My husband and I both have public-ish lives. By this, I mean that we are small potatoes public figures, he as a small-town football coach and me as an author/speaker. Even with these minimal platforms, we can encounter some surprising impressions among people who know only our public personas rather than our daily, regular ones.
The first misperception we usually run into is that my husband is unapproachable and intimidating. And I mean, I get it. He’s a big guy with a buzzed haircut, intense eyes, and a strong brow. He also happens to be a football coach, which carries with it all kinds of assumptions. As his wife, my job is to remind him to smile in order to attempt to overcome this go-to impression. One of my favorite things is to watch people get to know him and then comment on how kind, welcoming, and loving he is. It’s fun to get to see them get to know those precious parts of him.
In my case, people often think I am very serious and studious since the majority of my published work is in the area of emotional and mental health and Bible studies. It has definitely thrown more than a few people off when they meet me and I lead with a little irreverence, a joke, or sarcasm. The truth is that I actually have a whole anonymous side gig creating funny memes. I enjoy it when relationships develop far enough for me to start communicating mostly in GIFs and Friends quotes. It’s more of the fullness of who I am.
The reason I’m sharing this is not because we should be expected know everything about others. To some degree, we all craft public images. The reason I’m sharing this is to point out that in the same way we tend to create boxes for people based on surface impressions, we often do the same for people of the faith. People like Jesus and Paul, Mary and Daniel. We will likely never know the depths of everyone around us. But only getting to know the surface details about the heroes of the faith? That can leave us without some incredible information that God meant for us to have for our blessing, our ministry, and our development.
Tips for Avoiding a Surface Understanding of Faith
Daily Connection Time. This is not another cliché advocating for “quiet times.” Instead, this is a call to figure out what works for you. Most of us have a spiritual discipline (or two) that feel more natural. I tend to be a read-the-Word-and-journal kind of person. My husband is more of a worship-and-prayer type. While engaging in the breadth of spiritual disciplines yields blessing, starting with the ones you look forward to makes you more likely to do it. Then, once a habit is established, it may become easier to expand into something with more depth and variety. God never changes, but my goodness, we sure do. The fruit of our daily relationship with God comes from getting to know him better as we ebb and flow through our own emotions and life circumstances.
One of the coolest parts about getting to know the Bible and its residents is that we have access to more information than any previous generation. The ease with which we can ask a question or research a topic is lightening-quick. But the access to insta-information can also cause us our spiritual muscles to atrophy because we don’t have to work as hard…
To read the remaining tips, link to the full article here.