I have a job that requires a great deal of public interaction. I meet people of different ages, with diverse backgrounds, professions, income levels and education levels. I find the interaction enjoyable for the most part. I listen a lot, talk some and seek to be a Godly witness in all I say and do.
That doesn’t mean that I preach and talk about Jesus all the time. It means that I strive to be a representative of Christ wherever I am: at work, at home, at the store, at my children’s schools, at restaurants, around family and friends or while driving in my car (I’m still working on this one). I want to be professional, helpful, considerate, kind, diligent, faithful, loving, merciful & positive.
I know that’s a long list but these characteristics are just a portion of who Jesus is. Since I’ve been created in His image, He’s the One I want people to see and come to know. And can I tell you something? It’s very difficult at times.
Take yesterday for example. I was not really in the mood to be at work. I had been battling a stomach bug for days and was just starting to feel better. I reluctantly went in and the first person I helped started in with small talk…relentless, endlessly negative small talk.
Whenever I attempted to redirect the conversation toward a positive viewpoint, this woman was ready with a negative response. She wasn’t in a bad mood, believe it or not- she just could not make something positive come out of her mouth. I had only been around her for 5 to 10 minutes and I was feeling exhausted, irritable and drained of joy. I finally stopped putting forth the effort to sway the conversation my way and just smiled, nodded and finished our transaction as quickly as possible.
The words forming in my mind were not nice or positive as she walked away. In fact, I felt justified in the way I was starting to feel. I didn’t want to be here, I didn’t need this *blank* and that woman had been total joy-suck. I started to feel myself spiraling down toward a long night of gloominess and despair. (That last description may be a tad dramatic, but I wasn’t feeling 100% so bear with me 😉 )
Anyhoo- thank God for the constant help of the Holy Spirit! I was quickly reminded of a friend’s recent words to me. She told me not to allow other people’s hateful, ugly words drain me of my joy. She then posted Philippians 4:8 as a reminder to me:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
I knew she was correct and the scripture she had referenced was the right directive to put into action at this time– I was just having trouble doing it. Again– thank God for the Holy Spirit! All I have to do is admit my weakness and ask for help– which I did. Within a short period of time I was able to shake off the negative influence of my last conversation and move on to the next one, a little stronger than before due to His empowering grace.
Sometimes it seems like a constant battle to stay above the muck and mire of everyday life, but the results are well worth the effort. I have no intention of going back to the dark view I used to have of the world. I love God’s peace, joy and hope too much to let them go so easily:
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23 New American Standard Bible
Or, for a more contemporary translation:
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 New Living Translation
Blessings and have a great rest of the week!