Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Case of Mistaken Identity

WARNING: This is kind of a 'stream of conciousness post' so it may be a little difficult to read -oh yeah and it's long too.

Yesterday, my husband and I were in a local supply store getting estimates on cabinets, fixtures, mirrors, etc for the new house. I noticed a lady with a man who was obviously her husband and they had a little girl in a stoller. She kept looking at me and for lack of a better word 'acknowledging' me from across the room (she seemed like a very pleasant person). I tried to recall her face and couldn't. I didn't know this lady, but she obviously knew me (or so she thought).

When this woman and her husband were on the way out of the store, she stopped and began a conversation with me. We talked about the homes each of us were building and I asked her where her new house is located. Turns out her house is very near my church. Now, anyone who knows me knows I love my church and if you dont go there, I will bug you until you come and see for yourself how great it is. So, I start to tell her that her house is near our church when she says, "Your dad is our pastor." Okay, my dad is on staff as director of stewardship at a large church in Woodstock, Georgia - he isnt a pastor and he doesnt even live in Tennessee. I couldn't figure out what she was talking about and then she said"Isnt _______ _______ your father?" Just then it hit me - she already goes to our church (our church is getting very large and it is difficult to know everyone) and she thinks I am the preacher's kid. Granted, our pastor's daughter and I are best friends, so I can see where she thought we were sisters.

That was a funny incident, but I have been thinking about how I could have totally ruined my pastor's reputation with that family by my actions. Of course, I am not a person who is just totally rude or socially unacceptable, but what if she had seen me at my worst? What if she had seen me being rude to the sales clerk or what if I had been totally impatient with my child while she was watching - what if I had ridiculed my husband in her presence? I am not even related to my pastor, but she thought I was and with a few ugly words or actions, I could have made a terrible impression on this couple who is new to our church.

Just like I could have been a terrible representative of my friend's father, there are times when we are terrible representatives of our Heavenly Father. Okay, I dont make it a practice to be rude or socially inept, but don't we all have our moments? I am a firm believer in the phrase 'perception is reality'. If people catch you on a bad day acting unGodly, they will assume you are always unGodly. I used to say 'I dont really care what other people think of me'. That is a pretty arrogant thing to say considering God tells us to be a witness in everything we do. We should care what people think of us -- we are representing the King! In everything we do, we should remember that we are there on behalf of the King. You never know who is watching you to see if you are practicing what you preach.

We get so busy with living that we forget we are living for God's glory. When I go to the theater, are people looking to see what movie I watch? Probably. Even when I go to the grocery store, someone may be looking in my cart to see if I am walking the walk or just talking the talk. For instance, when someone looks in your grocery cart, are they seeing books, movies, foods, 'stuff', etc. that will glorify God or are they seeing things that look just like what the rest of the world has in their cart? When we go to buy clothes, are we buying clothes that are modest or do we look just like everyone else in the world? When we are at the beauty shop (southern term, I know) do the other people there hear us talking like Jesus or like the devil? When everyone else is standing around gossipping, do we walk away or do we contribute like everyone else?

I guess what I am asking myself is "Am I REALLY that much different than the rest of the world"? I pray that I am, because I want to be a witness in everything I do.........I want all my errands to be errands run on behalf of the King.


He Knows My Name said...

well said! great stream of consciousness.


Three Fold Cord said...

A challenge that all of us should take to heart! We are a representative of Him at all tiems even when no one is watching. Lord crate a clean heart in me that I may be pleasing to you my strength and my redeemer!!

Earen said...

What a great posting Bethanne. I feel like I am constantly thinking about this very topic in so many areas of my life. How am I different from this world? People are always watching us...always.

Abby said...

you are so great! loved this post...i actually heard a sermon on a similar thing over a month ago at the last retreat i worked at...i may have to write about it later cause it was a good word like this..very much on the "perception is reality" playing field.

thanks for your wisdom..

Fran said...

EXCELLENTE' my friend!!! I can totally relate to this word from you today. I work in my church and there are times, scenarios, situations, settings, that you really have to make sure you are not bending away from who you really are!!! I can sometimes easily stray and go back to the "old self" and that would not be pretty. This is a lesson for us all....regardless of where we work or what we are doing. We should be true through and through and ya just never know who is watching!! But, really, only one sweet Savior should be who we are after to please!

Thanks for the word!

Anonymous said...

Ouch Bethanne---
Provacative and much needed post today. we all should be ever mindful, eh? Thank you for the reminder. :)

Renee said...

I agree with Janel. GREAT stream of consciousness.

Convicting and thought provoking.


GINA said...

What a perfect situation for God to teach you about how you reflect on Him. I am big on reflections, as I am a photographer, I look for them in everything... thanks for bringing this reality to life for me. I REFLECT MY GOD! Wow.

Thanks for the encouragement. Always needed and very appreciated.

In Joy,