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Tag Archives: communication
I learned something this weekend— how to get and redirect attention.
While helping a local volunteer fire department with its car wash fundraising event, I agreed to put on a firefighter’s turnout gear to attract the attention of passersby. I prefer helping by washing cars or being behind a camera rather than drawing attention to myself, but it was for a good cause. Since the station had a sandwich board with neon green posters announcing its car wash, I thought it would be a good idea to stand across the street.
I realized that by drawing attention to the opposite side, I was drawing attention to myself instead of to the station and the car wash. Hey, I had very little experience doing that kind of thing, but now I know. I did eventually stand by the neon green signs, which was much more effective.
I hate writing this next part, but I can’t leave it out and still get the complete point across. And by the way, I am not fishing for compliments, ok? So don’t embarrass me… please? That reminds me of a quote.
“You better be very careful fishing for those compliments. You might not like what you catch.” —Steve Cobb, pastor in “The Deacon”
Ok, so years and years ago when I was 20-something, an out-of-state visitor to the church I was attending, asked me out on a date. I accepted even though he was quite a bit older than I. While strolling along a sidewalk after dinner, we talked about our faith in Jesus and future plans. He turned to me and told me that God had given me the gift of beauty. Although I feel pretty some days, I don’t think of myself as being beautiful or having a gift of beauty. Anyway, he said that God could use it to help point people to Him.
Although outer beauty can capture attention, it can also keep it for itself. Although I, like any woman, long to be considered beautiful in someone’s eyes, what I desire most is an inner beauty that reflects the love of God, because that is true beauty. He’s still working on me.
One of the things I have learned in life and the blogging world is people are drawn to images more than just words, and through the stock photography business, I have learned that people are drawn to faces more than to mere objects. Photos with people are much more profitable, because companies know that customers are drawn to faces, especially happy ones. So even though the fire station had signs posted, and even though they were neon green, having a person either holding a sign or drawing attention to the signs and event is much more effective. In the same way, although billboards, funny church signs, and religious tracts may draw some attention, what is much more effective is love… personal interaction that draws attention in His direction and not just to ourselves. After all, Jesus has so much more to offer.
Yet another post inspired by ‘coincidences’. My daughter and I watched the movie Good Will Hunting, and it contains a scene in which Sean, the counselor, expresses a realization about Will, the troubled young genius he is counseling. It parallels the quote by the late American physicist, Richard P. Feynman. Sean said:
“So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that…. And I’d ask you about war, you’d probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, “once more unto the breach dear friends.” But you’ve never been near one. You’ve never held your best friend’s head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help.”
The same could be said about God. We can know all of His names and even memorize the Bible but not truly know Him. We can study about Him, but unless we interact with Him on a more personal level and actually put some of the things He said into practice and experience Him, we can never truly know Him. It reminds me of when Jesus said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself,” as well as, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.”
Because the disciples had walked with and experienced Jesus, they knew Him. They didn’t just know about Him. And Jesus said if they knew Him, they knew the Father, too. Knowing and accepting, though, are too different things. Judas Iscariot experienced life with Jesus, but he betrayed Him and rejected Him as Messiah.
Knowing facts is not what counts. Knowing what someone or something is doing, knowing by experience and genuine understanding is what really counts.
Disclaimer: Although the movie has a good plot and was well done, because of the movie’s vulgarity, I would not recommend it.
If you liked this, you might also like: Knowing Vs Knowing
Have you ever met someone who gets defensive and even angry when given any amount of criticism or suggestion, even if they asked for an opinion? Although unsolicited advice or negative criticisms are not always welcome, we do well to at least consider any feedback or counsel, especially if we ask for help.
“Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be broken beyond repair.” —Proverbs 29:1 NLT
“If you refuse to be made straight when you are green, you will not be made straight when you are dry.” —African proverb
“He that will not be counseled cannot be helped.” —Irish proverb
“Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” —Proverbs 9:8
“He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.” —Proverbs 15:32
“Good medicine may taste bitter to the mouth; good advice may sound unpleasant to the ear.” —Japanese proverb
“Woe to him who heeds not the counsel of a good wife.” —Irish proverb
“You can tell a person’s level of maturity by the way they handle criticism and reproof.” —Chuck Swindoll
You can also tell a person’s level of maturity by the way they give criticism and respond when someone decides not to use the advice given. It’s embarrassing to admit, but in my pride, I have gotten upset when someone asked for my counsel but didn’t use it. I’m not perfect and realize I haven’t always given the best advice.
