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A Glimpse into the Mind of the Invisible

 We have always been told as Christians to love everyone as ourselves so as to spread Christ's love; a very basic and common message that Christians receive but somehow we have stopped taking it so seriously. For as often as we hear about spreading Christ's love how often do we actually do it? Sure it's easy to show Christ's love to people that we know and love, but what about everyone else? Maybe there are even some people that we do know that we aren't giving enough attention and support to? Romans 12:13 says "contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality" but are we really seeking? Or are we just being hospitable when we are given the opportunity or when it's convenient? We need to be seeking out people who need to be shown hospitality and love.

      Especially in our world today we need people to really be paying attention to those who need Christ's love and I'm not just talking about those who have not accepted Jesus. There are plenty of Christians out there who need the love and support of Christ to be shown through their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Galations 6:2 says "bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." There are a lot of people bearing the full weight of their own burdens without anyone to share them with. There is only one problem with this though, how do you help those in need when so many people bury their burdens behind happy faces? The most simple solution would to just be nicer and more loving to everyone, but as all Christians know this is easier said than done. In my experience, the best way to improve a certain area of your life that you want to be more aligned with Christ is to start small and easy. Don't just try to tackle the whole issue you want to work on otherwise you'll only end up failing again. The best way to tackle the issue is to break it down into smaller step of action that are more realistic and more manageable giving you greater chance of success in changing that area of life in order to be more Christ-like. 

     While most people would just assume to try to be more loving toward everyone, doing this is the exact same thing as tackling the entire issue all at once. It's better to break it down and take baby steps toward being more loving toward everyone so you have a greater chance of the change being more genuine. Now, the baby steps are completely up to you and God to decide what they are and where to start, but allow me to offer a suggestion or an example of what you can do. I'm sure we all know that one person (maybe you know more) who is shy or more of a wall flower. They don't really jump into conversations but they still like being there. They'll gladly share their input if you ask them directly but otherwise they do not say much. Maybe they give an effort to be a part of social activities and gatherings even if they don't interact much or maybe they don't even go. Most people know someone like this. These types of people go by many names, the socially awkward, the wall flower, the third wheel. No matter what you call them they are still people in need of human interaction and involvement in social settings. These people usually are in greater need of these things than those who are outgoing and extraverted. Why do I bring this type of person up? Because probably for most of you reading you know a person like this, for me, I am that person. All my life I have been the wall flower, socially awkward, and almost always the third wheel. People tend to take the third wheel for granted, sometimes maybe even wishing that extra wheel weren't even there; but I know what it's like to be on the other side of that, to be the one taken for granted and to be the unwanted one. Let me tell you, this is by far not an easy burden to carry. This burden is so often carried alone because people usually don't take much of a genuine interest in the well being of the third wheel. We are the most likely to lie when people ask us how we're doing. Introverts have an easier time hiding our burdens from others because it is natural for our emotions to stay inside instead of being put on display for others to see. 

     One good way to start working on spreading Christ's love is to start taking more notice of those quite wall flowers such as myself. Even when we are surrounded by people we often feel quite alone because people tend to not take as much notice of people like us. What some outgoing people don't understand is how hard it can be for quiet people to jump into a conversation or even initiate one. Some people have no problem jumping into conversations and sharing their input but for people like me doing that sort of thing is one of the hardest things for us to do. There really is no way to describe it but it is so hard for us to do. However, just because it is hard doesn't mean we don't want to do it. In fact, in my case at least, it is the one thing I want to be able to do most. But since it is so hard we often stand on the sidelines of conversations unless we are directly involved in the initiation of the conversation or someone talks to us specifically. In situations where we find ourselves on the sideline of the conversation we often feel invisible. I can't tell you how many times I have felt invisible in the past few months alone. Have you ever felt invisible before? If you haven't then you don't know how bad it feels to be surrounded by people yet feel completely isolated. If you have, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. Feeling invisible wears on you quickly and is a difficult burden to carry because it is always carried alone. As soon as someone else comes to help with the burden, even if it is just one person, the burden nearly goes away because as soon as at least one person takes a genuin interest in you, you no longer feel invisible. Well, I for one am growing quite weary from carrying this burden. Romans 15:1 says "We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak..." There are a lot of people who are weak with the burden of feeling alone. Unfortunately it can be a little difficult to spot those that are carrying this burden because they are usually so good at hiding it. Usually the only time they will show any sign of the burden is when they are reaching a breaking point and are about ready to snap. It is very unhealthy and damaging to carry a burden like that alone for so long.

     So what can you do for these people when they are so hard to spot? Well, chances are, the reason that they are so hard to spot is because they are the people that you generally don't pay that much attention to, the very nature of these types of people is to blend in with the wall. The reason these people feel invisible is because the people around them are making them invisible. So start looking for those people that you might have been neglecting, look for the ones that don't seem to have much to say, start paying attention to those that you normally don't pay attention to, make an effort to include the wall flower, you'll be surprised to find out that even the third wheel can have a crazy and outgoing side. I personally believe that there is an outgoing person inside of everyone. For some people their outgoing person is at the surface 24/7 but for others, their outgoing side might need some coaxing in order to make an appearance. Once a quite person gets comfortable enough around you, you'll be surprised at how different they will act. There is a crazy and fun side to all shy people but the only way to see that side is to make them feel comfortable in the social setting that they are in. There are so many people just dying to let out their outgoing side but unfortunately all people see is the quiet bystander in the conversation. So, one very productive and helpful baby step to being a more Christ-like and loving person is to start looking for the people you usually don't pay much attention to. Chances are you are not the only one that often overlooks that person. Take a genuine interest in them, as soon as you do you will take away the burden of invisibility. So go out, share the burden of the quiet, include the wall flowers, and surprise yourself by getting to know a person that is probably completely different then what you thought they were like. Since it happens so rarely, we often take full advantage of those moments when we feel comfortable enough to show our crazy side. We quite people often have very interesting personalities once you get to know us. We have a lot more time to spend with our imaginations when no one pays attention to us.  

 

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