Last night I was sharing with my boys, some of the experiences I've been having with people lately. I told them about how I've been trying to look past my first-impressions and potential judgement, choosing to focus on the beauty that I see in people . . . new people I meet, as well as people that I've had a struggle with in the past.
There is one person in particular, who has been mutually
"ugly" (for lack of a better term, and honestly, that is how I viewed her) to our entire family. Although we rarely, if ever, see this person, she is someone that, whether intentionally or not, caused much grief and sorrow for us when we first moved into the community that we currently live in. I recently met someone who reminds me of this "ugly" person, but I'm finding the new person to be quite beautiful.
This made me begin to question whether or not I could actually see any beauty in the "ugly" person, and yes, I can. There is something attractive about her personality, and while I fought against seeing it in the past, I now see it. I haven't actually encountered her for at least two years. However, up until this week, I would've probably winced upon hearing her name in conversation, or if I saw her somewhere out in the world, I likely would have left the scene so that I didn't have to acknowledge her. I know this all sounds awful, but I think most people have someone in their lives that rub them the wrong way, so maybe you can relate, even just a little bit. In the past, while I was watching everyone else around me answering to her beck-and-call, almost worshipping the ground she and her family walked on, it didn't sit well with me. I couldn't stand it, actually. This week I've realized that I have been envious of her place in the community. I have fought hard to even been noticed here, and it has been difficult to witness someone else make it look so easy to fit in and be liked. She didn't welcome me into her fold when we first arrived here, and I think that quickly burned out my self-confidence as I attempted to build friendships with other women in the community. Not to mention, she made it known to others that she didn't really care for me or my boys, and I always felt like her opinion of us affected our chances of actually fitting in with anyone else.
I don't know if and when I'll see her again, but I really feel like I've come to a place where I can accept the good . . . the beauty . . . in this person. While she and I may never become best friends, I can at least say with good conscience that I have resolved my feelings of dislike in my heart towards her, and I will face her confidently the next time I see her.
Sharing this story with my boys brought out some really good dialogue regarding people that they have struggled to see the "beauty" in as well. Mitchell shared about how their youth intern pastor recently had a talk with them about "Champion-ing" people. I thought that was a good way to put it, especially for a male teenager to understand. Mitchell views this "champion-ing" the same way as I view "inner beauty". Whatever term works . . . we'll be using those terms inter-changeably in our home from now on.
"Champion-ing", by Mitchell's definition, is looking for the good in people and focussing on those qualities, rather than dwelling on their short-comings. The youth pastor encouraged the kids to "Champion" people they already know, as well as people they'll meet in the future. I like this concept and I think it fits perfectly with what I'm trying to do in my own life. I love how the Holy Spirit brought the conversation about, and how my own children are pursuing this adventure as well, in their own teenage-boy way.