I did not notice this when I was coaching basketball, but I certainly recognize it now. When I enter a room, I often change the atmosphere. Standing at 6’1” and (none of your business how much I weigh) and being a Black female, sometimes, honestly, got in the way of how I was perceived when walking into a room. What if leaders put off their own personal badges of honor or injustice or despair or whatever you carry with you, and just wore the badge of Jesus when entering a room? This might not be a popular blog post, but I don’t get caught up in popularity contests. I want to know and speak the truth. And, the truth is, that we live in a society that almost forces us to take sides. Here is why … because when we enter a space and occupy that space, we come in with our own agendas, hurts, injustices, et cetera.
What if we entered every room wearing the badge of Jesus? For example, I do not enter a room shouting “I am a Black female, hear me roar and respect me.” I am proud to say, as the Director of the Seeds Project, our fellows do not enter this way either. They enter with the love of Jesus. What a difference that makes in our society. I am challenging all leaders (that’s everyone) to check how we enter a room. Do we have an agenda? Are we seeking our own good/will or God’s will/good? What are we trying to accomplish when entering a room full of hatred, malice, greed, envy, anger?
How did Jesus enter a room?
People liked Jesus. He was invited to weddings, parties, funerals, etc. Jesus always seemed calm, cool, and collected when He entered a room except when He turned over the tables. Jesus did not even get upset when the men tore up the roof to lower their friend down for healing. Something about Jesus’ demeanor intrigues me. He was confident yet not cocky. He was learned yet not arrogant. He was sure of Himself yet could reach all types of people with the Good News.
Let’s take an inventory of how we enter a room and modify our approach if necessary. Jesus prayed at Gethsemane: not My will, but the will of the Father be done. When we walk into a room, are we displaying our own will or the will of the Father? Whose agenda do we carry and what outcomes are we seeking? When we enter a room wearing the badge of Jesus, it opens up the space to so much potential and love. It allows us (those entering the room) and others (those already in the room) to begin a meeting with a clean slate and a feeling of love and connection.
Lastly, sometimes cultural differences make us nervous when we enter a room. I often write about cultural intelligence/competence. I recently wrote a workbook in an effort for people to get to know your neighbor. The purpose was not to sell books, but for people to grab their neighbor (those who know Jesus or not) and sit around a table or in a room, dialogue, and get to know one another while working through the workbook. This is a discipleship method, but most importantly, it is a way for us to know each other and truly love our neighbor.
In the United States, I feel like we live in a homeless society. There used to be days where Big Momma would sit on the porch and people would walk or drive by and say “Hey Mrs. White, how are you?” Then they would go to the next house and do the same: “Hey Mrs. Brown, how are you?” Now, we barely know our neighbors and won’t hardly speak to them or interact with them. This has gotten worse with Covid. We live in houses and in neighborhoods, but not in homes. The prophet Luther Vandross (for those who do not know, he was an R&B singer) said, “a house is not a home when there’s no one there to hold you tight and no one there you can kiss goodnight.” I pray this resource helps us feel comfortable entering into all settings, makes us a people who live and love in community again, and celebrate everyone’s uniqueness: Cultural Competence Workbook.
Your Turn: Actionable Steps
- Stop and breathe before entering a Zoom or other room
- Say a prayer and ask God to release any tension you might have before entering the room & for His wisdom
- Notice your heart rate before, during, and after the meeting
- Pray after the meeting and thank the Lord for His strength and wisdom
- If your mood or behavior was geared toward your will and emotions, instead of what the Lord might be desiring of you, write it down and change it!
You can do it! Let’s carry the badge of Jesus everywhere we go and watch the world turn around for the better.
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