Do you ever wonder what other people really think about you? Beneath the superficial greetings and pleasantries, what do they like about you? What do they struggle with? I am not being paranoid or self-obsessed (am I?), but I am in the middle of a process at the moment where I am considering the real me – strengths and weaknesses, warts and all- and seeking to see how I can be better.
I am making some resolutions about myself which coincidentally happen to be occurring at the beginning of January, but have nothing to do with New Year’s Resolutions: these are deeper and (perhaps) will affect how people perceive me and interact with the real me.
- Smile – ever since I was little people have asked me what is worrying me. I think my natural ‘relaxed’ face looks a bit worried / concerned. So smiling will help to counteract this. But it can come across as superficial, so what I am praying and seeking is that the joy in my life shows more in my face; that the pleasure of being with other people causes my mouth to curve upwards; that the knowledge of being adopted into The Royal Family shines out more from within through my face. People naturally prefer us to smile at them than scowl!
- Listen. I am aware that I can talk a lot. I wonder if sometimes it’s a defence mechanism because I am a bit introverted. I struggle to make small-talk (never been good at that) so I respond by waffling on about me and telling endless jokes. This blog gives me the opportunity to spout forth about me (pretentious? moi?) so I resolve to listen more to other people. I am trying to learn ways of training myself to shut up and show people that I am interested in them by asking the right questions and listening to what they say in response.
- Honesty. Ministers can project ‘supercope’. I wonder sometimes if we have to in order to survive. We are expected to be there for people, to prepare fresh sermons each week, to lead meetings, to visit, to pray, to serve. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I LOVE this calling. But I am not doing myself or anyone else any favours if I am coming across as having it all together all the time, always getting everything right and being able to do everything. I am realising that I am not good at everything. (well, duh!). I am realising that I need to delegate better, and more. I am realising that I need to tell the inner control-freak to calm down a bit. I am realising that I need to release people to use their gifts. And part of this is being honest with myself and them – admitting when I get things wrong, admitting that I need help, admitting that I am not superminister (I wear my pants inside my trousers).
Those three seem good places to start. You may be thinking that they are not very spiritual, but I would disagree. The changes will take place best if I work with God’s Spirit to help me. The changes can be superficial if they are not embedded within the real me, and the best way of doing that is to ask for the Creator to carry out an upgrade!
Be blessed, be a blessing.
A strong young man at the construction site was bragging that he could outdo anyone in a feat of strength. He made a special case of making fun of Morris, one of the older workmen. After several minutes, Morris had enough.
“Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is?” he said. “I will bet a week’s wages that I can haul something in a wheelbarrow over to that outbuilding that you won’t be able to wheel back.”
“You’re on, old man,” the braggart replied. “It’s a bet! Let’s see what you got.”
Morris reached out and grabbed the wheelbarrow by the handles. Then, nodding to the young man, he said, “All right. Get in.”