Taking the Initiative
Do you ever feel like you would be forgotten or overlooked if you didn’t initiate community? I often do. Whether it is assembling a group for some sort of social gathering or planning a family function it seems that I am always at the helm. I am trying to decide what that is all about? I suspect it may be partly a control issue and partly due to my organizational strengths but I think there is more to it.
I know I’m an extrovert and I thrive on social interaction. I also recognize that relationships are a huge priority in my life. But every now and then I wonder what would happen if I just stopped calling, stopped planning and stopped assembling. Would things still get organized? Would there be family birthdays or friendly get-togethers? Would I ever see my friends? Would someone call me without me calling them first (other than my mother)?
I’m not convinced and that upsets me. Why should it matter if I seem to initiate the contact? I’m a doer. That’s what I do. But sometimes I feel like I am flying solo on this one and I wish someone else would pilot the plane so I could just come along for the ride.
I think it is about being appreciated and affirmed. Sometimes it is nice just to be a guest and to leave the details in someone else’s hands. We all need to feel like someone decided to make us part of their lives and that it was entirely their idea. It is nice not to be the initiator once in a while and to still have a gathering or a celebration to attend.
Don’t read between the lines too much or start into your psychoanalysis just yet. I don’t need a major intervention. It’s was just a slump and though Dr. Seuss reminds us that sometimes, “unslumping yourself is not easily done,” God is faithful and he knows what we need.
In the midst of my internal rant (ultimately about my selfishness and my lack of perspective), my friends called out of the blue and invited our family to dinner on a whim. That’s grace.
I could probably count the number of times this has happened on one hand. It’s rare that we receive an invite like this from someone other than our immediate family. And this time, it was an answer to prayer. It was God’s way of using someone else to say, “you matter, be encouraged.”
It is so easy to become discouraged and to listen to Satan’s lies. It is so easy to begin to believe that you don’t matter and that no one would notice if you somehow just disappeared. The truth is, we lose perspective when we are wallowing in self-pity. We tend to accentuate the negative instead of being thankful for the community God has provided. Besides, we are the community that God has provided.
We have always had a steady stream of people in and out of our doors. And sometimes we do need a break from the influx. Sometimes it does feel like we are the only ones reaching out. But is the fact that I am tired of initiating a reason to stop providing opportunities for meaningful connection?
Certainly not. The thing is, it’s not actually about me. God can look after what I need. I matter to Him. I have an opportunity to show others that they matter to Him too. I can do that by taking the initiative.
Maybe I need to clear my schedule and make a few calls.
(Originally posted in 2009)