God’s 2X4

con·vic·tion  [kuhn-vik-shuhn]    noun
1. a fixed or firm belief.
2. the act of convicting or convincing.
3.the state of being convicted or convinced.

I feel as though, over the last couple of weeks, I’m being convicted. I’m being asked to relent to a state of mind that goes against every fiber of my being.

Here’s the situation. Currently our homegroup is studying “40 Days of Love”, wherein we’ve been discussing the need to find ways to show patience, kindness and gentleness towards everyone we come in contact with. In other words, being a conduit of God’s love. This is an area I find particularly difficult for three reasons:

  1. For reasons I’m totally putting down to a mistake in timing and genetics, I’m not God; I’m human;
  2. For pretty much the same reasons, I work in retail;
  3. Although some would probably argue this point, the people I come in contact with on a daily basis are also human—with issues. (Not that they all have personal issues, although many in fact might. Just that, when a customer needs to “speak to the manager” (me), there’s usually an issue.)

Let me put it in mathematical terms for you:

My position + the current economic climate (workload X workers / amount of hours cut) + a constant flow of necessary “problem solving” = an unfavorable environment for growing one’s patience, kindness and love towards one’s fellow man.

It’s an issue.

Yet, here’s where the conviction comes in . . . In addition to the current study our homegroup is undertaking, I have heard, on three different occasions and from three separate people over these last couple weeks, the phraseology, “Fake it ’til you make it.” All within the context of conversations revolving around my aversion to embracing a phony “happy-happy-joy-joy” attitude I sometimes find myself “faking” in order not to totally piss off the person standing in front of me.

I don’t feel it. And, if I don’t feel it, I’m relatively sure the other guy won’t feel it either.  If I’m continually faking my kindness, patience, gentleness and so on, when I really don’t feel any of it, won’t the person I’m interacting with see that I’m faking it? Won’t that, in fact, make the situation worse?

And, yet another person I’m taking with about this issue will say, “just try to fake it ’til you make it!”

Alright then . . . as I’m looking at my wristband with “Philippians 4:13” stamped on it . . .

“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”

. . . I find I might be coming to some sort of conclusion about this whole thing.

Maybe it’s not about them.

If I “fake it ’til I make it” and they see right through it all, I need to take comfort in the fact that I’m not doing this for them. I’m working out. I’m building muscle. I’m building character muscle. I’m building the ability to no longer have the need to “fake it”.

I need to rest on the strength of God to help me through this.  Then as I grow, to rest in my own strength, and in my ability to show kindness and patience so that the strength of God can be moved on to other areas of my life and character that need to be worked on, or worked out. Soon, I hope to find that my own inner strength of character is enough to not only thrive in the wild jungles of retail but be a light that shines the way for each person I encounter towards the One who gave me that strength in the first place.

I’ve spent the last several weeks convincing myself that I can’t do it.

God, on the other hand, has spent the last several weeks putting people in my face with this whole, “fake it ’til you make it” stuff until I finally understood what He was really trying to say. I really believe it was yet another example of how, in my mind, God is saying, “I’m not interested in you building up or tearing down other people. I’m interested in tearing down and rebuilding YOU. Then, and only then, will you be an accurate compass for me; pointing those people towards me so that I can then build on them as well.”

God speaks to us in many ways; through that little voice in our heads, through the voice of that singer on the radio, through the voices of our friends and loved ones; especially if it concerns issues of character and morality. If you hear it once, it’s usually His little nudge urging you in the right direction. If you hear it over and over and over again, that’s usually His 2X4 whacking you upside the head.

. . . you should listen to that.

You’d hate to have Him get out His monster truck!

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