“The first degree of folly is to conceit oneself wise, the second to profess it, the third to despise counsel.” —Poor Richard aka Ben Franklin
Generally speaking, receiving criticism or advice is easier when it comes from someone respected and when we feel understood and loved. Sometimes criticism is constructive and mixed with praise, but sometimes it can be destructive if it is too harsh or not done with the right motive. I want to be someone who encourages and inspires others rather than someone who discourages and defeats.
“Sandwich every bit of criticism between two layers of praise.” —Mary Kay Ash
“In my wide association in life, meeting with many and great people in various parts of the world, I have yet to find the person, however great or exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than he would ever do under a spirit of criticism.” —Charles Schwab
“It is easier to criticize art than to create it.” —Spanish proverb
I took this photo almost five years ago from a bus while on a road trip to see Sight-n-Sound’s production of “In the Beginning”. The Lord blessed me with His presence in many ways that day and renewed my strength. I hope you are blessed and strengthened as well.
Edited to add the link to the original blog post from my old blog, which goes into more detail of how the Lord blessed me that day: The Spreading of the Clouds
Three years ago, I had published a blog post that was inspired by a song taught to children in church, as well as an article by Russell Moore entitled Why Facebook (and Your Church) Might Be Making You Sad. I had been considering posting it again, and although I could be wrong, I think the Holy Spirit gave me a nudge to go ahead and do so.
The song is high energy and fun to sing because of hand motions and increasing speed, but it hit me three years ago that it can also be very confusing and deceiving. Why? Well it goes like this:
I’m inright, outright, upright, downright happy all the time.
I’m inright, outright, upright downright happy all the time.
Since Jesus Christ came in and cleansed my heart from sin,
I’m inright, outright, upright, downright happy all the time.
Are Christians happy all the time?
When a little girl in a preschool class heard she would be singing the song, she cried out, “But I’m not happy all the time!”
Out of the mouth of babes.
Are Christians happy all the time? Should we be? We might try to pretend to be, but no, we’re not. We have the same struggles as everyone else. I think there are a few reasons we might put on a façade: 1) It makes us feel more religious/spiritual, 2) We have a sincere desire to glorify God, showing He is real and trustworthy, and we wrongly believe being happy all the time is most glorifying to God. But can we truly reflect what’s real, if we ourselves are not? Is that glorifying to God?
One of the things Russell Moore said in the article mentioned above is, “By not speaking, where the Bible speaks, to the full range of human emotion—including loneliness, guilt, desolation, anger, fear, desperation—we only leave our people there, wondering why they just can’t be “Christian” enough to smile through it all.”
Children, teenagers and even adults could be left asking themselves, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I not happy all the time?” Not only that, but they can learn to not trust the Bible or church, because what they’ve been taught either doesn’t square up with real life or they later realize they were led to believe something that isn’t true. Even Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
I mean no disrespect to anyone who has taught or still teaches the song or songs like it, because no one would knowingly seek to confuse or deceive children. Sometimes we do things because it’s what we ourselves were taught or because it’s what has always been done. But I think when children speak or react, we ought to take note and consider if perhaps changes need to be made in the way we present things.
Edited on February 24, 2014 @ 20:48 to add: I should have said and need to add that the preachers and teachers of the church I attend do speak to the range of emotions found in the Bible, so this post is not an indictment of them. The purpose of the post is to encourage review and consideration of things we’ve always done and things that may sound good but may not be true.
Have you ever walked away from an argument wondering, “What just happened?” Have you ever tried to reason with someone and felt like you went around and around in circles? In light of last night’s debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, I can’t help but address this topic. It was filled with logical fallacies. So the purpose of this post is to offer wisdom in recognizing logical fallacies and avoiding bad arguments.
Proverbs 26: 4, 5 says, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you yourself also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own estimation.”
