SHADES OF GREY
1 Corinthians 14:9/18
9 So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. (10-17)
18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
One of my biggest frustrations in my life thus far I must say is the disappointment in the human race and how they don’t think of the repercussions of their actions. How people can’t fathom the full picture and only see things in direct response to what they personally feel and think in the moment.
We live in an overly sensitive and emotional world where everyone seems to be on the back foot of defence ready to attack because everyone seems to feel you have it out for them.
God has shown me many revelations, while going through all of these things in my life and as I grow getting to know God better day by day, and craving more of Him while being grateful for all of these hard lessons, He shows me so many different sides of His heart for us. He has also shown me the shades of grey in the lack of communication and clear indication of our expectation on people. Previously I wrote a blog about this very conversation but from a completely different concept. As I go through days speaking to people and listening to their expectations, frustrations, fears, disappointments and so forth in their businesses, life, relationships, and their purpose in this world and in Gods church, I have found myself relooking this wonderful word ‘communication’ and how it helps to eliminate the ‘shades of grey’ aspects of life, the spaces where things are unclear of what is expected from others and for ourselves.
A little about myself and why am so passionate about communication and how it can illuminate many issues in this world – I grew up in the era where parents believed in the saying “Because I said so!”
Well, being a strong willed little girl, I always wanted to know why. So you can imagine how I used to test the boundaries and the shades within that command.
I needed to see the outcome, as I struggled to just trust that some one knew better. I wanted an explanation. I wanted a clear indication what could and could not happen. The black and white version explained to length, or ells I would try it anyway, you know to see for myself. I was an inquisitive child, VERY inquisitive. I must have driven my parents crazy in the ‘WHY’ stage.
As you can imagine, that got me into a lot of trouble and I disappointed my parents, as well as God I am sure, especially in my teens and adolescent years. I had hard lessons in this life of mine. My most expensive one with regards to trusting that someone knows best must have been my trip to work in the UK, around the age of 19. With an invitation from a boy, and a dream to see the world for myself, I steam rolled my unwilling parents into allowing me to apply for a visa to go work in the UK and to go live with my ‘wrong boy’. After being denied twice through the consulate, I clearly remember driving to work one day praying out load to Father God, crying and asking, no begging Him to close the doors that needed closing but to fling open the ones that He meant for me. Obviously in my mind it was the UK visa door and not another denial at my third attempt.
But being the strong willed inquisitive young lady I was, I decided to kick that door open, drop my passport in the trash, apply for a temporary and fly to the UK for a 6 weeks holiday, all with the idea to later fly back to Turkey to reapply for the work permit. Yes I did all that!
Well you see when God has a plan greater than what you can possibly imagine but you don’t want to listen, sometimes you have to pay a heavy and very expensive price followed with a hiding and a large slice of humble pie. Border patrol is scary people, especially to a young girl that knows nothing of the big world.
DEPPORTED! – A stamp no one wants to see on their passport.
I was given 5 days leave to the country as there were now flights out at the time, while the police kept my passport and released me into the hands of the friends fetching me under strict instructions not to leave town as the secret service will know where I am at all times . I spent about R30 000 in that week, on goodness knows what and returned home, heartbroken and EMBARRESED and poor.
But God is so faithful in His promises and His answering of prayers. It’s just not the way we always expect it to be.
I was never supposed to go to the UK and live with my ‘wrong boy’. I was supposed to stay in my little town Port Elizabeth… But why? Within a month of this dreadful and embarrassing experience my life took a very sharp turn. My ‘wrong boy’ left me for another girl that he had been seeing while I was with Him, leaving me heart broken and gutted, resentful and angry. But GOD KNEW THIS ALL ALONG and never meant for me to go through that door to begin with, I now later in life see) which is why I call him ‘wrong boy’. This scenario I suppose I can use in many of my experiences, because I wanted free will and that is what God gave me. But in that I had to learn the hard lessons, and today I am grateful for it even more.
Revelations 3:8 “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name
Once back in little old PE there was no tardiness in Gods answer to my prayers and my questions of why?
Within one month, He placed the man of my dreams within my view. All though it might not have been the perfect circumstances, as once again there were other girls involved. God showed me and awakened in me the drive to fight for whom He had intended for me. Don’t worry not physically.
