So this past Saturday I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed at 6:45 a.m., dressed myself in the required business attire, and headed out the door to a mandatory ministry of helps meeting at my church. It’s only a few Saturdays out of the year that we do this but that particular Saturday was a struggle for me. Everything in me wanted to cover my head and sleep in. BUT I gave my word that I would attend so that sealed the deal for me. I knew it would be worth my time once I got there but I had no idea it would be all that it turned out to be! In three hours I came away with so much to help me grow as a person, not just a believer. It was all about how to best represent yourself as an open, approachable, and welcoming person so that you remain a gateway for building spiritual relationships. As the guest speaker spoke, I began to analyze myself and I came up with one undeniable fact… I’m none of those things!! Haha
You ever find yourself saying… “That’s just how I am.” Well, I’d like to challenge that thought. It’s my belief that we develop personalities, safeguards, and habits based on life experiences. A lot of who we are today is a reaction to situations that have either inspired us or hurt us. As a baby we had no concept of distrust. We had to go through a few things to learn about loyalty, trust, forgiveness, etc. I haven’t studied psychology but rather this is all a result of me doing some heavy evaluating of the woman I’ve become over the years. I forced myself to take a look at who I am and how I portray myself. It’s about to get more personal than I’m really comfortable with but this is a season of growth for me so here I go…
If many of my closest friends were to describe me… they would probably use words like “supportive,” “independent,” focused.” I can assure you that “open” and “approachable” would not even remotely come to mind. That is so hard to say but it’s the truth. It’s not because I’m a mean person or dislike people, it’s more about how I trained myself to keep a distance to avoid being hurt. Most people don’t affect me because I don’t get close enough to them to allow myself to be affected. Perfect plan, so I thought.
Eph. 4:4-13 “You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness… But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift.”
As a child I was very outgoing and loved making friends. I literally was a child that liked everybody. What I didn’t realize was that everyone wasn’t going to like me back. Now I could come up with some reasons for the hatred I got from classmates and neighborhood playmates but that’s really a waste of time. Even as adults it doesn’t take much for people to determine they don’t like you, even if they never took a moment to get to know you. The point is that after experiencing hateful kids, I began to build a wall. It’s a wall that I am still trying to tear down to this day.
I’ve gotten so accustomed to being the pleasant but passive type that it’s a struggle sometimes to move past what I feel like doing and what my assignment is in the world. I always felt like being anything outside of who I thought myself to be was being fake. I simply can NOT deal with fake anything! But once I got a revelation of why I needed to improve, it became a lot easier to accept. Once we are saved, it’s time to put who we think we are aside and start mirroring Christ. We start recognizing who Christ is within us and the importance of our assignment. Any traits that hinder our assignment need to be dealt with. We have to lend our ears to the instructions God gives us and stop wasting time questioning “how.” Of course, in the beginning it all seems forced and unnatural. Anytime you’re outside of your comfort zone, you naturally want to digress back to your old ways. DON’T! If you want better you must do better!
Eph. 4:14-16 “No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.”
Now that I have an understanding of the “WHY,” I have a pull on me to make efforts to improve. I am still very much a work in progress for sure and it’s safe to say I’ll never be the overly chipper type. The goal is not to pretend, the goal is gain wisdom so that it becomes natural… in your own way! We can all find a happy medium so that we remain authentic but improve our people skills. Some people are naturals, I am not one of them, but after Saturday I vowed to make a conscious effort to do better. I encourage each of you to tap into the “why” of your situation or strong hold, whatever it is. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can’t be anything different than what you are now.
For those that share my struggle, God has a plan for all of us and it requires that we all become gateways to Christ. If you have your nose in the air, your eyes shaded, and arms crossed you block opportunities and relationships that are set in your path to help you and others grow. But you have to understand why you’re doing it. You can’t just go through the motions because you won’t maintain it. The sooner you tap is to the “WHYs” of life, the easier it will be to for you to remain on course and fulfill your purpose.
Eph. 4:20-24… My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.”
Tuesdays with Bianca