It’s My Look
The food line was long. As a volunteer, I needed to break through to the front. I needed to pick up another ten boxed meals from the workers in the kitchen at Manna House. Jenna and I didn’t have enough meals loaded in her car already to hand out for our Monday afternoon delivery, but ten more would do it.
I gently nudged my way through those who were in line to receive meals for themselves.
I saw other volunteers along the line handing out vegetables, toiletries, and milk.
I was almost to the kitchen when a volunteer handing out milk looked at me. She asked, “Would you like a gallon of milk?“
It took me a second to realize why she asked.
She thought I was one of the unhoused people in the line to receive free food for my family.
I hate being misunderstood. I’ve sometimes gone out of my way just to explain myself, to clear up a misunderstanding that may or may not have been relevant to anyone but me.
But insisting on always being understood by others forces a limited scope of living.
Outward understanding—and approval—is fickle, after all.
Deserved or not, sometimes people think worse of us than we are.
Or sometimes better of us than we are.
And truth be told, if God revealed what God knows about us, down to our very thoughts, none of us would have any friends.
Nobody’s reputation would be spotless.
Releasing the need to defend my reputation isn’t easy.
Actually, what people think about us does count for something. A good reputation is a valuable thing to own.
We want to have a good reputation among our family, friends, community. We want to be trustworthy and reliable in our relationships.
But in the end, we can’t control what other people think about us. We can barely control what we think about ourselves.
If we want a clear conscious, our best approach is to live openly and honestly and lean hard into God’s grace.
Focus more on living right instead of being seen right.
Release My Stand
My mistaken identity at Manna House had happened to me before. Because I wear a t-shirt and jeans to pick up the meals for our food deliveries, I blend in. It’s often hard to distinguish the volunteers from the non-volunteers.
The first time it happened I was a little offended. I’m sure I overexplained—with way too much haughtiness—that I was a volunteer myself.
But last Monday, I just looked at the young volunteer offering me milk and said “No thank you.” No explaining this time. She had done her job well to ask. I no longer minded being confused as a non-volunteer.
If I want inner peace with who I am, I just need to do what I think is right, ask for forgiveness when I fail, and keep holding God’s hand through it all.
I don’t have a story that needs defending. It’s safe to release my stand.
It matters more who I really am than who others think I am.
This is my monthly journey with my One Word RELEASE. Do you have One Word for 2022?
- A Scripture Memory Lite Challenge for the Summer: 8-8-8
- Decide in This Season for the Next