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Posts Tagged ‘community groups’

I had arrived early to speak to a community group and proceeded to convey my three boxes of books, briefcase, laptop and data projector up the steep stairs into the large function room. Once there, I discovered the projector screen was at one end, which would necessitate everyone turning around awkwardly. With no blank wall to use instead, I decided to ditch my power point presentation. And, since all available tables were in use, I fetched my own from the car.

I was still arranging my books when several ladies began checking them out. I explained how all of them contain strong faith themes, which did not seem to deter them. One lady bought three, just like that, then began sharing some sad snippets from her life story with me. Next, she bought me a drink. We then discovered we had some contacts in common—and I felt, for those brief moments, that our hearts had touched.

I was seated at the committee’s table for dinner, where everyone seemed curious to hear about my writing journey. These were intelligent, professional women and I enjoyed myself immensely. But then I was asked to begin my talk—at the same time as all the women headed, table by table, to the buffet to help themselves to dessert! I tried to keep going over the resultant chatter, paused once or twice, then decided to plough on regardless.

Eventually, they were all seated and listening. I relaxed and allowed the words to flow. At one stage, I found myself explaining how important it is for me as an author to see God’s creativity in nature and to be inspired by that. I went on to talk about how God has given us the gifts we have and how it’s important to do what God has called us to do in this world. But then I wondered if I should be saying such things. I had spoken at a church earlier that day—it was fine to say such things there. But at a community group?

Later, I discovered my talk had been well received, as several women chatted with me and bought books. Then the club secretary came to say goodbye.

‘I hope you were happy with my input,’ I commented. ‘Sometimes I forget where I am and think I’m at a church group …’

‘No, it was fine,’ she assured me earnestly. ‘After all, that’s who you are.’

Yes, that is who I am, I thought, as I drove home. And if others can talk about things that are important to them, then why shouldn’t I do the same? Of course I need to be sensitive in each situation and honour the wishes of those who have asked me to speak. But I still need to be me. After all, God created my inmost being and knit me together in my mother’s womb, as Psalm 139 tells us. God purposed me to be who I am, so I have a responsibility to be me. As Rob Bell states, ‘We don’t need a second anybody. We need the first you.

It was an interesting evening. And, despite the difficulties encountered, I believe it was so worth it, just being me for God.

How about you? Are you being a second somebody else—or the first you?

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