Misfit (learning to walk)

on the edge of both worlds

Saying What You Want March 27, 2008

Filed under: evangelism,work — doublehh @ 8:17 pm
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I attended a seminar at work this week about saying what you want. I’m not usually into those kind of things, but I didn’t let my skepticism put me off and was pleasantly suprised with what I learnt. 

We made a list of the things that stop us from saying what we want. On my list I came up with the following: lack of confidence and shyness, worrying about the other person’s reaction, fear of offending the person, not achieving the desired results, lack of knowledge and inability to answer other people’s questions.

It became clear that this was far more applicable to me as a christian who wants to share the gospel, than in a business context where most things I deal with aren’t emotive.

Using the list we made, we had to think of solutions to overcome these barriers. We thought about the following…stepping out of our comfort zone, looking for positive role models who are able to say what they want, not presuming what the other person’s reaction may be, not taking their reaction personally, realising that you don’t have to know all of the answers. Again, so applicable to sharing the gospel.

And what better role model do we have than Jesus himself!

The great comfort is that we don’t have to find the words on our own as God will guide us in our conversations if we ask Him. If I only put into this into practice more. I so often try to do things in my own strength with no thought of God. I almost have to teach myself to want, to want to let Him in.

 

Life in the workplace March 24, 2008

Filed under: work — doublehh @ 10:55 pm
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Well I am back in the office today and am happy to see my colleagues. I love my colleagues and am particularly fortunate in working in a place where everyone gets on and genuinely looks forward to catching up after a weekend. My colleagues are pretty much of similar age to me and so the social life is good. It also provides plenty of opportunity to get to know people properly.

Over the last few years it has become clear to me that my gifting is in personal evangelism. The opportunities put before me have been amazing. It just shows that God has quite a sense of humour…I am the kind of person who fears walking into a room of people, who fears people they don’t know talking to them, who would avoid a situation if it may mean talking in front of others (all of which situations arise in church as well as work). However, God has made me bold and determined in sharing my faith with others. My husband encourages me with this a lot – he is outgoing and thrives off the company of others yet finds it hard to share his faith and take opportunities.

It takes a long time to get alongside people and it’s not just a case of saying things at the right time. Most opportunities come along when you least expect them. I think this is God reminding me that He is in control! It’s a case of living the gospel out practically for example, offering to help a colleague overrun by work who has had to stay late, making a cup of tea for someone having a bad day (there’s nothing a cuppa can’t solve y’know!). Gaining people’s trust then brings along opportunities. On evenings out, most of my colleagues have asked questions about what I believe and how great to have chance to chat about it all.

The most incredible experience I had was when a colleague literally broke down crying in front of me questioning their entire existence and mortality. They know I am a christian but I had never really had chance to speak about it to them in the three years I’ve known them. I had been frustrated that they had never shown any interest. At times I had gone out of my way to be a friend to them and at times this had been very costly but I didn’t see any flickers in them at all. Then one day out of the blue everything changed and since then my colleague has been questioning everything! The hard work does pay off!

I don’t want to see my colleagues as projects though. I have been on the receiving end of that myself throughout univeristy. I genuinely care for my colleagues and I am not looking at every opportunity to convert them. Sometimes I think I spend too much time with them. I love going out with them at lunch times and after work. They are the people I laugh most with and the people I naturally get on with the best.

I do lose my way a little when I spend more time with them than christian friends. As a I talked about before, I start to envy them. When we go out they totally let go and have a great time albeit induced by alcohol. I have made a point of not drinking when with non christian friends. I may have the odd glass of wine but none of them have ever seen me drunk. In fact I haven’t been drunk since my non christian days at uni which is a while ago now! Anyway my point was that I don’t just let go and have a really good time which is what I sometimes so desperately want to do. Of course this has been a good thing as it’s these times when I would make bad choices. I work for a large global company which holds some pretty fabulous parties and this means staying overnight. They are evenings of carnage and inevitably people go back to to other people’s rooms despite having wives, husbands, partners at home. It’s so easy to get sucked in and think that this behaviour is ok. We are surrounded by it in society – it’s everywhere. Anyway, my point is that if I wasn’t a christian, I probably would not have walked away from situations that I have and I thank God hugely for that. He has helped me to be distinct and it’s often only in retrospect that I can see how I have been so well protected.

