Monday, September 19, 2016

Who do you represent?

What's on your shirt, neck, wrist, etc today?  Do you wear a shirt for work that represents the company you work for, the church you attend, or the school you go to? Do you wear jewelry with crosses, or one of those rubber bracelets that says that you are supporting a friend with an illness? Do you even think of it when you put it on in the morning?

I am going to be honest, I didn't think much of it in the past.  I do remember in High School if we didn't represent our school in a way befitting the values we were taken to the balcony and told by Mr G. (A very intimidating but kind person) that our privileges would be taken away.  We shaped up pretty quick, as we did not want to lose our freedoms and open lunches. If you wore something that said Roseau Rams on it you had to uphold that standard, as you not only represented your school you represented the whole community.

Flash forward a few years (or decades) and my fears of losing lunch privileges has diminished, but I was thinking about how I represent.  I was thinking of how often people look at you and feel a connection and or rivalry with you for what is written on your shirt.  I just happened to have a Wisconsin Badgers sweatshirt on last Friday (not that I am really a fan, I like Red), WoW was I harassed at work (apparently there was a big game this weekend).  So many people asked if I was a Packer fan too?  I was caught of guard at first, forgetting my shirt had a Badger on it, and quickly felt like I needed to defend myself.  My first answer was "Umm no" then once I realized why they were asking, I simply said "My nephew goes there and I love and support him".  I could have also said "I don't really cheer for any one team" (but that would have devastating to the true die-hard's).  Sporting events are often on too late, too long, and my anxiety cannot take the stress.

So all weekend I was paying attention to the colors folks had on, were they all being judged as friend or foe by the color of their jersey?  Next I was thinking when I wear my work shirt if I act like a jerk people could Google Replenex and see that my core values are not being used in public.

SO now my mind is flying with "what do others see in me?"  I have concert shirts that I have purchased over the last year, and my cross I put on every morning.  I go to Christian concerts where I worship and sing with others that have my same values (or so I can pray).  I then usually buy a shirt, because along the way the lyrics of these artists have touched my heart.  "Grace Wins Every Time", "Jesus is my Hope and Stay", "If I tell you my story it will be of HIM"...These are some powerful statements! These are words of truth and strength.

I love wearing these shirts, and I love the response I get from strangers that have a chance to see what they say.  I feel a connection to those brothers and sisters, as they do to me, and in that moment we are not with strangers, they are family in Christ, we are on the same team!  BUT, it is not my brothers and sisters I should be so concerned with, it is those that are walking away from the Church.  Those strangers that don't know Jesus as their Savior...what do they see when they see me?  Do they see his light or a hypocrite.  I know when I wear these symbols of my love for Jesus I am representing his true love and that I am his child.  I need to carry my shoulders a little higher, make eye contact with strangers, add a smile and for sure be a shining HIS light in what may be a bad day for one of his children.  They may be searching for a light and I have his right there to shine! One little shirt that says "I'm A Whosoever" can open a dialog, and I know at that moment God will provide the words I need to represent His light.

There are days I am in meetings and just want to lash out,  speak down to someone, or "gasp" walk out (yes I have done that).  It is at those moments of weakness I put my hand on the cross around my neck and say a little prayer.  I am representing him and possibly in a room with a few non-believers I am shining His light.  I am becoming quite aware of his presents in every moment of my day.  He is not just there to get me through, I am here to let his light shine through.  I am his child, his worker, his representative, His beloved!

So how do you represent?

Colossians 3:12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

1 Peter 3:15-16
15) Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life, And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.  16) But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Chris

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