When “Offense” Distracts Us from Fulfilling Our Purpose

It happened again…

I felt invisible.

It wasn’t just my imagination. My husband gave me a look that indicated he’d noticed. She’d been intentional about greeting the person next to me while totally ignoring I was right there. I’ll admit it—my feelings were a bit bruised. 

This wasn’t someone I could avoid, so I’d tried to be friendly on numerous occasions. When a situation came up that involved participating in several meetings in her home, I thought it would be a good opportunity to break the ice with her—she and I could get to know each other, at least a little bit. Nope. That didn’t work. Most of the time, I felt invisible to her there, too, and was passed over in discussions until someone else in the group made sure I was heard. Any conversation between the two of us was initiated by me and short-lived.

I wondered what would happen if I invited her to meet for coffee to find out if I had hurt or offended her. But, I shelved that idea. I was convinced that I would come off sounding like a whiny fifth grader. “What’s wrong with me? Why don’t you like me?”

It came to a point where I had to ask myself some questions.

Why was it so important that she like me?

We all want to be liked by our peers. But when it comes down to it, it’s impossible to connect with everyone. Personalities don’t always mesh, and that’s okay. I would have embraced her friendship if offered, but the reality was that I had awesome, fun, loving, amazing friends! I didn’t need her to like me.

Was it possible that at some point, I’d made someone else feel invisible?

Regardless of whether I had or hadn’t, I decided to be more aware going forward. I don’t want anyone to feel that I don’t even have a moment to greet them or offer a smile. I don’t want to rush past someone because there may be interesting people waiting on the other side of the room or someone with whom I have a higher comfort level.

Was I willing to pray for discernment and wisdom? Was I willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and trust that God knew her heart and mine, and that I could leave all in his hands?

Could I turn my hurt feelings over to God and offer grace, grace, grace without even mentioning being offended?

It was imperative that I let go of the offense.

It’s important to acknowledge, at least to myself, when someone hurts me. But when I allow those actions to affect me ongoing, they become a distraction to what I’m called to do—and that’s to be an encourager through written and spoken word.

Focusing on how someone has offended me distracts me from my purpose. It’s difficult to encourage other people while concentrating on my own negative experiences.

You may experience similar, yet different situations. Friends or family members may say discouraging things about your plans, your dreams, or what you feel is your calling. You may be told that what you want to do is insignificant—not important. Their words may contribute to you feeling insecure or embarrassed about what you’re doing now or what you want to pursue. People may laugh at you, say you’re not capable, or even state that what you propose is not doable.

But remember, if God has placed those dreams in your heart, if he’s shown you his plan and purpose for your life, you’re not alone. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV).

So, what do you think? Are you going to let other people’s inabilities to see the possible distract you from fulfilling your purpose?

How do you handle situations when someone hurts or offends you?



  1. I agree with you, Dawn. It isn't always easy to let go and move forward, but necessary. As a vessel I must stay open to His voice. If offenses or opinions consumes my thoughts, the music stops. I can't write. Just like you, I am called to encourage others. That takes opening up--something that goes against everything in me! And of course, you know, leaves one vulnerable. You do a wonderful job!! And yes, you do have some awesome, fun, loving, amazing friends!! Present commentator included. LOL! God bless, my friend

    1. Hi, Gail! I really appreciate your comments. Yes, this certainly applies to any creativity and hearing God's voice - including music. The ability to become open and vulnerable is connected to encouraging people. Sometimes it becomes necessary to share our experiences so that people can see possibilities and hope.

      Your friendship has been and continues to be a huge blessing! :-)

  2. Great post, Dawn! You are such a good friend. She's missing out! :) Thank you for sharing your heart and helping readers to consider our own interactions. Kindness is a blessing. Your gentle approach is warm and inviting. I appreciate your heart.

    1. Thanks, Annette! Your comments touch my heart. You just encouraged "me" today! ;-)

  3. How on earth can she miss seeing you? You're beautiful on the outside, but even more so, you're beautiful inside: heart, mind and soul. I agree with Gail and Annette, she's missing out. So glad you're my friend!

    1. Thank you, Angie! I feel like I just received a big, warm, cyber hug. Ditto! I'm thankful for your friendship too. :-D

  4. I agree with everyone. Yet we've all felt it, whether intentional or just a prickly personality encounter. It's so good to remember they often have their own significant luggage and you don't need it. You are beautiful! Keep pressing on, place reminders of goodness in your path. Bless you!

    1. Hi Elizabeth! That's so true! It is good to remember that we don't know what's going on in their heads and hearts ... and it may have nothing to do with us at all. That's where the grace, grace, grace comes in! We all need to receive it at various times, and it's important to also give it in abundance. ;-)


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