I have awakened to the incessant barking of our new neighbors dogs, that she so intelligently leaves outside from the early morning hours until she returns home from work in the afternoon. I have heard neighbors yelling at the dogs, so I'm hoping someone calls the sheriff. I, myself have drafted a letter, and will be putting it on their door. I'm hoping to give them a chance to take care of it themselves, without having to resort to calling the sheriff.
I'm an action person. I know that most of these neighbors will quietly stew about the dogs, and do nothing, even though they have been awakened at 4:30 in the morning. I don't understand people who don't take action on things. I think it's quite wimpy. If something bothers you, do something about it! Just fix it.
I guess some people would rather "keep the peace" or not come across as "mean." I say, that's avoiding conflict at your own expense! What are you trying to keep the peace for? To please people? To make sure everybody likes you? To be everybody's best friend? Please. Even if you tried your darndest, there would still be people who wouldn't like you, so why even try!?! And, by the way, you don't even have to speak up in a mean way. There's lots of polite ways to ask for what you want. But, maybe you even think that directly asking for what you want is mean! Well, I'm sick of "nice."
I read a little book not too long ago called "Nice Girls Don't Change The World," by the wife of Bill Hybels. It's awesome. It was at a time in my life when I realized I was being too nice, and not being my authentic self. I was still pretty much an action person, but when I would get around people, I would be this, nicey-nice person. The day it made me mad, was when someone from my old church staff, referred to me as "that, nice quiet girl." It made me mad, because that's not who I am!! I realized that I was trying to be so nice and accomodating around people. I would hear myself laugh that stupid, nice-girl laugh, and it started ticking me off. I would allow people to say things and wouldn't call a "time-out" on it. I would think about it later, and wish I would have said something. I think it comes from not really having a voice growing up, and having that programmed into my brain. I've been working on that for years now.
I'm getting better at the spontaneous interactions with people, and being my authentic self more. I'm good at writing letters to a neighbor with annoying dogs, but that spontaneous stuff is more difficult for me. But, the spontaneous stuff - the relational stuff is where the authentic me really needs to come out more. I'm working hard on that, and learning from the hard lessons in my life.
Why do we try to portray ourselves so perfectly to other people? Why can't we just be real? Nobody can relate to us when we put up this perfect front. That's why Paul said we should "boast in our weaknesses." As a small group leader, I did this a lot. I wanted the gals in my group to be have something to relate to - to know that they were not alone in their struggles. I wanted to be a leader on the same level, not above them in some way. I didn't want the seekers or baby Christians to get any sense that they had to attain to some kind of perfection, when it was Jesus who made them perfect. I just knew how I looked up to some pastors and leaders, and how intimidating that could be, if I viewed them as some kind of infallible human beings. After meeting some very transparent ones, I realized that I respected them more, and could be myself around them more....
I've known people I've really wanted to be friends with, but they are just so darn perfect all the time, it was like an impenetrable wall. It becomes such a turn-off. You can't get close to them. Perhaps I have been this way in the past, but never again. If you think about it, boasting in our weaknesses, glorifies God more. It shows that He is the one who makes us who we are, not us. If we try to portray ourselves so perfectly, it's really relying on our own strength to only appear righteous. The Bible says no one is righteous, so why are we trying to fake it? God knows the truth, and he set us free. When we can show how God took our weaknesses and faults, and has changed us for the better, He is glorified instead of us.
No more Miss Nice Girl.