Nov 20, 2008

New Friends

Meeting new friends is weird.  There's always this awkward getting-to-know-you stage that's hard for me.  I mean, it wouldn't seem that way on the outside, but internally it's strange.  There comes a point in the conversation where both parties seem to be asking, "is this the last time I'll talk to this person" or "does it even matter what is said" or "will this conversation go to a deeper, personal level" or "is this just chit-chat?"  

Recently, my wife and I met some new friends (providentially, I believe) that we're getting to know.  Today I was introduced to their circle of friends (at least those nearby).  And all of a sudden, this selfishness came over me.  While I was talking with these guys, I kept worrying and thinking to myself, "I wonder if I'm making any sense?  I wonder if I sound like an idiot?  I wonder if they think I'm funny?"

Those thoughts were really strange for me, because I have lots of friends and I'm thankful for who God has brought into my life - even these new friends.  So why should I care what I sound like, or how I'm sitting, or how I'm responding, or how smart I come across, or what I'm doing with my hands?"  I was afraid of not being cool enough, loved, and accepted.  It was nothing they did to cause this, it was all within my flesh, wanting to feed my selfishness.

Driving home after that meeting, I prayed asking God to forgive me of the idols I had set up in my heart - worry, acceptance, applause, recognition - these were the idols I was caught up in during that conversation with my new friends.  

The truth is, my identity isn't found in what others say or think of me.  I'm already loved by Christ, and what He says and thinks counts the most.  God's view of who I am in Christ should be enough for me, but "the desires of my flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against my keep me from doing what I want to do" (Galatians 5:17).  

I thank God for his love and mercy, for I deserve His wrath.  Because of Christ, God now views me with pleasure instead of distaste, even in spite of how I sit, how I respond, or how smart (or dumb) I am.  God loves me because He loves His Son.   I must cling to the cross and be thankful for His grace, just as I am thankful for these new friends He's put in my path.  It is for my joy and His glory.

I have a feeling these guys will be used in greater ways in my life in the months ahead - ways that the Spirit will use to cut away in me whatever is not of Him.

1 comment:

Stephanie Rhyne said...

Did you know every 7 minutes in a conversation there is an awkward moment? Just made me think of it when i read your ya!