Thursday, August 27, 2009

User manual communication

Everyone who has ever felt this way, raise your hand:

I feel misunderstood!!
I feel frustrated in my relationships with people!!
Why bother, they don't get it anyway!!

This weekend, for the first time since I've had my hi-fi, I sat down and really made a conscious effort to read the user manual from front to back. While doing so I discovered some functions that my system had that I would never have known about had I not read the manual. I also discovered some things I should NOT do in order to have optimal use of my system.

In the same way we as people are the verbal user manual for those around us. It is our responsibility to instruct/teach people how to treat us as unique individuals in order to bring out the best in us. No one knows you as well as you do. People can't read your mind. You need to verbalise (communicate) who you are in order for people to treat you in a way that you approve of. What do you like? What do you dislike? What makes you tick?

I've heard many people say the following: "Do I have to spell out everything?!" My answer to this is YES. You have to say it. That is part of communicating. If you refuse to do so you are setting a trap for someone, silently watching and waiting for them to trip and fall so that you can justify your expression of dissatisfaction, when in fact you have no right, because you didn't instruct. If you choose not to say it, how were they supposed to know it? Also don't be surprised if you need to say it a few times. Often one has to go back to the manual several times before getting it completely right. Be patient and say it.

In the same way you need to say it, it is also the responsibility of those who you are saying it to, to LISTEN. There is no sense in reading a manual and ignoring everything in it. If you do whatever you want you can't expect the same results as specified in the manual had you followed the instructions. For e.g. if someone say that they don't like dogs, don't buy them a puppy as a birthday gift. I wouldn't be surprised if they are not overwhelmed with joy and your feelings are hurt. You ignored the "manual". We need to ask ourselves: Are our actions often selfishly more to our own benefit than unselfishly to the benefit of the other? I LIKE DOGS, so I buy you one, when in fact you are, unlike me, a bird lover.

I've owned this hi-fi for just over two years now and for the first time I realised how valuable that piece of equipment actually was. All just because of taking the time to read the manual, instructing me how to enjoy optimal use of my system. I thought to myself: "Now this is value for money and all along I've only used the basic functions of playing the radio, tape and CD."

All hi-fi systems can do the basic functions such as tuner, tape and CD. They can all rewind, forward, play, etc. In the same way certain basic things work with all people. When it actually comes down to more detail that is where our uniqueness is found. Smiling friendly will get you far with most people. Thereafter it becomes more detailed. Some people prefer a warm hug hello and others prefer a handshake. Others kiss on the cheek and others rather avoid any physical contact because that is what they are comfortable with. The unique additional functions determine one to be a better or more practical buy than the next. In the same way it is our uniqueness that distinguish one person from another. Therefore "read the manual".

Often times we don't realise the value of someone and we walk away because to the average man this looks like just another piece of equipment, same as all the rest. Just another person, nothing special. In the meantime we could have discovered the most valuable treasures had we taken the time to "read the manual", really listen to someone, and find out how to enjoy that person at his best. And what is more satisfying than being treated in a way that makes you blossom, all because you were the verbal manual to someone else.

Take time today to instruct, to listen, to communicate meaningfully...

Monday, August 3, 2009

...So He could be glorified!

I spent many years of my life thinking that it was all about me. It took me a while to realize that, in fact, it is not.

I remember listening to quite a few teachings of Joyce Meyer during that time on this exact topic, and gradually God changed that aspect about me. I remember Joyce saying: “ get over your sweet little self.” Even though this was (and can be for some) a rather harsh statement, she spoke it with such love, and Holy Spirit started showing me Who it is really about... and it took my breath away.

I started pondering Romans 11:36 For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen.

For many years a husband was my greatest desire; someone who would be mine; to know what family feels like; something I’ve never had the privilege to know for how God intends it. I thought that if I had a husband that I would be happy and whole. Then God spoke to my heart: even if I got a husband, he would never be mine.

What is wedding vows? It is in effect a promise to God that you will take care of the other person as best as you know how, look after them when they’re sick, laugh with them, give advice, pray for them, listen to them, feed them, and help God to let them become all that they can be as far as you can support them, so that He could be glorified. It is not your ‘possession’. You ‘report’ to God on this assignment of love.

