’s rude words and spicy response.
It prompted the idea to write about the topic as rudeness in communication is so rampant nowadays. We all I am sure have been recipients of bubble bursters haven’t we? Sadly though, I know I have been the deliverer as well. Don’t be that guy or girl!
A long 15 years ago I chewed out a person on the phone who dropped the ball during a business transaction. To this day I get reminders (like now) of the horrible guilt of being an arse. The situation involved multiple pieces and people and our company was out of stock on a key item (that totaled about $150k in equipment for this order). A distributor had in stock what my company (a manufacturer) was out of. It was so exciting working thru and finding all the items needed to ship a large order overnight. If we had not found it the ripple effect would have meant losing this order and the potential $millions it promised.
The young lady who was assigned the fulfillment role and I had talked several times and we were both excited about the opportunity. I told her about the absolute importance of getting it shipped out that day. Overnight airborne. And to provide all the shipping details before the day ended. The client had thirty people lined up for an install the next morning in multiple locations. It was their biggest client, and the company I was helping was my biggest customer and the biggest of our company. All was going well and many phone calls were made to ensure the shipment was made. Everyone was excited we were pulling off this fulfillment.
As the day drew near the end about 4:30 I called her to see if the tracking information she said she would provide was available. I got her voicemail. Message left. I waited patiently for a callback. 5:01, tried again, 5:30, 5:35. Then the calls started coming to me from the customer side looking for the important details they needed. 5:37, 5:40. The heat was rising quickly from multiple ends. I attempted to zero out, voicemails everywhere. I could not find anyone else in the company, nothing.
From that moment on until 11:00 pm, I was on the phone with outraged people needing the status and the tracking info. Thirty installers and truck rolls at $500 an hour all lined up and our piece of equipment, already late, was one of several pieces absolutely needed for the installs in multiple locations. Talk about a bubble burster post celebrating getting the deal and shipment covered. It was a nuclear disaster from my perspective and all those involved. I didn’t need to explain why my voicemail messages had increased in volume and anger, but actually, I did.
Escalation’s happened as I tried to find someone and ultimately had to go 3 layers up in my organization to find someone four layers up in the distributor’s organization to get the data. The boss’s boss interrupted everyone’s evening until the owner of the company got involved to find out if anything went out the door. What a sleepless night. I had not heard that many cuss words since my Army days.
The next morning I received a phone call from the young lady. She sheepishly apologized and began in tears reading off the tracking numbers one at a time. After writing down four I stopped her and said at this point the numbers mean nothing, the customer needed to know last night, as I told you!, so they could be in position for today. The quiver in her voice was crushing, more than the package problem. I was so tired and burnt by that point that I said, this would be better if sent in an email so the tracking info can be passed on to those waiting for the packages at all the locations. We still need to know exactly where everything is now. I had to spend the whole day figuring out what was shipped and what was not and apologizing to all those involved for ‘our/MY‘ screw-up.
Post mortem a day later I received a call from the owner with an apology and an explanation. Her husband had recently left her. She was supporting three kids, and she had to leave inadvertently to deal with her mother who was watching them as she was feeling ill. That evening her mother had to be taken to the hospital. Mic drop! I felt like a total idiot and jerk. Although making an apology to her, still 20+ years later I sometimes replay that scene and wish I had had better control of my words and emotions. It seemed justified, but in reality, it was not.
It turned out that most of the installs went well and the commission check was a good one. Yet, the Bubble had burst and all of us involved were left with a taste in our mouths like drinking champagne with sand in it. There was plenty of blame to go around which started with my own company not having the equipment. I later learned my inventory was given to another customer. The taste lasted as the customers used the example as one to get a second source, costing $millions in lost sales. I provided the details as most of us hang on to every detail of situations like that to justify our actions. Frankly, I was not just mad at her, I was mad at my own company and a few people that caused me to be in an inventory-less situation. 15 years later there are zero thoughts about the sale itself but the guilt of treating a person as I did remains.
People situations are the hardest in life would you not agree? Innocent mistakes, misunderstandings, slips of the tongue, and errors will happen. But if we acted like a jerk it makes matters much worse. At least for those of us that care how we interact with people.
Then there are the situations where we are blatantly abused, lied to, cheated, or insulted by people. Hopefully, we are not the deliverer of those things, although I share my stupidity to say it happens to the worst of us. How we deal with all of them varies and sometimes we have to turn over some tables and even file lawsuits or call the police to resolve the issues. (I’ve had a few of those, you can read about them and the lessons learned from the storms here.
