Over the last week, it’s been fun to be around LOADS of sexworkers in Bangledesh, nice church folk in America, random & fascinating travel peeps & best of all, my family. And I enjoyed each exchange & interaction.
Were some people cranky?Yes
Were some people strange? Yes
Were some people brilliant? Definitely
Were some people hurting? Absolutely
Were some people broken? Everyone
And I’m so grateful that God is teaching & helping me to both enjoy & love people, full stop. Sometimes I do this better than others, to be sure. And it’s immensely helpful just to relax, smile & enjoy people no matter what!
Traveling around the world, I get to see lots of distinct preferences. For example, in Bangladesh they tend to enjoy spicy food & sometimes it’s REALLY spicy! In Brazil, they prefer community over individuality & the German language prefers precision over approximation.
But there’s one universal constant: everyone craves genuine love & I suspect this is by Divine design.
So if the universal constant throughout humanity is the desire for genuine love, it begs the question about how we can express genuine love.
When I think about expressing genuine love, I almost immediately feel inadequate & incapable. But if I think about expressing genuine love just a little more, then I’m not as discouraged. Here are some possibilities for consideration:
Affirmation & encouragement: recognize & vocalize something good to total strangers with sincerity
Gratitude: expressing thank you is a polite essential for genuine love
I see you: not the exterior trappings of wealth, success, begging, poverty, dirt or broken
Listen: hearing someone, being interested & asking questions is a way to be present & express concern, attention & genuine love
Borrow love: there are always people who we find challenging to love. So think in terms of borrowing love from someone you know & letting that shape your mindset for the tricky people.
Ask for more love – let’s never believe that we have enough genuine love. We exist, in part, for God to love not only us but also through us!
Do you have people in your life who seem like porcupines? There are people who go through difficult seasons & experiences,causing them to be prickly & cranky. Generally, when people are cranky we want to stay away from them because they’re unpleasant & we want to shield ourselves from possible jabs or hateful darts.
In contrast, it seems to me that Jesus ran to the porcupine people with genuine love & they often softened from His sincere interest & engagement in their lives. Love seems to be more difficult when we focus on the pain, cranky & porcupine actions rather than the person. Let’s decide to love well, full stop.
When I travel, I often meet people whom I admire & my weekend in New Zealand was no exception. To be sure, the country is entirely magnificent with its natural beauty, but her citizens are equally as enchanting. I met folk who are respectful in their conversations & engagement with diverse cultures. I met people who have overcome adversities that would make your hair stand on end. I met people who have a deep love for Jesus & carry His heart in their daily interactions, eager to serve & express genuine love.
We all meet people who have warts & flaws, but let’s have the courage & determination to see past those shortfalls & see each person as a glorious creation of our loving Heavenly Father!
This morning I enjoyed some very tasty chai some where in rural Bangledesh. As my friends and I waited for the gentleman to make the chai, a crowd accumulated around us as we were definite novelties. A person could get jittery surrounding by curious strangers with no communication possibilities. Then add on that we were the only females in the group & a person could be intimidated, even scared.
But I’ve found that being friendly & fun can make these kinds of situations into loads for fun everyone! Furthermore, if a person doesn’t take themselves too seriously it’s even more entertaining for everyone!
Let’s be the difference in our world – full of light, love, joy & LIFE!!
I have the wonderful honor of getting to be around fabulous people, like Pam who did my makeup & Christie who did my hair today. Both of these wonderful ladies & a boatload of other fantastic peeps (like Demetria, Garrett, Molly, Ivorie & more) are folk behind the scenes in tv / webland for CBN with the 700 Club. These people are magnificent in glorious ways: kind, patient, FUN & super smart!
Everyone has unique strengths & we are at our best when we are ourselves & do what we are good at. Here are some ideas that might help us as we endeavor to be our best:
Be sincere – fake & pretentious can be repulsive
Be kind – there’s more than enough cranky to go around
My parents always encouraged me to continually work on my people skills & I’m grateful for this for two reasons:
I’m an introvert & sometimes I can seem prickly (sometimes I AM prickly)
People are God’s first priority so being close to God also means it’s good to love who God loves.
