We planted a church back in 2009 in Nashville, TN. My relationship as the pastor's wife with people went as follows. 1. Are you going to love me? What are you going to give me, THEN I will love you. I held my guard up high, to shield myself from getting hurt. Ultimately, after five years of church planting, this method didn't get me many friends, and left me hurt more than anything. Until January 2015, when I had an eye opening experience in a coffee shop in my hometown.
As many of you know, I was born an introvert. I have written many blogs banging the drum of a die hard introvert...just type in the search button below "introvert" and you will find a plethora of blogs on the topic. However, two Januarys ago, I had an eye opening moment. I was sitting in a coffee shop, when a girl I knew came in. She didn't even acknowledge I existed, walked strait past me and smiled, hugged and greeted another friend of mine. In that moment, my sleepy introverted heart was awakened to the reality that extroverts such as my friend have always and will always be greeted by people differently. Hang with me here…I have been having an internal dialogue on this idea for over a year now, and I am just now trying to get it out.
Loving people, by greeting them with a friendly spirit, such as a smile and hug as extroverts do, make people feel loved and valued. For people like me, smiling, hugging people, and getting a natural burst of joy to greet people takes a whole lot of pre- meditated thought and energy to do so. So naturally, we don’t love people well. It isn’t because we don’t love people, it’s just our personality to be a little more reserved, and quiet. But, this isn’t the point of my blog. The point of my blog is to tell you, Jesus didn’t call only the extroverts to love people. Jesus didn’t call us to own our natural born tendencies and let the extroverts do all the loving. He called me, you, and each and every one of us to love people no matter what the cost.
So how do we do it? How do introverts love people, and not just love them but love them WELL. That day, I left the coffee shop not changed, but awakened. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew, it would feel faked and forced if I even tried to love someone differently than I had previously my entire life. But I knew one thing, if someone isn't going to feel loved by my reserved, quiet personality...then I am going to do whatever it takes to make them feel loved.
People love joyful people. It is contagious. We all want to be around happy people. We love people who are excited. We love people, who love us.
I challenge you. This will be one of the most life changing prayers you will ever make.
God, teach me how to love people like you love people. Show me how to love people well.
This prayer ruined me. You have no idea. Smiling, greeting others, giving to people, hugging (yes, I just said hugging- ask anyone- I use to have a bubble and people weren’t allowed in it..Now I get in peoples bubbles.) loving, and bringing joy to others comes natural to me now. No, I am not perfect at it. But I am always learning, watching others, and using opportunities given to me to stretch me and grow me in this area. I look at other godly women examples around me who have love oozing from their bones to people, and I make mental notes of how I can practice loving the way they love.
Pastors’ wives, Jesus has placed us in a position to love people. And not just love them, but love them extraordinarily well. I know to some of you, it seems impossible, or foreign. That’s ok. But I am living proof love can just flow freely out of you. I tell people that I use to be an introvert and they don’t believe me. I tell stories about how horrible I was at loving people, and how I had to mend past relationships once I started praying that prayer, and people can’t believe I was once terrible at “people-ing.” Don’t get me wrong, I have my days where I don’t want to “people.” They are very few. Some days we need a breather, I get it. Cut yourself some slack. But if you can’t “people” more than you can love people than something isn’t right.
Lets be known for the love we share!
xo a girl who sleeps with the pastor
Matthew 22:36-39 “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself."