Would you agree people are multidimensional? Are you able to sum yourself up in a handful of words? Would it be the complete picture of who you are?
We tend to categorize people to make things easier on ourselves. There’s not an inherent problem in putting people in a category of work, school, neighborhood etc; it is impossible to know every single person that crosses our paths. However, I want to be careful to not keep people in boxes I create for them. Making people stay in their boxes is easier because it keeps things tidy in our lives; everyone stays at arm distance to not interrupt what I have going. However, I have learned letting these people cross into my life in a different way or simply letting my perception of them be fluid has led to amazing blessings.
A friend and I began inviting the moms from our kids’ Mother’s Day Out program at our church to lunch at one of our houses each month (the idea is spurred from if:table which I HIGHLY recommend everyone consider doing.)
Last year I flew in and out of the church barely having time to say hello to the other mommas. This year is different; I’ve let go of some opportunities which has allowed new ones to develop. I’ve been able to get to know some really special ladies and I have learned from their wisdom as we share with each other about mom life in missional terms. I am so glad we obeyed and stepped out in faith to ask these ladies to cross over from our school “box” into our real lives. It makes me wonder what other areas of my life I am keeping people in their convenient boxes, but in actuality it’s just causing me to miss out on opportunities of mutual blessings.
These moms as well as any of you who have had more than ten minutes with me might characterize what I am going through as “crazy, intense, amazing.” I’m a little afraid it weirds people out. I’ve been trying to tell these new people in my life that I haven’t always been this way, or that I’m not really as crazy as I seem, but I’m starting to think this personality is here to stay for a while.
One morning in particular I texted a couple of different friends and I said “I’m beside myself over what God is doing!” I hesitated before pushing “send” because I felt the need to linger over the idiom “beside myself.” I went ahead and pushed send with certainty in my spirit that it described what I was feeling. Not even an hour later I was sitting in church when God brought this verse to my attention:
“For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.” 2 Corinthians 5:13 (emphasis mine)
You’ve got to be kidding me? It’s biblical to feel this crazy, amazing, astonished way about God? I felt so loved by God that He helped me feel good about my craziness!
I later google searched the background of “beside yourself” and up came another verse:
“Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” Acts 26:24-28
In both of these verses Paul is either being called crazy or justifying his craziness all because of God and what wondrous things he has seen.
I believe when we are witnesses or participants in the astonishing things God does for us, we can’t help but share what we have experienced. I am hoping my transparency will help people open their minds and hearts a bit to what God is capable of doing. I want to give you hope for your own situation, whatever it may be…God knows and He hears our pleas.
“Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26
Do we allow people to change? Can we think of someone that might need encouragement as he or she is being made into the new creation God intends?