Friday, August 19, 2005

CSF starts a new year

Well, it's official.

Yesterday 140 Freshmen moved into Lincoln Residence Hall to begin the new year at the University of Illinois at Springfield! We had a great group of students who volunteered to help them move in - - carrying stuff, pushing carts, lofting beds, explaining laundry and i-card mysteries. I was so proud of our group - thanks guys!!

I notice when we start the school year and meet lots of new people and see old ones, I often have this sort of primal defense-mechanism I'd like to call my "negative default". I make all kinds of judgments about the students I meet and the students who are returning. And often, those judgments are negative. Now, I'm a pretty positive person, but for some reason, I assume that people aren't interested in spiritual things, or that they have a negative opinion of Christians on's this default in me that tries to keep me from being disappointed. I assume the worst, instead of the best.

So I move a student in and they don't at all respond to my witty comments or questions about their hometowns and interests.....instead of assuming that they're feeling a little overwhelmed and exhausted from moving, my default tells me that they don't like me, personally, or that they're at UIS to party...

When we meet students at move-in or club day and they express and interest but never come to a CSF event....instead of thinking about how intimidating it must be to be new, or how busy students are with school and work, my default tells me that they were turned off by something, or they were never really interested in the first place.

Jesus never looked at people like that. He always gave them the benefit of the doubt. He always expected the best, not the worst, from people.

My mom used to put it this way, "Always make excuses for people and their behavior. One day you may do something and wish someone would make an excuse for you". The point is this.....we all have bad days, external pressures, internal issues....make excuses for people and assume the best. It's part of being generous. It's being gracious .


Sara Walker said...

Gretchen!! That was GREAT!! Gene, Madison and I are in Japan and love to hear life in the "Big" Springfield, IL. I didn't realize how you and I have the same feelings about life, people and events. Especially meeting new people for the first time. I thought that meeting people would be easier as we get older and since we move around, it would be easier each time we move. It's NOT!! It's the same, if not harder because I don't want to leave the friends that I have left behind at the last base. So, my prejudices probably come out at each base and sometimes I'm the one making it hard to talk to people and think that they don't like ME! It's refreshing to know that we are all "in this together" so to speak.

Michael Tosh said...

Very True and Very easy to see how Jesus acts in this case...

But its very hard to do...we all make judgements about people...One more reason we all need Jesus and that wonderful gift called the Holy Spirit...someone has to keep us inline.

Jonathan said...

Note: When you paraphrase mom she sounds like Ghandi. When I paraphrase her, she sounds like the teacher from the Peanuts television specials.

Jeffffffffffffffff said...

why can't we just have Jesus move in everyone?

Actually I try to remember to kick myself when I am placing my split second judgements on people, which makes me looks silly, but it keeps it's better for the bigger picture.