Then God asks the woman: “Woman, can I borrow your body to bear a little boy or girl? I have awesome plans for them (and you along the way), and I need you to take special care of them; feed them, love them, kiss the “eina’s” better, hold them when they’re scared and provide in their daily needs. Will you teach them My ways, help Me shape and mold them so that they may grow up to fulfill that awesome plan so that I can be glorified?” It is not your ‘possession’. It is a borrowed blessing from God, as is everything else, and an awesome assignment of love to enjoy and for it to enrich your life.

Then God asks us to take special care of our bodies, His temple. He provides us with an income to be able to put this body in a home, sheltered from the elements, to be able to buy food to nourish it, and clothing to dress it. You need to be in a good condition if God’s going to use you to make a difference so that He could be glorified.

Are you taking care of your ‘temple’, or are you too busy to work, and your schedule is crammed so full of “have to’s” that you never have time to rest and be balanced? If you are paralyzed by illness, how then can He be glorified? You are like an injured rugby player that has to go off the field for treatment, and the team is at a loss for your absence. They need you; God needs you to be His hands and feet on this earth. It is not the same without you because there are certain gifts that you’ve been given, and certain assignments that only you have been equipped for. Who will do it if you don’t?

So if you really desire to do great things for God, starting right where you are, you cannot neglect the body in which you are supposed to exist so that He can be glorified. It is not your body. You’ve only been appointed the keeper. Keep it in good shape to honor Him.

The car you drive has been ‘borrowed’ to you from God’s fleet. EVERYTHING belongs to Him. He spoils you to drive that nice Ferrari, or that sporty Mercedes, or even that Golf, Toyota or Ford. That vehicle is not merely for your enjoyment and comfort, but it serves to transport you to places and people whose lives need to be touched by God’s Spirit in you so that He could be glorified by their powerful testimonies.

You’ve been given certain abilities to do a certain job that will position you in certain places, surrounded by certain people in whose lives God has destined to use you so that He could be glorified. You should do what you do with excellence, as if unto the Lord, so that He could be glorified, and when it is God’s perfect time (not our time, or our way – we who don’t know the plan) He will move you around, or promote you, allowing you to continue making an even greater difference for His Kingdom so that He could be glorified.

The money that you earn is God’s blessing and provision for you. With it you maintain yourself and your family, meeting daily needs. You can even spoil yourself some. It should make your heart grateful so that He can be glorified. But then it is also intended to go beyond yourself and your home. God provides us with money to help Him bless the poor and needy so that He could be glorified when someone realized that God still sees them and know of their needs; they have not been forgotten. It is our income that is also sown into churches, charity organizations and ministries around the world so that they could be Jesus with skin on for countless needy and hopeless people so that He could be glorified.

God sends special friends into our lives that bless us and cheer us up, or pray with us when we need it most, and out of our gratefulness He can be glorified. He places us in families who challenge us to change and grow to become more like Him, holy as He is holy, so that He could be glorified in how we live before Him, and also the example that we show others as representatives of an awesome and loving God.

He touches and heals a broken heart and causes light to shine in the darkness again, so that we may rejoice and tell of His greatness so that He could be glorified. He created beautiful flowers, rain, sunrise and sunset, the ocean, the grass, the trees, the animals, all things perfect and beautiful for us to behold, and as we realize His power and majesty it causes Him to be glorified.

God blesses us to walk so that we may reach those that we need to meet with, whose lives we will touch so that He could be glorified. He lets us see, so that we can know where we’re going, and get there to do what we have to do so that He could be glorified. He gives us ears to hear the needs of others, and to hear their laughter and share in it so that we may edify each other so that He could be glorified. He gives us a mouth and speech so that we may speak words that bring life and blessing, and testify of His awesome greatness so that He could be glorified.

There are too many examples to describe them all...

Isaiah 55: 9 (NLT) For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours.

It is indeed not about me. He is God, and it’s all about Him, yet He lowers himself to my level of earthly existence to show me that He loves and treasures me; that he knows my every desire and every need – to show me that I am more precious to Him than I will ever be able to comprehend. And even though He has big plans that overwhelm my understanding, He never loses sight of me... His child.

As I love Him more and more because He loved me first, and as His goodness amaze me more, a desire rise up in my heart... “Lord, may I live and move and have my being more in such a way.... You could be glorified!!