What had been about 5 years of on off flirting with my sister’s best friend had finally come to a point of no return. This was my man, and I made it clear what my intentions were to Him. No more grey areas, just black and white. As I cleared any spaces for doubt in his mind, so our worlds changed together. Three months later we bought a house together, two month later we moved in, two months later we got engaged, (know that’s a funny story for the future). And a year later we were married. Two months later we were pregnant and nine months later our precious Dayna was born.
Four months later due to a devastating experience we had to go through as new parents (another incredible and harrowing story with a blessed outcome I’ll tell you all about soon) we were forced to open Rare Beauti salon, and here we are today. Almost 15 years of Marriage bliss (and NO it hasn’t always been 100%) but when I look at Him, my beautiful husband, my heart still can’t believe that I ever doubted Gods doors. We have a soon to be 14 year old and this year the start of her walk as a high school student, we have an eleven year old prescious baby, and a successful business, a place where I have learnt more about myself and Gods plans and the ways He works in growing us all to become the people He intended us to be. My work has been my school of hard lessons. But still, one of my greatest blessings in ministry. My kids have been my greatest treasures, and my husband my biggest lesson of How Gods love works and to trust God for all things in my life, because He definitely knows best and what is good for me. He gave me my husband and He IS – sorry for all of you, the best man in the world, hehe.
So why did God allow me to be so hard headed and inquisitive, why did he not make me understanding of the bigger picture before having to go through so much to see it? Why did He not give me the black and white version but rather allowed me to kick the grey door down? Well because of free will. He wants us to make our decision to choose Him. He wants us to offer our hearts to Him, he doesn’t want to just take it. But while He full well knows what is best for us, He gently protects us while we stumble and fall and He allows us to learn our lessons while afterwards giving us the revelation of why He gently closes the doors that are not good for us. Our free will allows us to still kick it open, though as you see from my experience, and in that we can get hurt. But once we submit our paths to Him He shows us how beautiful the right door intended can be and how it can open his world of beauty.
Now I wish I could tell you that that was my last lesson with regards to this matter though. But alas I can’t. I have had to endure many more of these lessons still to have this revelation of eliminating the grey. Now later on in my walk God is busy showing me all about my expectations on man, or shall I say as my dear friend always used to say ‘my Unrealistic expectations on man’.
You see as in the era of “because I said so’s” that I grew up in; our lives are expectant of people to do what is right in our views without explanation, because they should know better. In business, personal, in marriage, our children, employees, and church, actually every aspect of life we have to be a bit more transparent with our wants, needs and expectations, especially if we want people to be clear in what is expected of them in order for you not to feel disappointed by them although they you were never a 100% clear about what you expected.
God has showed me through experiences that when we leave grey areas within our instructions for our expectations in all these spaces of our lives, we give people the space to fail… in our eyes. We place far too much pressure on people to do what is right if we don’t give them the correct instructions or the clear do’s or don’ts and why. People are afraid to disappoint, and when left to make their own decisions within any space of life, and when there is a specific expectation we leave them in a sea of grey possibilities to fail.
Ok so how have I seen this happen in my adult life and how do I apply this concept to my life today.
After many years of trial and error- I never expect my husband to know what I expect of Him and I never make up stories and assumptions in my mind of what He expects or think either. I am open and honest about how I feel and we talk about everything – this is not always easy as husbands don’t really enjoy chatting, but I have found that sitting down and having a conversation about even the small things of how I like my coffee EXACTLY so, and How He gets frustrated with my way of cutting peppers rather than His way, or leaving cupboard doors open, or how he likes to clear the table straight after a meal so he can eliminate the frustration of sitting in the dirt chatting, but I like to sit and chat with the guests and clean up after they leave only, in order to not make them feel rushed out the door. We try to find middle ground together, we work around the things that irritate us and get to know and accept the idiosyncrasies that make us who we are. We love each other, and in that we take the time to illuminate the grey of expecting without communication. It’s not easy, but the trick is I feel, NEVER think up a story of what the other person is thinking or doing. Don’t make assumptions, rather be calm and talk about it, ninety present of the time your husband is too scared to put a foot wrong so He just would rather not help with the washing because he won’t be able to do it your perfect way any way. BE CLEAR with what you expect of each other, and just ask, COMMUNICATE. IF your wife has an OCD tendency, love her through it. Allow her to work through it and don’t get frustrated with her, and if you have an OCD tendency, don’t expect someone else to have it to, be clear of what you do and do not expect without explaining in order for them not to fail in your eyes.
