When you relate to other people, what do you immediately pull from your hat of life experiences, and why? Do you look at their shirt, emblazoned with some mainstream slogan like “YOLO,” and tell them the story of your last near-death encounter? Do you see the dark circles around their eyes and ask them how they've been doing lately? Or do you just smile, say hi, and wait for them to talk?
I used to tell people about the horses I worked with and their latest escapades. Now, after I've been out there in the world and begun relating to people, I wouldn't just run up to someone and start blabbing about horses. Not that horses (or talking about them) is a bad thing. Don’t get me wrong, I still love horses and I always will. But not everyone likes horses. When I was twelve, that hit me like a freight train. “Why on earth would anyone be afraid of horses?!”
Anymore, I've learned that it’s better to ask someone else what they’re into before I start talking about my life. That eliminates a lot of awkwardness when a subject is not seen in the same light by both parties. I mean, seriously, why should I get in a debate with someone about horses being better than dogs? To each his own. There is no ethical or moral proof that horses are exponentially superior. Therefore, I shall not bother.
The “ask first” method also says, “I’m interested in you as a person, I find you to have worth and importance, and I want to learn more about you!” Nothing says that you’re a true, kind, caring Christian like wanting to get to know someone without judging their political or social standing.
But once you get to that point, where the ice is broken and you have your “Conversation Buddy” engaged, what do they see?
When I talk to people, I hope that they see Christ’s love in me. I don’t want to be giving them my sob story, trying to gain sympathy – because, trust me, I do that a lot and it drives me crazy. I want to accept people as they are, not try to change them. I want them to see that it’s really only God who can give people true joy, and that there is truly nothing special about me but His saving grace.
So what do YOU come across as? A video-gamer, an animal lover, a Potterhead (guilty), a fan of some obscure TV shows, or maybe even a Pinterest junkie? Name your genre. I can be seen as equal parts of any of those things.
Don’t get me wrong, those things can be used in good ways, but like money, they are neutral – neither a source of evil nor a source of goodness. They can be used to do good, or they can be used in perverse or otherwise destructive ways. But is that how you wish to be defined? By the world’s trends and popular notions?
I for one choose to be defined by the love and sacrifice of my Savior. There could certainly be nothing nobler than that.