With that being said, I frequently come across people who are usual & even strange. How I treat people who are a few clicks off of norm is a significant reflection of my love for God. I say this based on 1John 4:20 where it says that we can’t love God & hate people simultaneously.
So no matter what kinds of people you find in your life, let’s allow God to not only love us but also love THROUGH us 🙂
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Straightaway, let me be clear that stereotypes are inherently inaccurate by their very nature. But with that caveat, I’ve seen a fair amount of advice, blogs & comments about dealing with introverts, those prickly & possibly cranky or awkwardly quiet thinkers who sometimes lack diplomacy or communication skills.
In contrast, however, I haven’t seen much about extroverts & here are some introvert observations about extroverts, who can be very wonderful:
They engage rather than evaporate
They communicate rather than go silent
Often friendly more than sulky
They push comfort zones
They usually meet people well
Have verbal skills that can be admirable
Often do adventures with ease & enthusiasm
Suffice it to say that we are each made with divine creativity, fearfully & wonderfully made for fellowship with God & expressing genuine love in our daily living 🙂
People are interesting without a doubt. Sit in a Starbux, visit an airpot, watch in Walmart, socialize in church, etc & its high grade entertainment value to see what people do & how they behave. Sometimes I just like to stop what I’m doing, adjust my attention & look at what the people are doing around me – so MUCH FUN!!!!
Here are some reasons why I like people:
diversity: no two people are the same in any way, no matter how much effort they make to imitate & blend
creative: everyone seems to see things from unique & often highly creative perspectives, causing them to behave in very creative ways & do creative things
beautiful: each person has a distinct beauty (in their visage, mannerisms, interactions, clothing, makeup, etc)
surprises: just when you think you have a handle on human behavior someone does something entirely unexpected, rogue & outlier-ish
community: it’s always fun to watch the ways in which we interact with each other, endeavoring to honor, connect, communicate & engage
🙁 Sometimes I’m not good at managing time & you’d think that after more than 40 years of living that I’d be more proficient with using my time. Alas, my achilles heel with time is people and maybe in the grand scheme of things, perhaps this isn’t all bad.
In our fast paced world, acheiving, results & productivity can easily become idols and often at the expense of deep & meaningful relationships. While I most certainly appreciate that deadlines and achievements are super important, valuable and even necessary, at the end of the day, Jesus came for people so maybe it’s not all bad to love well and even inefficiently, which sometimes means being a little shady on the time management front ,)
Whenever I travel, I love getting to watch people & traveling on Halloween is a double bonus, which raises even more than my usual question collection. Here are some things I think about as I watch people when I travel on Halloween:
Let’s believe that they’re wearing a costume rather than thinking that’s their normal attire
Yes!! Superman is on my flight!!
Stillettos and airports – these ladies are on my all-time amazing list
I don’t understand why you’d be rude to someone who is helping you
traveling is a great opportunity to express Genuine Love – a cool way to brighten someone’s day 🙂
boots in security lines are tricky to navigate – stick w flip flops ,)
Whenever I get my hair fixed, it’s always lots of fun because of the different kinds of people I get to meet – some are intense, some are bubbly, some have an über dry whit, others are reflective & observant . . . . . So many different kinda of people & all uniquely wonderful. So whenever I get my hair done, it’s always like a party day to celebrate people & enjoy such unique & delightful personalities. It makes me thankful that God is amazingly creative, extravagant, gracious & most of all, loving!
I have the honor of working with LOTS of different people, some of whom are very easy for me & others who are a little tricky. When I think about the tricky people, I’m coming to the conclusion that the things that bug me are often more problems that I have than the other persons issues.
