Entertaining Angels

conversationwI have a confession to make. I love talking with people but I get very anxious when I am in a position where I need to begin a conversation with a total stranger.

Those of you who know me personally might find this revelation hysterical. I can talk a mile a minute and I love conversation and I love getting to know people. But sometimes I completely freeze up just trying to initiate conversation.

If I am selling things at a Hungarian festival, I don’t have a problem initiating a discussion because someone is coming up to me and is likely interested in what I am selling. But have me seated next to a stranger in a social situation and I really struggle to find my “opening line”. I am sure I overthink it.

But meeting new people and engaging in conversation is so much fun. I am rewarded every time I do it because I learn so much and the conversation is always interesting. And yet I still overthink my opening line so much that I am inhibited to start. I think I am overly concerned I will offend people or appear intrusive. I want to fix that!

There is so much to learn from the people around us. Taking time to have conversation is important. It is easy to become isolated because there is so much tension. There is definitely an art to conversation these days, but there is also a ministry in conversation. With so many people pulled in so many directions it is easy for those who might need a little extra time or encouragement to talk be bowled-over by those who are impatient and in a rush.

Do I take the time to connect with the people God has placed around me?

The life stories I have heard range from heartbreaking to encouraging. Each situation has some nugget of wisdom for me to learn. While there is an art to listening I think the ministry opportunity is in the conversation. Most people will talk for the interaction, not just to hear themselves ramble on… and both parties can gain tremendous insights about one another as well as themselves when there is a dialogue.

hospitalitywThis week, try to look at conversation as ministry and consider how the exchange of experiences and insights benefits both participants in conversation. Remember: being hospitable isn’t something you have to be at home to do! You can be a welcoming and friendly face in a place you have never been before.

On the Road,

Liz

Doing Hard Things

Have you had to do a hard thing? Maybe it was initiate a conversation about an awkward situation or apologize for something said or maybe you needed to stand up for an unpopular idea or address a wrong. Life is full of hard things and hard conversations. Sometimes I try to avoid them for as long as I can because I am anxious about the outcome.

Are in the middle of thinking you need to do a hard thing?

  • Pray and ask God for His guidance. Sometimes this will be the only action taken.
  • Consider your motives.
  • Seek out a discerning and trusted individual~one who will not just blindly agree to anything you say~share your thoughts and request their insight.
  • Allow time for your ideas to marinate. Sometimes I create my own ‘hard thing’ moments by jumping the gun and not processing long enough. You may find this ‘hard thing’ does not require your action at this time.
  • Ask for prayer support from trusted individuals. You do not need to divulge private information as God knows the details.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!   Amen!” Ephesians 3:19-21 NIV