On Being an Open Book
Have you ever had the experience of sharing something about yourself with someone who knew every thing you were going to say before you said it? Have you ever been approached by someone who you barely knew who told you a detail of your life that they couldn't have known unless they heard it from someone else? Do you ever get the sense that others are paying attention to your life far more than they should? I'm just being real. This is a big pet peeve of mine, but it shouldn't be, because I am guilty of this too. In the age of social media, where everything is posted for everyone to see, it's easy to keep up with what people are doing, even those whom you haven't actually spoken to in years! Even without social media, there are always going to be those people that know the scoop and dish it to anyone within earshot. And as much as we say we don't gossip in the church, we all do it from time to time without even realizing it. Why? Because we love a good story. My whole life I have always lived before an audience. No matter how hard I may try to conceal my business, eventually everyone finds out about it. I'm sure many of you can relate.
It's annoying for sure but I am starting to come at this issue from a different angle. In 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 (MSG), Paul writes, "Your lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ Himself wrote it- not with ink, but with God's living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives-and we publish it." Your lives are a letter that anyone can read....I am convicted by that.
Instead of spending my time worrying about who is talking about me and what they are saying, it is time for me to realize that my life is meant to be an open book! It is true that I live for an audience of One. I live for Jesus and not for people. My goal is to fix my gaze on Him and to follow where He leads. But it is also true that there will always be people watching my life. People will monitor my decisions. People will hear about things I say and I do. I am realizing that this gives me another avenue to glorify God that I didn't realize I had. If I make sure that my decisions and my way of relating to people is God honoring than the bystanders and the onlookers are going to see Jesus lifted up in my life. When my life is discussed in my absence, it could be my testimony that they are sharing. The story of God's goodness in my life can be shared with more people than I could have shared it with myself.
There needs to be a balance of living free from the concern of what people think of me, but also recognizing that anything I do or say may be repeated to someone else. I have to think to myself...are those things worth repeating? As we are encouraged in Matthew 5:16, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven." My desire is to pour out my life in such a way that all who know me will know the goodnes, love and mercy of God.
People, it's time to let our lights shine!