And it comes back to the same point -in my head I know how good God has been to me, but I get home in an evening and my thoughts are on myself. I want to be able to feel his goodness and be grateful for it, instead of thinking that it holds me back from doing what I want to do.

 

Juggling Life

Filed under: church,Psalm,struggling — doublehh @ 3:50 pm
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I have wondered whether writing this is a wise thing to do. Looking through the other christian blogs on the web, they are all focussed on God and not the self. My intention is not to distract from God’s glory, rather it is a log of my personal struggle to reconcile my beliefs with my everyday life. Being introverted and particularly shy, I don’t find it easy to talk to others about this and my natural instinct is to write it down.

I firmly believe that we can come to God with our true feelings as in the Psalms. God knows how we feel anyway and so it barely is a surprise to Him!

I have been a christian for 7 years now since I left university. I guess the issue is that my first joy has been lost and I have been waiting for it to come back to me. I am not sure I have really been proactive though in doing anything about it. I don’t even know whether it is possible to get it back.

The transition from student to working life was quite a hard one. I think we underestimate the impact this has on ones christian walk. Students have the precious commodity of time and this allows plenty of opportunity for reading, studying, meeting others and going to church. The working life does not allow for so many activities. By the time I am home in the evening I am more concerned with cooking a meal, getting organised for the next day and finding some time to relax. The weekends are busy too as neither of our families or any of our uni friends live nearby. Attending church twice on a Sunday feels like such a drain, and in a church where having people round for lunch is encouraged, this puts a lot of pressure on to prepare and commit an entire afternoon to serving others. I see my non christian work colleagues going out in the evenings and sleeping the weekend away and this sometimes feels like such an attractive option, although it is not really a productive use of time!

I guess my attitude is similar to that of the Psalmist in Psalm 73 where he feels that the world seem to have everything. My issue is reconciling this with the truth that these people in the world in reality have nothing. I know I am the one that is rich. It is just making my heart feel that way, rather than it just being head knowledge. I need to remember the privilege it is to be able to attend church on a Sunday and openly proclaim my faith when so many around the world would be persecuted for doing so.

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

 

Where I Stand March 23, 2008

Filed under: church — doublehh @ 2:17 pm
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How is it possible to stand amongst so many friends yet feel so lonely?

I could make it easy. I could put on the ‘Sunday’ act at church – turning up on a Sunday morning and going through the smiling routine, the ‘how has your week been?’ routine, the ‘what activities are you involved in?’ routine. It could be easy to go through the motions….sing the songs, make notes in the sermon, close my eyes to pray.

But it’s not me.

I am not an extrovert. I keep myself to myself. I don’t feel comfortable expressing myself in that way. I understand what church is for and why it’s important to go to church. Why does becoming a christian mean I have to change my personality to fit in?

I am fortunate to go to the church that I go to. The teaching is excellent, the vision is outward looking, the leadership are faithful and serve their congregation whole heartedly.

Why then is turning up on a Sunday so hard?

I get frustrated by the people who come and talk to me because talking to different people is a good thing to do. They don’t genuinely care how my week has been or they would listen fully instead of looking around the room while I answer them.

I get frustated by the people who talk about church as a being a family. Where have these people been for the last two months when they know life has been a little bit harder for us? Is it only the people who are the ‘personalities’, those who go to homegroups, those who help with church activities who are the ones who can be helped.

I get frustrated by those who think that you have to be seen doing activities and be involved in groups to be serving your church.

I get frustrated by the cliques, the culture and the unwritten rules that dictate my life even though I know they are not necessary. 

Don’t get me wrong – I am far from perfect and am not putting myself  on a pedestal to look down at others. The church needs different personalities, but I feel that I need to change to fit in to this culture that has formed. And it is this culture that also alienates me from my friends who are not christians. These non christians are the ones who to me are more real about who they are, are genuinely interested in helping and who respect my beliefs. I am alienated from them because I am made to feel like it is wrong to spend more time with non christians than christians. I feel like I shouldn’t go out after work with my friends unless I am there to evangelise.

Maybe I expect too much from christians. I don’t expect anyone to be perfect – all of us fall far shorter than what were were meant to be. Maybe I have a naive view of christianity. Maybe I do need to change.

 It’s so easy for all of these feelings to override the true meaning of days like to day – a celebration of when the only person ever in history was resurrected to make the way open to God for all who will live for him.

And so it continues to be a struggle. There doesn’t seem to be an easy answer.