I share the two-sided examples for us to grasp why we need to not allow what other people do to us to affect our lives and burst our bubble. On the flip side, my hard-lesson-learned was to gain empathy towards other people. We never know what someone else may be going through. We need to learn to NOT be a Bubble Burster. And at times defend others caught in the onslaught by those entitled to force their opinion on the innocent.
Easy to say, hard to do. As I reached the point of editing part one I came to the realization that part of my ‘oversensitivity’ (that one boss claimed was an all-me-not-them denial issue) comes not only from being treated rudely but being sensitized by the lessons learned from bursting others bubbles. Think for us parents and married folks, how many times have we burst the bubble of our spouse or children?
Oftentimes it is when the tide is reversed that we have a chance to examine ourselves. For more thoughts on how to manage those inner thoughts with a deep spiritual twist, read on to part two, otherwise don’t let anyone burst your joyful bubble…
Please don’t go away yet! Hit that red button below for more. If this is your first time visiting Average Joe’s Portico, every post is written in two parts. You have just read the portion challenging the mind, body, and soul. In The Portico, I seek to tap into your spiritual side, but only IF YOU DARE. Tap the Red Line Below to read the Part 2 Spiritual side of the story. (For an explanation of my madness – read the ‘Do You Dare’ Tab)
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Christian – How often do you have your bubble burst by the words of unbelievers? How often do you share thoughts about your personal relationship with Jesus Christ that has changed you and then had a portion of that foundation burst your bubble by an all-knowing doctrinal expert on a particular Biblical topic? Worst yet, how often have you been a bubble burster with your putdowns or arrogance harming a possible seeker of faith or another Christian?
Reader – WARNING! I place a huge asterisk * on this whole exposé. Please read what is written in full context. Some statements are easily arguable on purpose. Some need to be loosely interpreted. Some need to be taken seriously and worth scrutiny on how you operate or discover how people are selling their viewpoints to you. Some need to be read that my views are subject to correction, although some are intended to make you think; such as the cover picture which has a balloon rather than a bubble. And ironically ‘bursters’ is considered a misspelled word in some dictionaries, but not all. (can a dictionary be wrong? – it sure can). Yes, the normal term is bubble-busters. My title and picture is on purpose! It is not to be misconstrued as a joke, but for us to fully examine everything that is brought before us to be sure we’re not being fooled either on purpose, accidentally, or as a trick of the devil. And, leave room for explanation or errors when people are communicating to us. The heart behind what people say is key, more than perfect grammar or complete accuracy.
In the Bible, we all know the famous story of Jesus’ very first public miracle – changing water into wine at a wedding. Jesus understood the importance of a big moment in people’s lives. Although it seems trivial, a couple’s wedding is ruined or a parent’s reputation is ruined by running out of something as simple as the wine – a huge bubble burster. He had empathy and performed a miracle saving their day and preventing a burst of a family’s big event intentions.
Fast forward to the modern-day church today where some have a distinctive doctrinal viewpoint on the Bible. If the unknown-at-the-time he was the son of God Jesus miracle took place it would be condemned as an act of the devil. Surely, turning water into the wicked never touch your lips alcohol is a sin. His miracle moment bubble burst by a view of someone’s ‘solid doctrine.’
Some will argue vehemently it was unfermented grape juice. Some would say He performed the miracle but did not partake, ‘that is why He hesitated when His Mother asked’. Did Jesus, who knew no sin, put alcohol on his lips and actually drink it at a wedding, and dance at the same time? Others will say He partook but did not get drunk, while others will discuss the KJV only transliterations in Hebrew about what the wine really was. Topics for a good Bible study but if we turn it into a debate and argument chalk it up as a Titus 3:9 moment – ‘Avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.’
In Luke chapter six, using the Amplified translation we see Jesus discussing the importance of both knowing His words and doing them. (If you click on the line it will take you to 1 of 75 possible translations available on 1 of several online Bible Apps) “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not practice what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to Me and listens to My words and obeys them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 he is like a far-sighted, practical, and sensible man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and yet could not shake it, because it had been securely built and founded on the rock. 49 But the one who has merely heard and has not practiced what I say, is like a foolish man who built a house on the ground without any foundation, and the torrent burst against it; and it immediately collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Please stop and go click on the link and read it. If you don’t like the AMP version, switch to another or pull up your bound and written Bible and read it.
If you read the whole chapter in full context we see that opinions varied on what people thought the Bible said. Some valued a legalistic doctrine over the real-life needs of people. The letter of the law, as they interpreted it, outweighed both eating to survive and healing the injured and sick. Jesus then went into the infamous beatitudes and pinpointed interactions with people as the true judge of what it means to be like Him. Let me repeat that, when Jesus was alive as God on earth, He was describing and showing what it meant to be like Him, the model.
