For more than half my life I’ve been a public speaker. I’ve had many wonderful opportunities, speaking to 50 or 60, to upwards of a couple of thousand. Here’s what I’ve learned about me. In front of crowds I tend to be somewhat extroverted. When I’m in the crowd, I’m somewhat introverted.
Over the years my mix has leveled out much better. As we age we become like fine wine. With age comes beauty, with deeper and richer tastes. This only happens with the help of Jesus. One of His great attributes, besides His love, is His ability to recreate what’s broken.
“Temet Nosce” (Latin) “Know Thyself” Socrates.
“Socrates says, as he did in Phaedrus, that ‘people make themselves appear ridiculous when they are trying to know obscure things before they know themselves’. Plato also alluded to the fact that understanding ‘thyself,’ would have a greater yielded factor of understanding the nature of a human being.” (Wikipedia)
Paul the Apostle says it like this. “Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 AMPC
This ingrafting process was and is still one of the most difficult things I wrestle with today in my life. I know where I’ve come from. But I understand I have an identity in Christ that is one He designed for me and me alone. Regardless of where I’ve come from and what I’ve experienced, I have a new identity. It’s daily for me.
So crowds. How do you do when you’re in one? Crowds are a mirror of our identity. It’s a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves-how comfortable are you with you? Its identity.
6 Guidelines For Dealing with Crowds
- No matter how large the crowd is, its not really that big. Usually when I feel uncomfortable, I tend to exaggerate circumstance. I make it bigger than it really is. Calm yourself. Get in your space, and embrace who you are where you are. Grow into being comfortable.
- Relax and enjoy the moment. One of the things that traps us all is missing the moment, that is, counting on tomorrow to come. This moment may not come again. Capitalize on the moment and enjoy it. Make this moment count. Dont miss a thing.
- You’re not performing. Believe it or not, you’re not the center of attention. The event is a group gathering to celebrate something that’s happened or will happen in the future in a circle of family and friends. Don’t pretend. Don’t fake it. Enjoy it. Remember that introverts and extroverts respond to crowds differently. Learn to be a calm and peaceful you. So much joy comes through peace. Stay calm.
- Enjoy celebrations about you. For years, I never enjoyed my birthday or holidays. Most all of them as a kid were unforgettably uncomfortable, dysfunctional, and painful. We just couldn’t celebrate anything. Until I had a family, especially my wonderful wife Jenny, I just avoided it all. I filtered everything through past experiences. Maybe your experience was similar, or worse. Break up your past rhythm. It’s contagious. Learn to celebrate yourself when it’s your time.
- Interaction is important. If you’re alone try-just try to interact with someone you don’t know. Grow into it. Its all right to feel apprehensive and uncomfortable. If you’re the person being celebrated, take a breath. Maybe your family history was not the best, but put that filter on the shelf for this moment. Ask God to help you learn new filters. If you are the one being celebrated then enjoy your family and friends and particularly yourself. Take each moment as it comes and learn to enjoy celebrations about you.
- Crowd discomfort is a mirror image for our identity. When doing things a new way, we will always feel uncomfortable. That’s all right. We are forming a new identity. We all have a new identity in Christ. That’s what Jesus died for on the cross. No identity makeovers. Identity change. We have to ask for help. Why not ask for help from someone who will never fail you? You can be as close to Jesus as you want. Ask Him for identity help.
Psalm 68:5 …God will be a Father to the fatherless…