Training for change: “The Show about Me” part III

conversation is not about you

I use the word “training” here, because if I used the word “discipline” it would be an immediate turn off. You may just click away in a huff or something. I’m tip toeing around for you this time.

Discipline has a “dirty word” feel to it now, right? We seem to associate it with pain for the sake of gain, or something too hard, or bothersome. Really, a disciple is a person in a training mode, learning, and absorbing things meant to improve him and his life.

This post is the third installment to deconstruct and renovate our lives that have taken on the “personal reality show” traits. This default setting we have to center our lives around our desires, wants, needs, and shortcomings, keep us stuck. Gone is the life-giving existence that comes from understanding that Reality is the realm of God–It’s not about us. We are invited into a richer, deeper Story that isn’t gained or lost with our successes or failures. God is the Star of the show, and it’s his Story. This is a life lived in the realm of peace/shalom. Lay your burdens down, friend.

You may have some ideas in mind of what life looks like once this changeover has been made. I’m hoping you’ll share your ideas about it. I’ll 5 ways a person lives out a greater Story, and maybe we can all learn something.

When you live the bigger Story…

1. You regularly  make and keep unlikely friends.

You don’t see people as tools for your own purposes, or to satisfy your desires and needs. No one is beneath you in the social strata, because you can well see that it’s not your story, but God’s. God’s Story includes all people, so you do too.

2. You regularly give to those who cannot repay you.

(Volunteer) Your actions stop being about personal gratification and getting ahead in some way. Giving freely punctuates this idea. You realize that generosity is life-giving in its own right, and it’s a win-win situation.

3. You shut up more, ask questions, and wait for the full answer.

Talking with people isn’t about saying something, being heard, or pitching some kind of agenda. It’s about the other person. You ask questions to know better, to understand better, and you give up the selfishness inherent in small story communication.

4. You stop self-promoting.

Making sure others see you in a certain light doesn’t balloon anymore as a thrust of your interactions. Sharing has nothing to do with making yourself look good, or impressing people. The self-centeredness is gutted from your words and actions, making life about something far bigger and better than you.

5. You listen.

In small stories we listen to get an edge. Sometimes what we call “listening” is really just pausing briefly out of some rudimentary convention, so that when we speak, we can be better heard (but only because we aren’t literally talking over someone). It boils down to merely “listening” for a chance to speak; but this is not genuine listening. When we listen, we change. The interaction makes us somehow different than we were before.

If you train with these 5 ways of interacting and seeing Reality in mind, it will give you no choice but to improve your life as you yield to a bigger Story.

Share your thoughts…


3 responses to “Training for change: “The Show about Me” part III

  1. Doug Jackson

    Lisa – great blog!

    I think #1 is my favorite. I remember how wonderfully Kingdom-of-Heaven it felt when I realized that I could be friends with people outside my incredibly narrow denominational strictures, that it was okay to like and enjoy whackos, weirdos, heretics and Methodists. “Blessed are the quirky” became my motto, though I know I am still far too closed in and usually hypocritical to my own beatitude.

    “Discipline” as a dirty word: reminds me of C. S. Lewis’ observation that if you say your school “experiments” on children, people freak (alright, Clive didn’t say “freak”), but if you say it is an “experimental” school, they’ll throw their money at you. If we talk about “discipleship,” Evangelicals positively phosphoresce, but if we talk about “discipline,” they start shouting “legalism.” Yet the two words are essentially the same thing.

    • Doug, your fantastic responses could be the biggest reason I continue “wasting my time and energy” on this blog. I really appreciate your insights here. I couldn’t agree more, and I’m glad you put it down so well.

      p.s. I’m glad you put that in the mix, but I should let you know that I’m not a Methodist. But, I plan to be the instant I reach Christian perfection.

  2. Doug Jackson

    Lisa – You’re too kind. Say, I was looking for a C. S. Lewis quote this AM and came across this one. I thought it related nicely to your first point:

    “It takes all sorts to make a world; or a church. This may be even truer of a church. If grace perfects nature it must expand all our natures into the full richness of diversity which God intended when He made them, and Heaven will display far more variety than Hell. ‘One fold’ doesn’t mean ‘one pool.'” – from Letters to Malcolm

    (PS – Just before hitting “Post Comment,” I noticed that I had left the “l” off the final word in the quote. It is true that “one fold” doesn’t mean “one poo,” but I don’t think we need an intellect the caliber of Lewis’ to tell us that.)