Monday, February 11, 2013

the way you act matters.....SHOOT!!!!! but i'm the WORRSSTTT!

The way you act matters. 

The way you act matters. 

This needs to be drilled into my head until it becomes second nature, until I really understand it. About 95% of my life is spent in the after moments of something where I think to myself, "Nina, why did you do that? Why did you say that? Why are you a freaking EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER OF A WOMAN?"

The way I act matters. am I acting?

I am not a big New Years' Resolution kind of gal. But something that has been floating around in my mind is to be less sassy. I admit it. I am a sassy lady. And not in the like, red-dress, cute, sexy sassy way girls on TV are sassy. More like the biting, cocky, can't for the life of me hide my true feelings, kind of sassy. It often leads to my inner Catholic guilt tearing me apart for most of the night until I text a friend later with something like, "Hey sorry I said that sentence like that hope you're not mad, I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and then they respond like, "Um...what?"

But a few weeks ago as I sat in church here in Hollywood, my pastor said something that really resonated within me. He said, "The way you act matters." And I don't think he meant like, if you did "good deeds" or if you "act a certain way" you are a better person or God will love you more. Actually I know that's not what he meant. He meant in the way we act, what we say, how we treat people, where we invest our time - those things matter.

And it's hard because if I were to look at how I act, I don't think I'd be very proud. Actually, I'm not proud. VULNERABILITY ON THE INTERNET. But it's true. Especially at work. I'm impatient, I'm cocky, I'm loud, I'm not sweet. I am convicted.

Yet a few weeks ago at work I gave a tour to an incredibly sweet man who was on this 30th anniversary trip with his wife here in Los Angeles. I spent two hours with them, and then when they were about to leave we started talking. I casually mentioned how I met a girl randomly at my non-denominational Christian church who became one of my best friends and helped me get this job. (Giselle I love you you sweet dumpling!) He paused.

"Church?" he asked.

Oh no. There it was. The pit in my stomach. DANG IT! I thought. With that single, loaded question my brain suddenly went a thousand miles per minute. He thinks I'm a bigot. He thinks I'm judgemental, he thinks I'm a freak, he thinks I'm stupid he thinks I'm raci--

"........Yup," I said, deciding WHATEVER, I am who I am, I love God! I love Jesus! Why should I hide that, why should THIS man come at me and be all like--

"I left the radio and television industry to become a Pastor," he said.

Then I paused. I didn't say anything.

"You know," he continued, as I just stood there feeling like an idiot. "I thought maybe, you know, with you, because of a couple of things you said and the way you acted that, I don't were a Christian."
At first I didn't really know what to say and then we started talking about God and what it means to follow God's plan for your life and how that can look different and it was the most amazing five minute conversation. Then they left, I wished them happy anniversary again, and that was that.

But there was something there. When he told me he thought I was a Christian based off of how I was acting, I immediately thought SHOOOT! What did I say? How did I act? Was I sarcastic? Was I a jerk? Did I gossip? DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT.

It was a wake up call because so often I do not act the way Christ lived His life. And isn't that the root of it all, the root of being a Christian? To live your life as close to the way Christ lived His? And WHY has Christianity and "acting" like a Christian taken on such a negative connotation over the years? Where, along the path, did Christians become these loud, obnoxious, hateful people who despise anyone who is different from them and lash out with nothing even close to love?

And why was I so afraid when he said he thought I was one of them?

Because yes. I am a Christian. But no that doesn't make me any of those things. And I don't ever want to live in a way that would be so far from the way Christ lived. Because while He walked this earth, Christ loved and loved  so deeply -- He loved more than I ever could. And that's what I want to strive to be. Someone who loves and shares this good news of a Savior who loves, literally, EVERYONE, not just the people who fit this cookie-cutter mold of what PEOPLE think is right. Jesus loves EVERYONE and that's freaking mind-blowing. 

So I want to slow down in my day. When I go to lean on my car horn when someone is driving too slow, when my tongue is about to lash out a biting comment on how someone looks only to make myself feel better, when I feel that green jealousy burning up my throat - I want to slow down and stop and think, "The way I act matters. It matters. And I want my life to be a reflection of Christ. SO CALM THE EFF DOWN NINA!!!"

We don't think we matter and in kind of a real sense, maybe we don't. But our lives impact other's -- the barista giving us our coffee, the neighbor pulling into the garage next to us, the coworker we actually can't stand -- at the risk of sounding very Lion King, we are all impacting each other. (Like we're the antelope then we become the grass then we eat the grass blah blah WASN'T SIMBA CUTE WHEN HE WAS IN THAT TEENAGER STAGE?)

But do you know what I mean? Because that's my prayer right now. To love the way Christ loved and still does love. Because it matters.

1 comment:

  1. Long time no chat miss :) nice post. I've had these thoughts. Over the years I've begun to answer your original question of "why do I act this way" and it's led me to "because some part of you is protecting some other part of you that is broken." I stopped shaming myself after that and just invited God to heal those parts by infusing himself (pure unadulterated Love into them). The next time something hits what would've been a hot button in my brain, Jesus is dwelling in that spot and I'm compelled to act in a way totally contrary to what seems "normal." Because Christ is living there and his radiance is uninhibited by what was formerly my pain/fear/shame/pride etc. He's living THROUGH me. For me, that has been quite a different experience than trying to conform my actions (or my emotions for that matter) to what a "good Christian" does. There's really absolutely no such thing. Hence, "salvation" for me has been an invitation to stop striving and begin the healing process and it is my opinion that that is exactly what Jesus was talking about. Just a therapist's two cents.

    Thanks for your witty and inspired writing. :)