Everyone who knows me understands that I am an introvert by nature. Given a chance, I will withdrawal from everyone and hide in the recesses of my mind. With that said, over the past year, God has been laying a growing conviction on my heart. I need to become a better people person. The result was that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to invite more people into my life.
For the first eight weeks of this year, I have committed myself to be more loving and hospitable toward people. This has meant several things to me. My wife and I have sat with different people at basketball games. We have invited people into our home. I go out of my way to talk to people before and after worship on Sunday morning. Basically, if there is an opportunity to connect with people, I am taking advantage of it.
Here are some of the things I have discovered on this journey so far.
- It takes effort every time. I know Jesus teaches us to love one another. I know Paul instructs believers to encourage, help, and serve one another under as we follow Jesus. Yet, every time I see an opportunity to do what the Lord desires, I hesitate and have to talk myself into it. It is still unnatural to me.
- I still find it exhausting. People drain me. They wear me down, and God did not magically change that when I decided to follow his will.
- I need to build in times to recharge. This year, after seven straight days of spending time with people, I had to take a four-day break. I am learning that to follow God unnaturally, means rearranging my life so that I have downtimes to recharge my emotional battery.
- It has been a blessing. Most people I have visited with over the past weeks have been so happy to spend time with me. They share the stories of their life and ask about me. I am developing new relationships and making solid friendships. I have experienced kindness and love from everyone in ways I have never known before this year.
To follow Jesus means that we do things his way, even when it does not come naturally. For me, and possibly some of you, this means getting out of my comfort zone and into the lives of other people. Two people have told me that I have become more friendly than they have ever known me. God has been good to me through this, and I am finding a joy I never experienced in following him. Sometimes in unnaturally doing the Lord’s will, we discover the key to what has been missing in our lives.