Thursday, February 5, 2015
Guest Blogger: JoEllen writes about slowing down
Meet JoEllen Claypool, the author of The Secrets Behind the Eyes, A Realist’s Guide to Being a Pastor’s Wife, Realistic Tips to Being a Pastor’s Wife, Are You on the Verge of a Spiritual Heart Attack and a contributing author of the Eclectic Collage Volumes 2, 3 and 4. She serves in the ministry with her husband who pastors a small country church in Caldwell, Idaho. Understanding the impact that one person can make, JoEllen is eager to reach out and encourage others to make right choices so that lives can be saved.
Slow Down! You Move Too Fast!
In the busy lives that we create for ourselves, two major things can happen. First, we don’t allow others to see us and second, we do not slow down long enough to really SEE other people. To make things even more difficult, many people have become accustomed to wearing masks that prevent others from seeing who they truly are.
Why are we so afraid to reveal ourselves and what stops us from confronting the person that is wearing the mask? Either one is scary. We risk losing friends when we let people see the real us. We risk judgment. Confronting the mask wearer is just as uncomfortable. We risk making them feel we are judging them. We risk losing that friend. Is it really fear, though, or are we just too busy to take the time for each other?
Masks can put us in bondage. I think of the old plastic Halloween masks. They would stifle our voices. Our words would be distorted. Masks can muffle what we are trying to say. The more that people don’t hear us, the more we withdraw into our world. Remember what it felt like, though to take those plastic Halloween masks off? Whew! It would feel so good to be free from that moist, stuffy covering!
I am guilty of wearing masks, but I have to say it really is refreshing when somebody truly sees me. One time that impacted me was right after our house fire. We were trying to move forward and get back into a routine. A friend of mine stopped by to see me. She walked in and smiled and said "How are you doing today?"
I was so thankful that I had remembered my mask. It was a magical mask with the button so I immediately pushed the button and heard the joyful voice say, “I’m blessed! Things are great! And how are you?”
My friend lost her smile, pulled up a chair and took me off guard by saying, “Great … now how are you really doing?” Panic! I know I remembered my mask! Is the button broken? Didn’t she hear what it said? I’ve never been one to think quick on my feet. I immediately covered my face and the tears flowed as I whispered, “This sucks!” It’s okay to admit that sometimes life is hard. I had been trying to convince everybody else and myself that I was okay and I was strong. To quote the Scooby Doo villains, “I would have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for that meddling“ friend. Oh, my … thank goodness for meddling friends. It took a huge load off to have somebody have the courage to confront me and the mask I wore. I was able to be transparent with her. My friend had slowed down long enough to look me in the eyes and see past my mask. She took a risk and confronted me.
When we slow down, not only do we see our own surroundings with fresh eyes but we see those around us in a new light. Everyone has a story. Everybody is dealing with something. So, instead of hurriedly patting someone on the shoulder as we pass by them, muttering a quick but kind word, we can take the time to look into their eyes and have a better chance of perceiving what words they truly need to hear that day. We need to start SEEING other people. Think of the impact that could be made if we would just slow down!
Watch JoEllen's video, Real Faces of a Pastor's Wife.
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