Perhaps this saying seems a bit cliché, but it is nevertheless true. How many of us have run into a know-it-all at one time or another? Did we listen or care what the “genius” had to say? I doubt it. I am not interested in the thoughts or opinions of those who clearly do not care about me. However, as soon as someone takes the time to get to know me, even on the most basic level, my willingness to listen to their advice skyrockets.
We are built for relationships and do not appreciate lectures. We want to connect with other people and, after we do, are more willing to let them influence us.
Eric and I like to meet with our potential clients before we enter into a coaching relationship with them. There are several reasons for this – one being so we can get to know them a little better before beginning the sessions. Our couples have an easier time opening up to us when they know we care about them (and we do!). Once they realize we care, we can make a lot of progress!
Most People Know What to Do
The world is full of people who know what to do. I know I need to lose weight. I know there is an elliptical downstairs in my basement. I know I need to eat less sugar. I know that if I do not stop eating sugar regularly, it will affect my current and future quality of life. None of this is news to me. The problem is not a lack of knowledge; rather, it is a lack of motivation, the presence of fear, or some other factor which keeps us in our ruts.
If I was standing in line at my local supermarket and some gym rat jogged over to me and condescendingly stated, “I can tell you how to take that weight off,” I would certainly not be interested in his or her spiel. But, if over coffee a dear friend approached me and gently said, “Heather, my intention is not to hurt you, but I am becoming more and more concerned about your health. If you let me, I will gladly help you change your lifestyle and reclaim your health,” I would be humbled and far more likely to heed her call to action.
Knowing what to do is not my problem. Sometimes, I need a kind and caring hand to help me get started. Many of you also know what you need to do, but it is easier to put one foot in front of another when you have caring support.
Growing up, one of the key people who supported me through my difficult years was my neighbor and mentor, Miss Betty. If you have followed this blog for some time, you know about this incredible woman. Though I still cannot believe she is gone, her influence will be with me always. I cared about her opinion of me. I wanted to know her thoughts. I valued her advice. I cared how much she knew because I knew how much she cared.
She Clearly Cared
What made Miss Betty’s lessons stick with me was the obvious fact that she loved me. Even when I did not like her advice, I could not deny that she was involved because she cared. Because I knew how much she loved me, I was able to swallow her admonitions.
Throughout the years, I enjoyed gallons of tea, plenty of treats, and countless hours of enjoyable conversation. In retrospect, I think, “Wow. How did she have enough time in the day to do all she did – for me and everyone else in her life?”
The answer is not magical or even interesting. The reason she had time for people is that she made time for people.
She probably gave up a lot of downtime in her life to be available for her friends’ tear-filled phone calls, to devote hours to prayer, and to attend frequent gatherings. Maybe she had hobbies she did not pursue or bucket list items she did not fulfill – I do not know. But, I do know she prioritized people more highly than fun or possessions. Through her giving spirit, she won the favor of many; and, because of that, she had a great influence over many lives.
Lord, Can I Ever Be Like Her?
This lesson will continue to convict me for years, I am convinced! It will take years of prayer, study, and laying down my selfish desires before I become half the hospitable woman she was. I am beyond thankful to have known her and to have enjoyed a Titus 2 relationship with her:
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” (Titus 2:3-5, ESV)
We all have to start somewhere. I know I will not gain the wisdom and knowledge she had in a matter of days, but I can start at the foundation. I can make time for people, build relationships, and then have the honor of speaking into their lives should God give me the opportunity. I can have time for people by making time for people.
Do you have an easy time prioritizing people over your personal time?