So with this in mind, I find myself pushing into God, praying & asking for help to do & be better. This helps me to be grateful for tricky people 🙂
I’m just finishing my weekend in Shanghai & I’m always astounded by several things when I get to visit China (possibly one of my favorite nations in the world):
*the number of people in this nation is 100% boggling. As we were driving today, I was trying to figure out how to show you 23million people in one city – Shanghai (picture of a “few” apt buildings in this monstrosity of a city)
*God’s immense love for people – there’s not one person in the 23million who live in Shanghai that is irrelevant to God; the quantity of people doesn’t compromise quality of God’s love
*God’s hand is engaged throughout all things massive & micro
*these reflections help to encourage trust in my heart that God is totally involved throughout my life & is altogether trustworthy – for both of us 🙂
From time to time, we all get to hang out with or be around grumpy people, no matter how well refined our avoidance skills are. So here are some brief thoughts for your consideration:
*check yourself first – is the person being grumpy because of your actions, words or attitude?
*be gracious – Proverbs says that a soft answer turns away wrath
*be soft & gentle, looking for words that repair rather than escalate
*generous forgiveness is always a handy resource
*be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle – Plato
*confront dysfunctional behavior with constructive timing & opportunity
*seek to reconcile more than dominate 🙂
Loving well can have lots of different expressions: taking someone for coffee, doing grocery shopping for a person, spending time listening, sharing about your thoughts / feelings, having someone over for dinner, giving therapeutic formula for starving babies, giving someone a kind word, staying positive and optimistic in a difficult season, giving a hug or a pat on the shoulder, encouraging someone about their talents or efforts, paying a bill for someone who’s struggling, . . . . .
I think there are a BOATLOAD of ways to love well and when we make it a priority, I think that we can all love well because of how we are so well loved by our heavenly Father 🙂
Do you have some more helpful suggestions of how we can love well? Please share!! 🙂
I’m currently making my way to Rome to join mom for ourFall group trip, with a layover in London. One of the great things about traveling is the magnificent opportunities to watch people & London is one of the best places for people watching. When I watch people as I travel, I see & experience lots if things:
*an overwhelming display of God’s outrageous creativity
*a diversity of beauty in people: beautiful eyes, beautiful hands, beautiful travel hair, beautiful wrinkles and so much more
*despite the hustle & bustle of making flight connections, gate changes, luggage challenges, etc, I can experience an internal peace & serenity that can still my foggy yet whirling thoughts
I grew up as a pastor’s kid & there were lots of positive things about that – people seemed to be extra nice, they’d give me more candy, I had the privilege of meeting some really cool people, etc. One thing that is tricky for every pastor’s kid (and probably for everyone on the planet) is the idea of living up to someone else’s expectations & then dealing the the fallout from someone’s disappointment. This is a difficult path to navigate for anyone, despite their age, background or experience. But here’s my sense on this topic: lots of people have lots of different expectations of me. Some of these expectations are sensible and some are silly. At the end of the day, when the dust settles, the one I most want to please is Jesus Christ and He already thinks I’m really cool. So with this in mind, I know that I will disappoint people from time to time & I won’t meet everyone’s expectations, nor should I. But I want to live to bring my Savior fame, pleasure & honor – all very noble, healthy & constructive goals 🙂
I like to watch people in lots of different places – starbucks, airports, grocery stores, etc. Sometimes when I watch people I’m awestruck at how beautiful & magnificent each person is. Some people have beautiful eyes or beautiful hair. Some people have rustic beauty & others are beautiful because of their regal stature. But people are beautiful – made in the image of our Creator & everywhere, they are beautiful, way beyond being broken 🙂
In yonder years gone by, the Beatles sang this song & when I read the lyrics, I think it had something to do with getting high. I still like the idea, however, of getting & giving help to others. What’s made me think about this today is watching a guy sit & do nothing to help a crippled lady who was totally struggling to open a door. I looked into his eyes after she finally got the door open & he was completely indifferent. To this apathy, I found myself becoming outraged!!
Then I started thinking about this lady’s observable disability – I was extremely motivated to help her when I saw her need. But I felt the Holy Spirit ask me if I was equally as motivated to help those who do not have an observable disability. Just because someone looks put together & functional on the outside doesn’t mean that they’re not falling apart or disabled on the inside. I can’t count the number of times that the Holy Spirit has helped me through various people when I’ve been falling apart on the inside & trying to look put together on the outside. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to freely express His help and character through us as we help others regardless of how they look on the outside.