Afterward, Jesus told us to make sure that we as followers of Him have a solid foundation to stand upon so that people’s judgments and misunderstandings of His WORDS would not cause our bubble of love to burst. A foundation that cannot be burst by the words of unbelieving naysayers or doctrinal experts that spew scorn on the possibility that God is speaking to you an Average Joe or Jo not just right now, but all the time. If we are trained in hearing Him. We are His sheep.
Did you read Luke 6?
Funny, the bubble burster person I mentioned in part 1 criticized my writing too many words, ‘it should be 1/4 at most of what you wrote in your story.’ I wanted to argue with him (but did not) and say did you not read the article I wrote titled ‘Why I write long blogs?’ He actually had not previously read what I wrote to him two years prior and then judged my motives for sending a text to him with another link that he also had not read at all. I was told I did not understand what it means at all to ‘hear from God’, because obviously only he had the kernel of truth on the topic. Then I was called ‘self-conscious.’
The last part is a true statement. Perhaps not the way he meant it. We all need to be a bit more self-conscious in regards to how our words and actions affect people. I don’t want anyone walking away from here saying this guy doesn’t believe that the Bible is God’s Word. I am very self-conscious about not wanting to burst anyone’s bubble from the person who just became a born-again believer in Christ as in a 2 Corinthian 5:17 changed person on the inside and out – to the seasoned extremely knowledgeable and mature 99-year-old Christian. – “Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].“
I find the most encouraging messages come from brand-new Christians. Although they are not highly trained experts in the Bible their recent life changes are proof of God ‘saving’ a person from the bondage of slavery they were in. Like the blind man who was healed by Jesus who was attacked by the Pharisees to explain what happened, he simply said, I don’t know the answers to anything you are asking me all I know is before I was blind, now I am not, and this guy named Jesus did it. The bubble bursters went all out to lambast not only him but his parents as well. He was expelled from the synagogue.
How many young Christians or ‘not trained with a theology degree’ people are expelled from churches or pushed out to the parking cars ministry because of not having the credentials to open their mouths or pray for somebody? Does not every believer become born again and now have the Spirit of God/Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit living in them and now hears Gods voice? Does he/she now not have a spiritual understanding they did not have before? We can spend time talking about maturity and discipleship both of which are important and then the next levels of leadership/teaching qualifications. The point of this discussion is don’t burst the bubble of people excited about the Lord because you hang out in the circle of the wisest and they do not. God is quite capable of guiding people that want to know more and is concerned about His followers becoming disciples. If we mess up or are off base, as we continue to seek living word knowledge of how we are to live as a Christian, God will reveal our flaws and bring understanding to us. It may take a while to grasp, and hard lessons to teach us where we were off, but God will guide us if we seek all the truth that has set us free. “Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” Philippians 3:15 (Esv)
Therefore, I write covering a handful of angles on a topic to not mislead anyone, especially a person who is seeking answers who does not have a relationship with Jesus. It is the number one highest priority. How can a person decipher the confusion some have created with Christians acting like the Pharisees? If you read Luke 6 they tried to trip him up for ‘working’ on the Sabbath and God-forbid healing someone on the Sabbath. He burst their legalistic foundation to where it says they ‘were filled with senseless rage and lacked spiritual insight.‘
Have you ever read articles written by supposed Christians condemning all those who believe in ‘faith-healing,’ (and vice versa) even though they have never met the people they are condemning to find out if their testimonies are real or not. Have you heard Christians use letter of the ink thinking (read 2 Corinthians 3 for letter of the law vs Spirit context) saying the only Bible version to read is the King James Version, all others are false writings? My wife met a person once in the non-profit thrift store she manages who bought up all the non-KJV Bibles to ‘destroy the false versions.’ Seriously! If you are staunch on one particular version of the Bible that is fine, but there is no need to preach it is the only one to ever read and nothing else. God speaks all languages and will work around errors in your thinking and guide you with that Holy Spirit that you invited to move in with your body. I don’t want to burst your bubble * read what feeds you.
* Remember that asterisk? There are some new twisted Bibles that eliminate verses and blatantly change the words and meaning. Just as some dictionaries (like the ‘Urban dictionary’) are off or wrong, be aware fake Bibles and misleading teachings are everywhere. If the mantra of teachings focuses on how only your church or teacher knows all and everyone else is miles off base, beware. Doctrine police are sometimes the most blatant false teachers, re-read Luke 6 again if you missed the key point. Jesus was healing people both inside and out, as were the disciples, all of them. It is important to surround yourself with other Christians to learn from one another and be accountable for your personal life and spiritual growth. I have saved the time for you busy folks providing you a week’s worth of Bible sections to read, all the links are whole chapters not one single verse, and all for free accessible 24x7x7.
