Solicit by definition is to ask for or try to obtain something from someone. In law enforcement professions it is often associated with crime. I mostly associate it with those people who come knocking on your door to sell you something you didn’t ask for, or to tell you about a religion or denomination they want to convert you to. And hey, I must admit, it takes some guts to solicit. I couldn’t imagine my self knocking on doors, never knowing what would be on the other side, and trying to convince a person I know nothing about to buy into whatever it is I’m offering. While the product may be different of each solicitor, they are all trying to obtain something from you. In most cases its your money, but in some cases its your devotion or loyalty to a certain way of life or religious belief. But no matter what is being offered to try to obtain something from you, all soliciting has one thing in common. You never asked for it, and 99% of the time, you don’t give the solicitor what they’re trying to obtain. At least I don’t.
Did you know that you don’t have to be solicited? Did you know that you can hang a sign in your place of business or even on your front door that simply says “No Soliciting”, and you can send people on their way? You can even take legal action if your sign and verbal requests aren’t honored. So what’s my point in telling you all of this? To tell you that just like you don’t have to be solicited for money or religion, you don’t have to be solicited by anyones opinions either.
In some of my recent soul searching ill call it, the Lord began to deal with me about how I let people solicit their opinions in my life, and ultimately take up space in my heart and mind. Someone offers some advice on parenting that I never asked for, and out of some overwhelming need to please, I let that opinion take residence in the way I parent. I give them a space in my mind and heart that ultimately controls how I parent my child whether it is good or bad. Its insanity! Why in the world would I do something like that? Let someone dictate the way I do things? Truth is, we all do it, all the time.
I remember a time back many years ago, when I was a 12 year old girl. My heart and my mind were extremely impressionable. I was trying to navigate all the changes going on in my body that didn’t quite match up with where my mind was. You know, those weird and awkward tween years as they’re now referred to. It was on a day back in 7th grade during social studies class that I was solicited. I had asked a guy friend of mine to find out if another guy friend of ours liked me the day before, because I liked him. You know how that whole thing goes. So there I was just waiting for the messenger to arrive to class. He finally did, and I quickly asked him what the verdict was. He turned around and looked me in the eye. He said “Nah, he doesn’t like you. Said you were fat.”. Now looking back, I should have never asked a guy to relay a message like this. I can imagine one of my girl friends would have delivered his response in an entirely different way. Had one of them asked if he liked me, he may have never even mention that he thought I was fat. Who knows. All I know is it was the first time an unsolicited opinion pierced my very being.
I was fat. The guy I liked said I was fat. I never wanted to know in detail what he thought about me, just if he liked me or not. But I was told anyway. I was solicited with this horrifying information. I was mortified. Now keep in mind, I wasn’t fat at all. In fact, I was pretty skinny. I had just developed a lot more quickly than 98% of the girls in my grade, and in my self consciousness I wore big baggy clothes to cover up that fact. But for some reason, on this particular day, I believed a lie. I was fat from then on in my mind.
So why do I say I was solicited? Isn’t soliciting trying to give you something in return for something else? Im glad you asked. That particular solicitation of unwanted information didn’t actually come from the boy I liked, or the messenger that delivered it. It came from the enemy, the Devil, Satan himself. (Yes I used the words Devil, and Satan on a public blog post, but hang with me.) This unsolicited opinion of me, this piece of information I never asked for, wanted something from me. It wanted a place in my heart. If Satan could just get a place in my heart that believed that lie, his solicitation would be a success. I hate to inform you, but it was a success. Perhaps not the success he had planned, by the grace of God, but indeed a success in his scheme to hinder my life in any way possible. You see, thats is motive after all.
That lie took up residency in my heart. It made its way to my thoughts, and eventually out of my mouth time and again. I’m fat. So in my adolescent mind the only remedy was to show everyone from then on out that I wasn’t fat. I started wearing tight fitting clothes instead of my baggy attire. I wouldn’t eat. I exercised excessively disguised by school sports. I then remembered an after school special of some kind on bulimia. It was intended to help people avoid it or recover from it, but in my mind it was the answer to my problems. I could still eat and appear normal, and just purge later to keep from ever gaining a pound.
So there I was 12 years old, and had been successfully solicited into an eating disorder. It would take me another 18 years to begin to deal with this problem, and stop believing that lie. It would take 18 years of failed attempts at looking at my body and food normally again for me to finally get real, effective help. Am I cured? I wish I was. Do I have a normal relationship with food? Definitely not. Do I believe that lie any more? Sometimes. Do I struggle every day with not reverting back to bulimia? Yes. Is there hope for me? Also yes. Jesus brought me to a place that I had to face this lie head on in my life, and he has seen me through every single day before and since in helping me over come it.
So why would I tell you a story about being solicited in 7th grade social studies? To make you aware, and to offer you hope. How many times in your life has something or someone offered you something unsolicited, and consciously or unconsciously it found a way into your heart, and directed your life in a certain direction? How many times have you given place to opinions about you that didn’t even matter and weren’t even true? How many people have you allowed to solicit you successfully over the course of your life? Isn’t it time to stop? Isn’t it time to put up a sign on your heart that reads “NO SOLICITING!” and act like a crazy person if anyone tries to violate that? I’m telling you right here, right now. It is time.
If you look at the homepage of this blog you’ll find my life verse. Proverbs 4:23: “Guard your heart above all else, because it determines the course of your life.” There was a time in my life where I did that well. Over the last few years through many different battles, I somehow began to let my guard down again. God so graciously reminded me that its time to put it back up. Its time to realize again just how much of the course of my life has already been directed by unsolicited information, and how He doesn’t want me to waste not one more second on anything that doesn’t line up with who He says I am, and what He has for me in this life. He wants to remind you of the same thing.