I’m a people-watcher. I love to watch what people do and I love trying to get inside their heads to figure out what they're thinking (particularly when they’re doing something cRaZy!).
When I first meet someone, I must admit, I try to “read” them; not in the WoOoOo creepy sense of the word. I just find myself trying to read between the lines; see who they REALLY are. I have found that there are very few people out there who are genuinely REAL at that first meeting.
Most of us keep a variety of masks on hand to be used in certain situations. For example, we may have a specific mask we wear for the dinner with our spouse’s boss. We may have a mask we use only for job interviews, a different one for speaking engagements, another for the in-laws, and another for church – yes, I said it, for church. It’s only when we make that transition from acquaintance to friend that we take the mask off, with trepidation of course, because there’s still no assurance that we will be accepted.
My husband has a friend who is refreshingly delightful to me because he is soooo real. He doesn’t always dress appropriately for the occasion, doesn’t have the proper table etiquette, doesn't always say the right things, etc. I love this! It puts me at ease, and makes me feel like I have a friend in the room. It also makes me less self-conscious and causes me to be less pretentious myself. I’m thinking there should be one person like this in every crowd to lighten things up. Unfortunately, I’m afraid most people in the room would find it more appalling than refreshing.
I also love to watch people eat. I don’t know if it’s because I have a thing about wanting everyone to enjoy their meal, wanting to make sure they get plenty to eat, or wanting to make sure they all come away from the table satisfied…I don’t know; I just think the way people eat can really tell you a lot. It can tell you if they appreciate and enjoy food, if it’s more about the dinner conversation or the family being together in one place, or if it’s just something you have to do before you can move on to the next task. I especially love watching children eat. I watched a little boy in a Mexican food restaurant eating tortilla chips the other day, he was precious! His little lips…but that’s another rabbit. I’ve noticed that if a child is raised in a home where how you behave at the table is more important than the meal itself and the nutritional benefits, that child will have exemplary table manners for their age but will be a picky eater and not necessarily enjoy their food (and neither does anyone else). The opposite appears to me to be true of the parents who are more relaxed and allow a kid to be a kid at the table; I didn’t say an animal, I said a kid. These kids REALLY get into food! They use their hands, they dig in, they have it all over their face, and they eat just about anything. They enjoy the whole food experience. They LOVE mealtime. They LOVE food!
Whether my theory is right or wrong is not the point I’m trying to make here; the point still is that I love to watch people and my mind goes to all these places when I do. I know. It’s weird.
Anyway, I watched the You Tube video of Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill’s rendition of How Great Thou Art Easter weekend; it was truly powerful. Carrie was so beautiful and it was evident to me that she wasn’t just “singing”, she was praising; it was truly a blessing to witness. As the camera occasionally panned the audience, I noticed it seemed to be filled with musicians and performers; because I am a people watcher my mind immediately went to them. Many I did not recognize, but the ones I did recognize are not known for singing gospel; quite the opposite, in fact. I saw sweet smiles and tears rolling down their faces and I noticed that some of them appeared to be singing along. When Carrie came to the chorus for one last time, the audience jumped to their feet, cheering, clapping, some even lifted their hands toward heaven! It almost had the feel of revival; it was amazing!
Running through my mind were interviews I have seen in the past with some of these audience members. I remembered that most of these artists got their start in church, singing gospel music; they grew up on the basic principles of the Gospel message. Their music and their lifestyle tells me that some have gotten far away from their roots, far away from truth. I wondered what was going through their hearts and minds in that one moment in time. Did they even realize before that moment that they had left their first love? Did they miss Him? Did they walk away with a longing in their hearts to be back in that place; that place of simplicity, of peace, of joy – of rest? As I watched them, I found myself praying for them; asking God to draw them to Himself, to restore those who needed restoration, to save those who needed salvation. I asked Him to open doors for them to be able to get back to the basics, to go back to their first love.
I’ve always heard, “God hasn’t left you, it’s you who have left God.” I believe this is true. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. When He says, “…I will never leave you nor forsake you”, He means it. (Hebrews 13:8, Joshua 1:5)
If you’re a people-watcher, you’ve seen that look that says, “Something’s missing in my life…” or “I may look good on the outside, but inside I’m a mess…” I think, as Christians, we’ve been called to address that look, to give hope where hope is needed, to be that sweet smell of Christ to those who are drowning in the stench of the world.
I hope as you go about your day at work, or at the grocery store you’ll put on spiritual eyes, scan the room, make eye contact with someone, smile, even say “hello” or “how are you today?” You never know how God can use you to change someone’s day; maybe even someone’s life. You never know how God may use that someone to change your life.