As this month winds down, I've noticed some habits I'm not sure what I think of.
I catch myself saying "Nah" rather than "no" or "No, thank you," "No, sir" or "No, ma'am."
I invite myself places. I did it again today. The results turn out good for me, but I'm sure it violates all the rules of etiquette. I try to make it clear to the other person that they can say no, if he or she would rather me not come along, and sometimes that's what they do.
It just seems like if I wait for someone to invite me, I'll end up doing things alone or not at all.
What I've noticed about this is that it's easier for me to ask if I can go along to someone else's event than it is for me to invite someone to come to mine. That's partly because when I have invited someone, it usually hasn't worked out, which makes it harder for me to try again. Plus, I'm always doubting whether anyone would really be interested in what interests me. (Bassmaster Classic, anyone? I actually had a pleasant surprise when friends did accept my invitation and enjoyed getting to know about this distinctive fishing event.)
On today's deal, I could have just shown up on my own, but since I know someone who had indicated on Facebook that she was going, I called her to confirm. That's how I ended up inviting myself to be her guest.
Another part of it is that it really does seem like God put this opportunity in front of me. I had been wanting to see the friend. I missed my regularly scheduled spiritual gatherings this week. Through Facebook, I became aware of Ladies Night at her church, with the program on Fear and Anxiety. And then my husband planned a quick trip that would take him away from home overnight, so I would have been alone for the evening.
But was it really God's plan? Or was this just me trying to control a situation and do what I wanted to do? The fact that I called my friend was pretty far from the norm for me and a clue that divine intervention was involved.
What continued to happen as the evening progressed provided further evidence to me that none of this was coincidence. The meeting's prayer focus and my renewing of a bond of friendship will strengthen me as I move through a period of transition (typically a major source of fear and anxiety) in important areas of my life.
Looking back at where I started this, I'm sure I'm OK with being aware of those habits. The first one, my casual way of saying no, should be fairly easy to correct now that I have it in mind. "No, thank you" will be my preferred response.
As for inviting myself to do things with other people, I choose to see it as following the prompting of God. I never do it without praying, including a request that God stop me from intruding if it's not His will. Still, it's not always clear. And I'm very aware that it doesn't follow the rules of etiquette. But I also know that God's ways are not always our ways and don't always follow the rules of man or etiquette experts.
I'm grateful to realize I'm also having more success at inviting others to join me. I just remembered another case in which I will follow through tomorrow. Reaching out, whether to invite someone to join me or to ask if I can join someone else, requires me to face some fears and self-doubt, which I can only do by trusting in God. And He is always faithful to be present with me if I will allow him to,
"God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)
"I can be strong and courageous. I will not be afraid or tremble, for the Lord goes with me. He will not fail or forsake me." (Isaiah 41:10)