If there is one thing that strikes fear in my entire being, it’s talking to someone I just met in a social situation. I don’t know if I’d call it as extreme as a social phobia but it comes close. Sure, I can speak to large crowds without batting an eye, but get me one-on-one with a person I’ve just met and I’m shaking.
I know. That’s weird.
So when my pastor invited us to take business-type cards and invite people to church, my first response was fear. Since I don’t work outside the home anymore, I don’t come across that many unchurched people on a daily basis. That means that if I were to hand out any of these cards, it would probably be in the very situation that makes my knees shake.
But alas, I reluctantly prayed that God would show me any opportunities that he wanted me to take advantage of. Not today, though, please, was my unconscious prayer.
Yesterday I decided to take Drew and Alyssa to a local frozen yogurt shop. It had been cold for days and I thought I’d give them a treat since they hadn’t been able to play outside. As we parked, I distinctly remembered looking at the cards in my cupholder. I shrugged off the thought to put them in my pocket and walked in.
We all got our frozen yogurt and sat down. I had my back to a young lady who had a little girl a little younger than Alyssa, but when I got up, she looked at me and asked how old Alyssa was. She was very friendly. I knew I needed to continue chatting with her so I suppresssed my fear and tried really hard not to say anything dumb. Eventually I felt like I needed to steer the conversation in a direction that might give me an outlet to invite her to church. So I asked where she lived. I found out she is engaged and just moved to the area. I told her about our MOMs class at church and seemed interested.
About that time I started digging in my pockets hoping that I had in fact put the cards in there, but of course I didn’t. I told her I had info in my car and I’d be right back. That was awkward but she was really kind. I gave her a card and invited her to church Sunday. I also told her she could find my email address on the church’s web site within our MOMs page.
I learned her name, and I’ve been praying for her. I don’t know much about her but I am believing God had our paths intersect for a reason.
I don’t share this with any pride whatsoever. It’s just the opposite, in fact. You see, if my taking opportunities like this were the norm instead of the exception, I probably wouldn’t be writing about it. And I’m far too aware that I did nothing to initiate that conversation. She did. Despite knowing what I needed to do, I had my head in my own world, intentionally oblivious to any divine encounters just waiting for me to see.
This is tough for me. It’s easy for me to be grateful for the encounter yesterday and pray for this young lady, but the truth is, is my perspective going to change the next time I’m in a similar situation? Will I pray that God will open my eyes instead of hoping no one crosses my path? Will I take the initiave no matter how inadequate I feel? Will I let my fear overshadow my mission? Or will I let love overcome my fear?