Anna is this beautiful blonde headed little girl at our church. Not sure how old she is but she is young–very young. I saw her the other day en route to one of our older ladies. She had, in tow, a little girl who seemed to be a friend. Though she looked to be older than Anna, she didn’t seem quite so sure about their destination. My sense is that Anna was a little more comfortable around adults than her friend was.
Yesterday morning, before our assembly began, I was standing in the middle isle talking with a few people. I could hear this voice calling my name. She was walking down the isle toward me. When she got to where I was standing she looked up and held both arms high. I picked her up for a few minutes until her mom came.
I find it amazing that children like Anna can be so self-forgetful. They don’t seem to have all of this self-consciousness that we adults have. Children like Anna don’t appear to walk around wondering what people think of them. They don’t seem to worry about what people might say or what they might do. In their innocence, they simply love people. We want to step in and say, "Oh I used to be like that but I’ve learned that there are people who will hurt you." And of course, that is true. Yet, the spirit of Anna reminds me of what we might loose if we keep to ourselves and live in fear.
As we approach the new year, I want to be a little more like "Anna."
I want to focus more on loving other people and less on what they think of me. How easy it is to get preoccupied with what others think of you. (The truth is that they will think what they are going to think but why allow their negativity determine your behavior?)
I want to risk more with people. Far too often it will come to me what I ought to say or do and yet I will hesitate or hold back. (I believe that these inclinations more often than not are nudgings from God).
I want to remember that it can be very encouraging to people for someone to speak and use their name.
This morning I was in Starbucks and I saw a woman (maybe late 70’s) waiting on her drink. She was by herself and was in conversation with a person working behind the counter. I heard her tell the employee that her husband had died not long ago.
A few minutes later, she was standing next to me at the cream and sugar counter. I was "doctoring" my coffee and said "hello" to her. While standing there, we talked about the weather or something like that. She finally turned to leave and was almost to the door when she suddenly turned around and came back to where I was standing. She looked at me and said, "Have a nice day." I replied, "You have a nice day as well."
It struck me that this woman was probably very lonely. For a few minutes, human contact at the coffee place was refreshing to her. Are there people around you who just need a little attention? Am I so self conscious that I miss those opportunities that the Lord provides? Or, do I step out and risk a little bit?