Waaay back in The Old Days over at Tom's other job, occasionally they'd invite us all out to restaurants for lovely dinners.
Man, I used to dread those. Even though I knew dreading anything is wrong because dread is a form of fear and fear brings torment (yada, yada, yada). And then the wild thing is that--always--I ended-up enjoying those dinners, having had fun playing wealthy patron while listening to Tom's co-workers and their wives laugh and joke around--politely--I may add. Everyone seemed on their best behavior during those things.
And I'd even catch my new self stepping outside of my old self, so to speak, and relaxing, letting the peace of God within me take over so that I could converse with people and make them feel comfortable. And oh, how God loves it when we come out from behind our self-built walls--and instead--just be who He created us to be, with His spirit shining through like crystal, not blackened by walls.
Come out, come out wherever you are...
So anyway, I'd kick myself the whole drive home at having wasted whole days dreading what ended up being a delightful time.
Well, I mentioned to you on Sunday that we had a fancy-schmancy dinner coming up on Tuesday evening, a dinner with our financial guy (who's an extremely pleasant young man with a lovely wife and three beautiful children--the latter of whom I've seen only by way of the family Christmas card) and another businessman connected to the financial world, plus, four other clients (who ended up being just two, since the others, regrettably, couldn't make it).
Well. All day Sunday and Monday I caught myself dreading that dinner just like the ones from The Old Days, dreading it way more than a dentist visit, even. Good grief. I kept lecturing myself to knock-off the dread and I reminded myself repeatedly of how each fancy dinner from previous times ended up being a Good Thing. And I even would repeat the name of Jesus when that dread would rise up because, for me, that name fixes lots of things going wrong inside my head. Just sayin'.
Then around Monday night it's like I had a breakthrough! I realized that satan's plan is to make me so dread these dinners, to walk into them so uptight, so wanting them to be over before they've even begun--that all that junk would hide the Light within me. And I'd be too nervous to make anyone feel comfortable. And I wouldn't be anywhere near the gracious woman God longs for me to be around others so to represent Him in a kind, loving manner.
Wow. So Tuesday was a better day, way less dread-stuffed, (though there were a few "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus's" whispered).
And the dinner? The dinner was a delight. Delicious (I had the petite filet mignon... oh my goodness)--and--God helped me speak to others comfortably and to care that the businessman had a hearing problem much like mine, so I spoke louder to him. I saw every person at that table as being deeply loved by God and, within my heart, I prayed that each one would come to know my Greatest Friend--the One who knows me best, but loves me anyway, constantly, and cheers from my corner when I tear down self-imposed walls and run outside of them so to love others as He does.
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." ... Galataions 2:20
"Love one another..." ... John 13:34