At first glance, there appears to be a contradiction, but there isn’t. What those two verses are basically saying is not to answer a question or topic from a presupposition or logic that is flawed, and not to ignore the question, but rather to answer it from the valid position, using solid evidence and logic.
So what is a red herring? If you have watched crime shows or old B&W mystery movies, you may have heard the term. A red herring is a technique used by throwing in a subject that is not related to the original. It’s like planting false evidence in an attempt to throw someone off the trail to solving a crime.
“Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.” —Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
One year as part of our homeschooling curriculum, I purchased a book called The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Eight Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning. My second son loved it! It was as if a light bulb went off in his head, and he was better equipped to perform critical thinking skills and think logically.
Rhetorical Fallacies is an excellent quick, online guide to recognizing logical fallacies.
Have you ever asked someone to do something for you only to have that someone respond with a heavy sigh, whining, or complaining? If you’re a parent or a teacher, that’s a pretty silly question, isn’t it? What’s even sillier, although less amusing, is when we adults do it to one another. I know we all have bad days and should try to respond with grace when met with a bad attitude, but isn’t it so much sweeter when someone gives and serves cheerfully? And don’t you feel more loved and respected when someone responds happily to a request?
“Cheerfulness gives sweetness to life.” —Filipino proverb
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
—2 Corinthians 9:7
“The kindness is doubled if what must be given is given willingly.” —Latin proverb
“The visible sign of utter love is an undying smile.” —Sri Sri Ravi Skankar
“He gives well and bountifully who accompanies the gift with a pleasing look.” —Latin proverb
“A gift with a kind face is a double grace.” —German proverb
Years ago while dining at a restaurant in Canada, I remember the response given by our waitress when I said, “Thank you.” With a pretty smile and a French accent she replied, “It is my pleasure.” I loved that response, so I adopted it.
“Forget the favors you have given; remember those received.” —Chinese proverb
Sometimes people give or serve in order to receive or to be served. Although we shouldn’t give or serve with selfish motives and a score card, isn’t it funny how people sometimes act as if you owe them for what they have done instead of giving and serving out of love and gratitude for the things you have done for them? Or maybe it’s the other way around.
“Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.” ―Pindar, Greek poet
“It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding.” —Kahlil Gibran
If you liked this, you might also like: Wisdom Wednesday: When It’s Never Enough
Have you ever felt like you could never do enough to please someone? Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t know what to do to make you happy”? Although some people can be unreasonably demanding and nothing anyone does will ever make them happy, sometimes it’s a matter of us doing what we like to do, think is better, or what’s convenient for us rather than what is asked or needed. Then we wonder why the things we do never seem to be enough.
“The sacrifice of an ox will not bring us all we want.” —Latin proverb
“Personal affections must be sacrificed for the greater cause.” —Chinese proverb
“Whether you understand the motivations of your heart or not, really what’s driving your actions, and what’s driving your life and how you fill your day, actually comes back to what you believe is actually gonna bring about the most fullness of life possible for you.” —Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Fig Leaves, Lies and the Grace of God
Decades ago I wrote a short skit for our youth group to teach the principle of obedience over sacrifice. It was inspired by the account of when King Saul was given specific instructions but only partially carried them out. Then Samuel, God’s spokesperson arrived on the scene:
And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. —1 Samuel 15:22
In order to make the account applicable and more personal, the skit portrayed a mother instructing her teenage daughter to do her homework. The daughter went to her room, and after some time, she presented her mother with a painting as a gift.
The mother was blessed, until she realized her daughter had not done any of her homework, where upon she became sad and disappointed. She expressed appreciation for the gift, reassured her daughter of her love, and explained why obeying is a greater expression of love and respect.
Have you ever wondered why you seem to be losing respect and closeness in relationships? In King Saul’s case, his disobedience by doing things his own way and his rebellious heart caused him to lose God’s blessing and eventually his kingdom and even his life. Although in our relationships, it may not be a matter of obedience or disobedience, it could be that we are not hearkening, that we are not truly listening and doing what others ask, need or desire.
“Being heard is so close to being loved that, for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” —David Augsburger
“My wife says I never listen to her. At least I think that’s what she said.” —Unknown