It was an important picture. After all, it was going on the cover of my first book. So the top I chose to wear had to represent me as an author. I had learned from French Chic Expert, Marie-Anne Lecoeur, that French women–whose fashion I greatly admire–keep it simple with a touch of something unique. I opted for a navy and white striped Breton top with little ruffles at the shoulder. I thought it would get Marie-Anne’s stamp of approval. I texted my neighbor who was shopping with me and asked her to come to the fitting room for a second opinion. As soon as she saw it she exclaimed, “It looks French!” It was as good as paid for and in the bag.
But before leaving the fitting room, we struck up a conversation with the attendant, Leticia, that turned quite emotional. We started discussing the upcoming photo session and when she inquired about the book title, she realized I was a Christian–Leticia’s face beamed. “We don’t get too many Christians in this store,” she said. “You both are a breath of fresh air!” We talked about where we attend church and shared a few moments of exuberance over what seemed to be a serendipitous moment.
She kept asking about the book and said she couldn’t wait to read it. At her request, I repeated my name and the book title—Healing From Heaven—several times as she was obviously attempting to store it in her memory. She became emotional and her eyes filled with tears. At that point, I told her I would like to bless her with a copy as soon as it was published. She couldn’t thank me enough, said how much she looked forward to it and was sure she would love it. As we parted ways, Leticia said we had made her day.
A few weeks later I returned with the book in hand but always seemed to show up on her day off. The third time was the charm and knowing I was headed to that particular store, I made sure the book was in my car just in case. Coincidentally the same neighbor was with me. I made a beeline for the fitting room as she shopped within earshot.
Excited to see Leticia I was grinning ear to ear as I said, “Hi, Leticia!” She corrected me for accenting the wrong syllable in her name. Ok, no problem–didn’t steal my excitement. I asked if she remembered me and she answered immediately, “You’re the woman with the book.” But there was no excitement and no gleam in her eye. Leticia was cold and indifferent. I told her that I hadn’t forgotten about her and had the book in my car for her, she was not at all impressed. Whatever spark we originally had, was now extinguished. Receiving a free book from me was nowhere on her radar and she made it clear.
I walked away feeling somewhat wounded, not so much that she didn’t want the book but just the way she treated me. My neighbor asked me gingerly if I thought the conversation was “weird”. She said, “That is not the same woman we talked to three weeks ago.”
I started to turn my thoughts Godward and I immediately heard these words inside of me, shake the dust off your feet. Any sting that was trying to penetrate my heart was instantly gone. I mean instantly. As though a skilled surgeon cut it out of me. I knew at that moment there would be no giving her a book, no going back to apologize that there would be no book. Nothing. I was told to shake the dust off my feet.
Matthew 10:14 says it this way in the Message Bible, “When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.” I knocked, I greeted, she did not welcome me, so God was telling me to quietly withdraw. I left that store and never thought of it again, except to use it as a life lesson to share with you. And file away as I will most likely need it again someday!
The NKJV says whoever will not “receive you nor hear your words”, shake the dust from your feet. If someone doesn’t receive you–if they don’t offer hospitality, extend their hand, or greet you favorably–they are certainly not going to listen to what you have to say. When someone doesn’t receive you, they are rejecting you. Jesus, Himself, is the one who said to shake the dust off your feet. In Jesus’ day, it meant, cease the fellowship. Today we would most likely say, “I wash my hands of it.” It signifies abandoning the situation.
I’ve said it before and it bears repeating. Don’t stay where you are tolerated, go where you are celebrated. And if someone does not want to receive you, invite you, call you, text you, tag you…shake the dust, baby, shake the dust. Get that arrow out of your heart.