I spend an awful lot of my time trying to manage people’s perception of me.
It’s exhausting. I’m the biggest obstacle to people actually knowing the real me. I am constantly censoring my speech, my actions, my attitude in an attempt to convey to people the person that I want them to think that I am.
Most of the time, I can’t let people know the real me because I don’t even know who I am.
Who I thought I was 6 months ago even, is not who I think I am today and that’s annoying. I finally convinced everyone to that I was competent, type A, heartless thinker but now I’m finding out that I might not be any of those things. It feels too late to convince people that I’m different.
I’m just a little more complicated than I thought.
If you watch me teach you might conclude that I love the Bible and theology and truth at any cost.
If you watch me with my friend Ashley you’ll probably think that I am a giggly hopeless romantic; a girly girl with the maturity of an 8-year-old.
If you know me through my writing you may describe me as sad and cynical.
If you watch me with my pal Rach, you’ll think that I’m easily entertained and a sarcastic mess.
I am all of this. I am an emotionally sensitive princess and I am a rational prophet. I am the most cynical person I know and also the biggest optimist I’ve ever met. I am carefree and spontaneous, while obsessed with strategy and structure. I love to laugh and I love to make others laugh.
And if I’m going to finish this race I’m going to need a little room to figure it all out.
All of us are. If we’re going to persevere people, we have to let them be who they are with all the inconsistencies and strange edges.
Look, if you want to make someone into a caricature, you can. Once you have an idea of someone it’s not hard to take every word out of their mouth and fit it into your pre-existing mold of who you think they are.
But you’ll never really know anyone like that. Because people aren’t made that way. We cannot gather 5 or 6 data points on someone and conclude that we know them. Humans are messy and multi-dimensional. We are complex creatures. After all, we are image bearers of the living God.
And if we’re right about this whole Jesus thing then it is a rock solid promise that everyone in Christ is going to change. We are being transformed even now.
I want to be someone who gives others room to change and gives myself room to be wrong about people. I want to constantly be wiling to change my perception of them.
- Who are the people in your life that you have written off or reduced to a stereotype? What does it look like to get to know them better?
- Who are the people in your life who you need to give freedom to change? What does it look like to encourage them that they can be different?