Don’t be afraid to share the real you

This is my last week at my job. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m not sure when it will. I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m going to be a bawling mess on Friday, not necessarily because I’m sad to leave but because I’m going to miss the wonderful people who’ve played such a huge role in my professional life.

My cubicle was like Grand Central Station yesterday. So many people came by, just to chat, and it was great. I am usually tucked away in a corner somewhere quiet where I can compose articles and feature stories in relative quiet, so I don’t often see people. Everyone who came by wanted to know what was going on, where I was heading, why I was leaving, and I had decided that if people asked, I would tell them.

If somebody asks me why I’m leaving, I’m going to tell them it’s because I believe God is calling me to something bigger. That’s a great thing to tell someone of likeminded faith. Generally speaking, they’ll understand what you’re saying. They might even identify with it. But try telling that to someone who doesn’t necessarily believe the same way that you do. What do you think is going to happen?

Honestly–I didn’t know what would happen, because I’ve usually chickened out at the last moment and offered a more “rational” explanation for why I’m walking away from my job. Because I do have rational reasons. They just aren’t the reasons that drive me.

And I’ve been afraid to tell people the real reason why I’m leaving. Well, I decided yesterday to stop being afraid and just be real with people. And you know what happened?

People cried.

Has that ever happened to you? You tell someone your dream or what God is doing in your life, and they start crying because they’re so happy for you? Or they’re so touched? Or they’re so excited?

I’m not sure that’s ever happened to me. But it happened yesterday. A lot. And that stunned me.

I’m an introvert–a true ISFJ if you’re into Meyers-Briggs personalities. I don’t share my personal feelings or thoughts with many people, mostly because I don’t think anyone will value them enough to care. That’s not a judgment against other people. That’s just the way I see my own feelings. I don’t understand what difference my feelings or thoughts will make to anyone else. But I re-learned an important lesson yesterday: My story isn’t about me.

Today’s verse is 1 Samuel 16:7.

AuthenticityHoax_AFBut the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

When you present yourself to people, what do you think they’re looking at? They’re looking at your hair and your clothes probably. They’re making judgment calls about how put together you are (or how not put together you are). Face it, in the corporate world, your presentation leaves an impression. Your handshake tells a lot about your personality. Your ability to maintain eye contact tells a lot about your communication skills.

Ultimately, none of that really tells who you are. You can be dressed in the shaggiest, dirtiest, worst clothes in the world and be a millionaire, but nobody would know because people are only capable of seeing what’s on the outside. How wonderful is it that God sees our hearts and knows who we are in private?

I say it’s wonderful. Maybe it’s not so wonderful for you. I think that’s what bothers people about God, because He knows all our secrets, all the things we do in the dark that we think nobody will ever find out about.

God knows.

And let me tell you something, friend. God made you who you are. With all your foibles and quirks and idiosyncrasies, God crafted you to be uniquely you. There’s nobody else on Earth like you, so you should never ever be ashamed of God’s handiwork. And what’s more, if you’re redeemed–if you’ve trusted Jesus’ sacrifice to pay for your sins–you have a relationship with God Himself. Maybe the world is broken, but if you follow Jesus, you aren’t.

So why are you hiding? Why are you afraid to tell your story? Why are you afraid to share with others about what God has done in your life?

I can tell you why I’m afraid. I don’t like conflict. I don’t like confrontation. I’ve been scared that people will get upset at me or get up in my face and tell me I’m stupid. But I really believe that’s a fear planted in my heart by our enemy. Maybe people are that way in bigger cities, but nobody in Wichita has ever raked me over the coals for my faith. The times that I’ve spoken about it, people have always been very respectful and interested. And maybe that’s because I’ve made an effort to be respectful and interested about them first.

God has given me my story to live, and part of living my story is sharing what God is doing in my life. It doesn’t matter if people listen or not. It’s my responsibility to tell the story. That doesn’t mean I get to go around shouting at the top of my lungs to make sure everybody knows, but that also doesn’t give me a free pass to stay silent because I’m feeling uncomfortable.

So no more hiding. God’s given me a story to tell. It’s the story about how He saved me and set me on the path to achieving my heart’s greatest desire, and I’ll tell anyone who wants to listen. Doesn’t matter if they hear it or not. I will have done my part.

And maybe–just maybe–God can take my little story and use it to help change someone’s heart. Maybe I could be the little weight that tips the scales in convincing someone else to take a leap of faith for God.

God sees my heart. He knows who I am. And it’s time I start sharing that person with the people around me.