Being a New Yorker can at times feel like a task. We’re known for being sharp, a bit defensive and often not the friendliest of people. A simple “Good Morning” can be hard to say when you’re too worried about how people are going to respond. Even further, what those around you are going to do. Being suspicious of others in New York is not a foreign thing and unfortunately, paranoia can often set in in places it should never be. Sometimes, we don’t put ourselves out there when we should, so we end up shying away from opportunities that could help us to form new relationships.
Being brave to venture into new arenas takes both courage and practice. Making the necessary advances towards building relationships requires us to interact with others. We must speak and introduce small gestures such as a smile, handshake, shoulder touch or a hug to help break the ice. A conversation must be started and all too often the most difficult step- is to start one.
To be honest, it’s helpful when you’re surrounded by friendly people because it never requires us to have to put ourselves out there. Extroverts take the first step and put in most of the work. They take all the risk of being shut down or accepted. While they thrive off of being around others, introverts thrive off of being alone.
Certain encounters can be rather uncomfortable depending upon the person. Face it, it’s not always easy to be outgoing and to reach out with a warm and hearty welcome when you don’t know someone. Meeting people for the first time can be rather intimidating and if we make a bad impression on them, it might influence how they receive us in the future.
Really, you never know how people perceive you unless they tell you (which is why I sometimes avoid situations like this lol!)
However, whenever I encounter new people I often remind myself that:
1). Not everyone will like you, but some will.
2). Not everyone is meant to be in your life, but those who are supposed to- God will place and keep them there.
3). Not everyone who smiles does it with a genuine heart but don’t worry- God will always reveal peoples intentions.
These three things have helped me to de-stress and remove unrealistic expectations from others. To accept people for who they are in the moment, but also realize that who they presently are, isn’t who they will always be.
As Christian’s, we love to enter into God’s presence. We love to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. We love to live the lives He’s called us to live with all the hills and valleys. We are a community, of believers, who are experiencing this life together at this particular time in history. Belonging, because out of everywhere we could be, we find ourselves in the presence of those who love God just as much as we do. Wow!
But all too often we isolate and don’t want to extend ourselves past what’s comfortable.
So how do extroverts and introverts coexist? Simple answer, we can meet in the middle and become both.
Making an effort to go beyond ourselves is a sacrifice. Taking the time to notice when someone is alone, too quiet, withdrawn and choosing to minister to them by opening our mouths, extending our hand and pouring out the love of God that’s within our hearts, is a necessity.
People are desperate for real connections and I believe that there is a greater love we have yet to achieve and express.
Psalms 145:8-9 KJV states “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”
Romans 12:16 NIV states “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”
1 Corinthians 12:13 NIV states “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
I truly thank God for the outgoing individuals who reached out to me first throughout the years- whose smiles brought me out of my darkness. Whose hugs reminded me I was loved, whose glances reminded me I wasn’t invisible, and whose joy reminded me that I could have and possess that same joy too! Your actions silently taught me more than you would ever know.
In order to grow up, grow out and to be free to extend ourselves to others, we must understand that some will receive your gestures with open arms and some will not. But either way, remain consistent in your approach because you’re going to eventually pour out onto the right person who needs what you have and will accept and appreciate your efforts. I know I did and because of you, I desire to do the same for others. (A sense of community is introduced this way and the plans of God can flourish in this environment.)
We must do something different to get the result that we want. So, put love into practice, making deposits into people’s lives, instead of only making withdrawals because sooner or later, you’ll end up in the negative. If your heart is positioned correctly before God, then your heart will be correctly positioned before people.
We, the body of Christ, must choose what kind of community we want to be, hopefully, one that encourages and has a loving disposition, which includes, extends, receives, grows, tends to, builds and multiples God’s goodness.
But in order to live in this new place, we must first make contact…. so this means…
*Begin to become the initiator and not always the receiver.
*Choose to see God in every interaction.
(See His smile. Hear His Voice. Feel His Presence as His Unfailing Love is shown towards us.)
*Become more personable
While in prayer about this topic I heard the Holy Spirit say:
“A new form of expression is going to hit us, which will open up doors that have been closed to you. To withdraw is to deny the activation that God is setting loose upon you- Transition and Transformation. Your greeting will activate you. Set aside worry and doubt. Take no regard for the comfortability of this new place, because this new place will become your new norm. This is not a fad but a continual state of mind that will launch you full-fledged into your calling and destiny. This is not apart from God, it will not take His place, but this operation and a new direction is the expanse of what was always supposed to be- His purpose, his design and his desire for his people. Isolation must go. Be, ye reformed. Start a new, walk this new path with me and you will see my glory set upon the earth.”
A lot of people don’t know they’re loved. They don’t know what you think of them. They don’t see their value. They only see barricades that block their joy. But we can re-establish what the devil has tried so desperately to destroy, which is our “Unity” and our “Sense of Community”.
DEFINITION OF COMMUNITY-
“A community is a group of living things sharing the same environment. They usually have shared interests. In human communities, people have some of the same beliefs and needs, and this affects the identity of the group and the people in it.
Community is tangible; community is cohesive; community brings people together in ways that allow them to do things they couldn’t have done in isolation.”
God has a vision for how we should interact with one another but we must bring this vision to life.
You see, I’ve reached out before and was met with moments where I was ignored. I would say “Hi” to a person and they wouldn’t say hi back. I would go out of my comfort zone, walk across the room to start a conversation and then have people look at me as though they never knew me. I’ve been left out of conversations and then only greeted when certain people were around. So after experiencing such moments, I stopped trying to get to know others because the result of doing so usually ended in my pain. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t worthy of their time, so in return, few were worthy of mine.
Yet, the way I reacted to this was wrong because I took my frustrations out on people who weren’t even the ones who hurt me. I didn’t have to allow those experiences to change who I was or my heart towards others but I did. Thank God that He is still doing a work in me and placing what is right in my heart, which is to continue to love others even when it may not be returned how I’d like. To wish the best for people even when they don’t wish the best for me and to view them in high regard, because they are my brothers and sisters in Christ.
You see I was taught to love genuinely and openly (my parents taught me that.) There’s never a day that goes by that if I talk to my friends and family that I don’t say “Love You, Bye” ….those of you who know me, know I say that a lot lol!! But some people aren’t used to that. Some are used to walking past others without stopping. Some are used to sitting in silence and not having to socialize. Some according to their position might have to protect themselves, and keep a respectable distance because of the fear that people will get too familiar. Even further, some just don’t like people. But in all cases, the Bible still instructs us to love others as we love ourselves and we are still learning how to do that, and that’s ok but as God continues to heal and restore what was broken or never developed within us, we have to remember to keep up with His pace. When He shifts things, we must adjust. So even if something is so ingrained in you, it must be made available to be uprooted by God.
(You have the ability to walk because God already healed you of your lameness. Just as you already have the ability to love. He has already done the work in you in private but now you just have to walk it out… but that’s a choice only you can make.)
The Holy Spirit once said to me that “your private victories will soon be made public”
Well, this is a great way to begin that journey.
God is amazing and He has done much more for us than we’ve admitted to out loud. Now, is the time to release His goodness upon the earth, and express it towards others, but first, let’s start with a simple “Hello”. After that, let’s see where He takes us!
I hope this new blog post has blessed you and that you were able to get some nuggets from it. Thank you for taking the time to read it through.
God Bless You! I’m praying for you, and keep your head up and your eyes off the ground because there’s too much greatness inside of you for you to do otherwise!
We’re in this together 💛❤️
1 Peter 3:8-9 NLT
“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing.”