By April of last year, I was scratching head wondering if I had missed something. Each year I pray and select a word to create focus and intentionality in my life.
My word for 2020 was relationship. When I selected that word, I did not anticipate a pandemic that would prevent almost all physical interaction with others. Thankfully, the pandemic did not catch God by surprise, and my focus on relationship provided some great results.
As stated in last week’s blog, my word for 2021 is expectancy. Last week I discussed expectancy in my relationship with God. Once that connection is firmly established, it enables me to fully embrace my interactions with others.
As stated in Genesis 1:27, all people are created in the image of God. “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Every person is unique and has a specific purpose and calling. As I interact with others, my desire is to expectantly seek out that unique personality God has placed within them. This requires looking past the exterior or the part of a person’s personality or attitude that may rub me the wrong way. Instead I can view those interactions as a treasure hunt, mining for the beauty God has created.
However, I am challenged to go beyond finding the uniqueness and beauty in others. The expectancy arises when I ask why God has brought this person across my path. How can I be a blessing to this person? What does God want me to do to make this person’s life better?
The answers will range wildly. Sometimes it is just a smile or encouraging comment. Maybe it is allowing them to go ahead of me in line (this will be hardest for me to do in traffic!). The pendulum swings to the other side of the spectrum to include significant amounts of my time, energy, or resources by taking an active role in their lives. It is critical that I lean on God’s direction in this pursuit. Emotional responses to situations can get me in trouble.
A lifestyle of expectancy will require sensitivity to the Holy Spirit as we interact with others. We don’t know what others may be facing, but God does. When we are sensitive to God’s leading, He will direct us in how we respond and care for others. Approaching each interaction with others through God’s lens, we can demonstrate His unconditional love to those we meet. In responding to others in this way, they will see Christ in us. This opens the door for opportunities to share the Gospel with a those who are hurting.
Would you join me in looking at your relationships differently in 2021? Will you look for more opportunities to bless and serve others, following the leading of the Holy Spirit as you interact with those around you? The world will be a better place if we all joined in this pursuit to be hand and feet of Jesus to those around us.