Let’s start with a moment of transparency. On the extrovert / introvert scale I trend toward introvert. If you knew me when I was younger, or If you watch me from afar, you may find that a little surprising. As a part of my function and assignment, I am outwardly expressive, and I am comfortable displaying my emotions. I can be energetic, verbal, joyous, and interactive.
I am not necessarily your traditional introvert. I enjoy many group settings, and I am generally comfortable with people. However, I am not one to jump into the middle of a group dynamic that is new or unfamiliar. I have a pretty small circle of close friends. I have a lot of people in my life who I love and cherish, but my preference more times than not is to be with my family or by myself. I will typically sit quietly, and to myself, if I enter an environment where I have little relationship history. I don’t typically approach others, or introduce myself. I prefer those engagements to happen more organically, in part because small talk is excruciating. I would rather dive into deep personal conversation than talk about the weather or “how’s it going?”
Admittedly, some of my introverted ways may have been acquired through the rigors of twenty years in public ministry. Working with people, navigating challenging relationships, dealing with circumstances created by people still very much a work in progress…it changes you some.
Not to mention that I have a job to do. I have tasks to be managed, job descriptions to be fulfilled, and deadlines to meet. There is always work to be done. Unfortunately, at times I find myself forgetting, people are my “job”.
I started this year wanting to view people in a way that is more in alignment with the heart of Christ. I want make sure I value people in my soul, not just as a part of my job, or a means to help me get to some desired end. I want to love well. I want to treat people with the dignity they deserve as image bearers of God. So I made the decision to establish a simple thought pattern.
People are a treasure, care for them as such.
This is true of those who bear my last name. It is true of those who affirm and celebrate me. It is true of those who are loyal and committed to me. It is true of my authorities. It is also true of those who have nothing tangible to offer me. It is true of those who are skeptical of me. It’s true of those who have been less than supportive of me. It’s true of those who are contrarians, or “know it alls”. It’s true of those who talk behind my back, and I have heard they talk behind my back, and they don’t know that I know they have talked behind my back…geez…I’m not bitter…I promise.
I do not get to pick and choose who has value. It’s not my right to selectively offer honor. It’s not my place to determine the worth of others. People are image bearers of God. People are loved immeasurably by God. People are of the highest worth to God.
Therefore, my thought pattern must be, people are a treasure…and I will treat them as such.
I won’t always get it right, but this thought pattern has the capacity to flood my soul with gratitude for people, humility, love, richness of relationships, kindness, and gentleness…to name a few. It also will flush out bitterness, anger, disrespect, arrogance, manipulation, and harshness…to name a few.
Please do me a favor. Give me some grace on this one. I’m a work in progress myself.