Friday, August 30, 2019

While they watch me

The first time I noticed someone was watching me, I was a student worker at my college's cafeteria. I worked the early shift (5 a.m.) on weekdays  and I worked all day on weekends.

After a while, some of the elders in our college community were complimenting my work ethic. I was grateful yet surprised. I didn't realize people were watching me.

People are always watching us. Is it good? Is it bad? I want to propose that it depends on you. We are all working towards something. It is natural for people to watch such work as well as the results we are getting.

People watch our imperfections too. A few years later at College, I had a conversation about someone I didn't care about. The person I was talking to asked me why I was speaking in such way. I was a Christian (she wasn't) after all and we are supposed to forgive people. I honestly didn't have an answer for that. She was right. A person from a different religion called me out on my behavior. I could have given her so many excuses. I decided to be quiet because people are always watching. They watch for imperfections as well as for so called perfect moments.

My husband has worked in church leadership for over a decade. People often watch leaders and their families. As the daughter of a pastor, I was taught to live for God, no matter where I was. I was told that I represent God, as well as my family.

I kept that mindset throughout the years. When I became a pastor's wife, I learned about the fishbowl thing. Some women say it feels that they are inside a fishbowl and everyone is watching their every move.

After a few sessions of counseling, I decided I didn't want to be inside of the fish bowl. I decided I wasn't paid to be in church leadership so I was going to act like a normal person. So far, it has worked for me.

I know people are always watching. It may be curiosity. It may be because they don't know us well.  Oh, and don't let social media fool you, we do not post everything that happens to us there. We are very selective of what we advertise.

The important thing is to know that I represent God and my family. When I think this way, I find that I am free to be myself.

Recently, I became one of the head coaches for my local running group. I've been part of the group for 6 seasons. Before this year, I was able to mix, mingle and if I wanted to, I could be unnoticed. Leadership has a way of elevating visibility. Now that I am a leader, I am more noticeable.

I noticed that a person from a different pace group was watching my shirt closely. She made a comment that led me to realize she had been watching me for weeks. She asked about my running wardrobe. I answered graciously, giving her access to information about me she didn't have before.

The observer's comment didn't bother me. It was more interesting to learn about the types of things others pay attention to.

Paying attention to wardrobe and timeliness habits is easy. I am more concerned about the things you can't see such as my character.

Do I look at others as inferior beings? How do I treat people that can't do anything for me? How to I respond to unpleasant inquiries? How do I handle gossip? My personal favorite: how do I treat people who are no longer needed for my personal goals?

People are watching our reactions to all of these things as well.

The most important eyeballs watching me are the ones belonging to the people who live in my house. They watch my every move and my every mood.

I pray daily that God will give me wisdom to live a Christian life that will impact my family in a positive way.

People will always watch us because that's what they do. Is it good? Is it bad? The relevant issue is: what is our behavior advertising? I encourage you to take a deeper look and find out the motive of your heart.

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