Always be clear about expectations. Give people exact instructions and allow them to talk to you about theirs. Being an employer has a lot of responsibilities, whether you like it or not, you have to tell people what is expected of them, but I have found in my business, that if you give employees the opportunity to grow their own business within yours they work better and harder. Empower them by giving them clear indication of how they can work to better themselves and their careers within yours. A person that sees growth for more to grow in their future will always be harder working than one that doesn’t see a place to better him/her. People thrive in spaces where they can see a better future and a place where their employer trusts them to use their own initiative. Give them opportunities and indication of where they can do this with black and white outlines if you afraid of them making the wrong choices. Guidelines of black and white, rather than a sea of grey possibilities that you would rather them not venture into. If you don’t give guidelines to them, don’t be angry if they do something you don’t like or approve of. Trust with guidelines will keep them in a comfortable space to not venture wrong but also give them encouragement to grow within the safety of your expectation. And most of all, if you give with expectation, make sure they know what you expect. The word give, does not come with the word receive in my book. Give with an open heart and open hand. Because if you always going to expect a return gift, rather not give. If you can’t give without expectation I totally recommend praying about it and waiting for when you can actually give a gift that is just that, a gift without expectation.
I was the once wide eyed new believer at one stage like everyone ells. The over excited, over expectant big dreamer of greatness and gifting. The girl that looked at all my leaders with great adoration, and dreams of being used and becoming pure… ‘Like them’. I looked up at all the people in church as perfect people that spent all the time adoring God and worshipping in quiet closets speaking audibly to our Lord and receiving amazing words for all. I was crushed years later to find out I was soooo misguided. People are people; they are all just trying to stay afloat. Humans are just that… Human. They are not God they are not perfect, they make mistakes, and they do things that hurt each other. YES, even in church. Let’s face it; people will only have a small fathom of perfection when they reach heaven. So stop expecting so much from them.
2 Corinthians 3:18
But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him.
Why is church there, it’s there for us to get together and worship as a body. Our growth is not up to anyone else but God. God wants us to be in His presence to adore Him and learn from Him, while loving and connecting with fellow believers to help grow His kingdom. We should grow by getting to know Him, through feasting on His word. Connecting to like-minded people that help grow and support us as we go along on our journey is important, but our strength and love and purpose, is not to be known but to make Him known.
Yes in leadership I believe that , once you have decided to take the step into the calling you should definitely be ready and willing to put your own issues aside for the greater growth of the kingdoms people and their needs to learn to grow and feel safe, but as leaders pastors, elders, prophets, worship leaders or whatever part of ministry is they walk in, we have to realise that they also have a path of growth and possible mistakes they have to walk in while walking with Jesus to get to the everlasting Kingdom themselves. If they were perfect they would be Jesus, as He is the only perfect person ever to be made if you know your bible. WE just strive to be ‘LIKE’ Him. And the higher up in ministry the harder that is because of Satan’s attack. He doesn’t want people to be sold out for God, so He does everything He can to do everything possible to make them fail or to make you assume that they fail. Now how do we eliminate the grey in church? Be open about your expectations on your leaders. ASK! They are there because they love the Lord and want desperately for you to feel the same. And then Love them. Lift them up in prayer. If communication isn’t great in church, offer to help maybe if that is your strong point. If you are not happy with the worship sound Get involved, the parts of the church that isn’t working to your satisfaction is a call to you to help in Gods kingdom. Who knows Maybe God is telling you that that is where you are needed to bring excellence to His team. Don’t stand on the side line and judge the grey. Step in and make a difference.
I pray today, that if something is a worrying factor in your heart, you will stop sitting on the side-line and judge the fault line, and you will start elimination the grey. I pray that you will get to the place in your life where you don’t just assume, but rather be transparent and real about life and its realities. I pray that as I had to learn the hard way, you would rather look at the full picture and trust God for His perfect path once the door has closed, and that you will be patient in the waiting as He grows your roots deep and strong, in order for your ‘one day branches’ to spread far and wide to receive His blessing that you will be so blessed to be apart and able to one day share. I pray that most of all, you will keep praying and seeking the heart of God even in the days that you don’t understand, because as He has shown me His greatness in the full picture of our struggles and their blessed outcomes He will show you too.
Dig deep friends, and soak in as much as God can give!