A couple of weeks ago, at church, I was chatting with some friends and I noticed a lady I hadn’t met before. My nature is to make people feel welcomed and comfortable, so I walked over to introduce myself. There was a teenage boy across from her, so I asked if they came together and he said “I’m _____. I’ve been coming here for a few years. My mom is _____ and you talk to her all the time.” What??!! I talk to her all the time? I was getting really embarrassed…as the new lady must’ve thought me dim. I asked for a picture of his mom and he said he had a new phone so he didn’t have one. He said she comes all the time (obviously….since I talk to her all the time) but she wasn’t there that day. Fortunately, at that moment, a friend of mine walked in and I left to greet him. Unfortunately, the teenager and the new lady sat in the second row, while I was on stage singing with the praise band. I was amazed at how uncomfortable I felt.
I’ve been thinking about that ever since and have come to an amazing discovery. It’s not my nature to make people feel welcomed. I don’t even remember their name unless we begin to have a relationship beyond an initial greeting. My nature was to make MYSELF comfortable by welcoming people. This beloved kid’s assessment of me has set me free to step back and look at why I do what I do.
Expectations of human beings are set ups for disappointment. I can’t love myself or anyone else while I’m holding up a standard against myself or them. We’re all trying to live from our hearts and sometimes it takes 44 years to figure out what our heart is saying. For the most part, the people we encounter (family, close friends, strangers) aren’t intentionally trying to disappoint us. They’re simply trying to live life the best they can…to live fully alive and to read their heart. The ones that do disappoint on purpose have yet to discover your eternal, infinitely valuable, miraculous, priceless self….and their own…but discover they will. We’re all blind until something happens (a moment with a stranger….an inner calling) that causes us to evaluate and re-evaluate what we think about ourselves, life and God. For me, it just keeps getting better and better with each growth spurt. They’re usually not comfortable, but after the fact they’re more priceless than gold….so hang in there. The Lord is very, very good and His intentions toward us are boundlessly good.
I’m thankful for the awkwardness of my encounter with that teenager. I’m free to sit in a corner and watch people, or to jump into the middle of the crowd….or to stay home. It’s a wild ride….unfasten your seatbelt and recline your seat. Be free. J