Solutions to bubble bursters?
Sometimes the best response is no response. In John 8 is the story of Jesus being doctrinally beaten up by the Pharisees. To test Him they brought into the temple court, where He was teaching the Bible to a group of people, a woman who had been caught red-handed in adultery. It says he did not look up and drew in the sand. It probably drove them crazy that He did not respond immediately to their probing and to their opinions. He remained silent before replying with one sentence. “He who is without any sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” But don’t use silence as a weapon as Narcissists’ do
Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a varying degree of time to do various things.
Sometimes we indeed need to talk to someone who is out of line or blatantly wrong. Many Bible verses discuss disciplining those in the wrong. The very ‘Rock’ (Peter) that Jesus used to establish the Christian church needed to be publicly corrected. Galatians 2 describes a time when Paul had to publicly rebuke him for his actions. Sometimes even the most popular of leaders need to be challenged or even removed from their position if they have done wrong. Matthew 18 is for all Christians. 1 Timothy 5 for elders covers the seriousness of this topic and also discusses why we do not appoint people to positions in the church too quickly. That is not to be mistaken with holding people back for lack of theological certificates or not being part of the ‘inner circle’ or nepotism on boards. You can get away with that in business but in the church, spiritual gifts outweigh paper and who-knows-who. The Bible teaches us that correction is a way of life, we all mess up at times. Growth comes through properly delivered advice and yes at times, correction.
Sometimes we are gentle and soft or apologize when we went too far. Correction and judgment seldom need to turn into condemnation nor be rubbed in repeatedly. It should not be overwhelming. When possible, we should be treating one another in business, social, and church settings like a fully functional family. (I had so much to learn on this in the past, and still am always re-evaluating how to balance & time the right words to say and how much emotion to display.) Think of relationships on all levels “as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them,” even if you are the one who was rude and need to be told it was not cool. First, build up and do not continually tear down. As a father of two fantastic adults, I have re-apologized for exasperating my children. Knowing it may have caused damage we have discussed parenting miscues several times.
“Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or exasperate your children [with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by favoritism or indifference; treat them tenderly with lovingkindness], so they will not lose heart and become discouraged or unmotivated [with their spirits broken].” Coll 3:21 AMP
Sometimes we co-understand. At the same time, they know, and we have re-discussed it multiple times that we as parents did the best we could with the fullest intent of love towards them. Some things we did really well, some we did really poorly. We are still learning how to deal with the pains of the past. All of us have a past of how we were treated and ideally as Christians tried to do better than what we grew up with.
At All Times know who our real Father is. Many have not had the luxury of trying to fix the past. To the orphans, the abused, the lonely, the left behind, which at times, is all of us, we must lean on the only perfect Father.
Psalm 68:2-6 written by David a man rejected by his family. Born in a box of shame. One who felt the pain of words spoken. One who endured the wrath and spewing of put-downs from bosses and supposed spiritual leaders. He told a mixed message from his viewpoint:
“So let the wicked and guilty perish before the presence of God. (Don’t seek vengeance, that is God’s job)
3 But let the righteous be glad; let them be in good spirits before God,
Yes, let them rejoice with delight.
4 Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
Lift up a song for Him who rides through the desert—
His name is the Lord—be in good spirits before Him. (Ride that Bubble)
5 A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
6 God makes a home for the lonely;
He leads the prisoners into prosperity,
Only the stubborn and rebellious dwell in a parched land.“
That last line in verse 6, know what you are Christ. Despite how hard it is –
Sometimes we must be strong! I have worked with Narcissists (some of you have lived with them or God-forbid were one) that even after you waited things out for years they never apologized. – You Endured. Overlooked. Forgave internally (do not take physical abuse). Let the water run off your back. Spoke about the issues privately. Had a correction discussion with witnesses.
They turn the tide and blame you as the problem. Then they kill you with reverse psychology and self-righteousness and give you the cut-off silent treatment. Do not fall for their wicked ploy, you stand firm! Let them dwell where the ‘stubborn and rebellious dwell, in a parched land,‘ not you!
At All Times know who you are!
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?“ 1 Cor 3:16
And all of these verses and so many more in 1600 languages and 100+ English translations (some with almost perfect transliterations). It was put together by an Assistant football coach. I hope that didn’t burst anyone’s bubble because it did not come from a HEAD coach or a famous preacher with a master’s degree in divinity and theology. God speaks through and to anyone who submits to Him.
We have everything we need to handle the onslaught from both mean people and well-minded caring people that don’t realize they may be one-upping you. We are equipped to handle all people and situations with power and grace. Whether it is coming at us or we’re tempted to do it ourselves – let us work hard at building one another up in Christ and not be Bubble Busters.
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