How do I look?
How do I sound?
How do I handle less than ideal situations?
I was forced to think very intently about these questions a few years ago, when someone very close to me questioned my integrity.
I wasn't necessarily guilty of what the person said/thought about me, but what they said made me really step back and evaluate the way I did things.
Did I seem fake, or put-on?
Did I act one way at church, and another way around family and friends?
I think that was the day I started praying in a different way. That what I did and said and thought would honor God. And all these years later, I still pray that way. In looking back, I am glad that person questioned me. It wasn't pleasant at the time, and I spent probably what was way too much time being hurt/angry at them, but now that years have gone by, I am thankful. Because it made me different. I started praying differently, and I probably started acting differently.
Which leads to this post, and how I live my life. I am by no means perfect, in fact, I am as far from that as one can be. But I try to live my life in a way that the Bible tells me.
Philippians 2:14-16 says this: "Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life."
And, in 1 Timothy 3:2-4, we are told this:
"Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect."
I know those verses in 1 Timothy say "he", and "overseer" (deacon), but I definitely think they're applicable to anyone in a position in which they lead others. I think it's also good to be careful about how things appear to others. For instance, I have a friend who is a youth leader who will not ride alone with just one teenage boy. She always takes at least two kids with her if she's driving someone somewhere, because she never wants to put forth the wrong impression.
If you're reading this and don't have a group that you lead, you can still live your life in a way that pleases God and that points others to Him. Why? Because He desires that everyone would come to know Him. We all have people in our families who we can witness to, that are not believers. At least, I do. I'll end with a picture from Thursday night. We had an all girls pool party with our 9th and 10th grade girls, and all of us leaders swam with them. (We usually do not.) It was so much fun! We laughed, we talked, we played silly games, and we all just got caught up with one another.
These girls are a few of the ones who keep me on my toes. They help hold me accountable, and I do the same with them, as well as the other ladies who lead. I am so thankful that God has given me this group of people to be with and to live life with.
Love to all.