As Water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart – Proverbs 27:19
In a previous blog I spoke of being liberated from the weighty bond that comes with caring how others perceive you, and without contradicting myself I now want to speak on the flip-side of that argument.
You see, I’ve recently noticed that many people of the bible have only been named by their characteristics or circumstance, other than this there is no mention of their actual name. for instance, we have the lame man who sat at the gates called beautiful, the women who bled for 12 years, the Shumanite women whose faith saw her son being brought back to life and the rich man who refused to let Lazarus eat the crumbs that fell from his table. And there are many more, these are just a few!
Having noticed this, I began to wonder what my name would be if I had been included in the Bible… And the sad reality is, if I were to go by my self-talk over the past few days, it wouldn’t be very flattering!
This realisation really got me thinking because this practice is actually more common than I thought. Many people still do this today, people are still being described by their story or by their character rather than their name, and this just affirms how important it is to live your life in a manner that glorifies God!
Don’t get me wrong, we should, without question, be more concerned with how God sees us than how man sees us – but seeing as we are representatives of Christ, our fruit should be conducive to that.
Now I’m not referring to impression management, well actually I am, but not if the impression your portraying is not an accurate reflection of who you actually are. People may only see the surface, but God sees the heart.
So the real question is, how can I ensure I am remembered in a way that glorifies God? Now I am no relationship expert and I am certainly not a role model for such, but I thought I would share a few tips that has helped me in this area.
- Address your private thoughts
Are your private thoughts negative? Whether toward yourself, others or life in general – negative thoughts are like poison! Furthermore, negative thoughts serve as a good reflection of what is going on inside your heart. Jeremy Pierre supports this notion stating:
“We tend to create divisions between the spiritual and ‘regular’ sides of life. But our problems are not just emotional or spiritual, social or spiritual, intellectual or spiritual. The countless little thoughts, feelings, and choices that make up our experience are the spiritual activity of the heart,” – Jeremy Pierre, 2016
This ideal is in agreement with scripture and on this matter the Bible tells us:
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Luke 6:45
You see, although nobody can ever have full insight into the entirety of your private thoughts, there will always be spillages in the shape of facial expression, body language and persona – and these all contribute to their perception of you. If this is something you struggle with then my prescription is found in Philippians.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” – Philippians 4:8-9
You may not be able to control each thought you have, but you can control the ones you meditate on. So, rather than concentrating on all the things you hate about yourself, your life or that person that grates away at you, begin to look for the good and only allow yourself to reflect on that.
- Pray over your relationships and encounters with people daily
You can’t choose every person who enters your life, but you can ensure that every person feels respected, even when you don’t particularly like them. The bible says:
“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” – Ephesians 4:3
Prayer helps me achieve this. So pray, pray and pray some more – preferably at the start of your day and before you attend social gatherings. This habit for me has been key in forming and maintaining good relations, especially at work! One of the first things I do daily as I get to work is run to the lady’s room to pray over my day, and I have seen major breakthroughs in my work relations because of this practice. I also do this when I feel agitated with someone, I find it serves as a good reminder that I too fall short of God’s glory, yet He still gives it to me unsparingly and in the same way I too should show others the same grace!
- Renew your mind daily
This is the biggest key and most important in my opinion. A friend once said to me that when you know better you do better and I have found the best place to find instruction for better living is in God’s word – The Holy Bible. Reading the word daily not only ensures that you know God’s thoughts on worldly matters, but it also helps to reinforce it in moments of need.
Furthermore, I have found at times my self-talk can be quite ugly. I think things about myself that had it been another person speaking to me, I probably wouldn’t want to speak to them again. I find this happens when I have not been reading my Bible and the only way to check these thoughts is to remind myself of what God’s thoughts about me are. And His opinion supersedes any other.
For me, reading God’s word daily is not about being able to quote scripture, it’s about growing in understanding – the understanding of myself, the understanding of others and most importantly the understanding of God’s will for my life. The way in which I achieve this is by taking captive every thought and making it obedient to Christ and this comes from renewing my mind with God’s word daily.
And that’s it really.. three simple steps.
You see, your interactions with others and the state of your relationships have a lot to do with what is going on inside. You don’t seem to realise that you left the job, the relationship and the people but the problems came with you to the next organisation, the next relationship and the new friendship circle because you being the ‘common denominator’ are the problem. Although that might be a hard pill to swallow, it is a good one because you are the only person you have the power to change.
So, with that being said, I will leave you with a quote by my favourite author:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
God bless xx
Supporting scriptures: Act 3:2-10, Matthew 9:20-22, 2 Kings 4:8-37, Luke 16:19-31, 1 Samuel 16:7, Romans 3:23, John 17:22, 2 Corinthians 10:5