This past week, my teenager (it still pains me a bit to admit I have a teenager) had a writing assignment to identify 5 assumptions people make about her and if they are, in fact, true.
The idea of thinking about what people assume about you, got me thinking.
I wonder what people assume of me?
I have always loved the quote – “you know what they say about assuming – it makes an “a$%” out of you and me!
But we all still have a tendency to assume things about others. It’s just hard-wired into our DNA.
When we meet someone new, it’s super easy to make assumptions based on what they’re wearing, how their hair is styled, how they speak, and how they treat others.
In a lot of ways, assumptions can help protect us and keep us safe. If someone walks by with a black hooded sweatshirt and a gun in their hand is helpful to assume that you may be in danger and it is time to get away fast!
Other times these assumptions and judgments keep us from letting people in, trusting others, and creating new friendships.
Before you think I am on some high horse here, I was the worst at letting down my walls and letting people in. Due to things that have happened in my life, trust was something I never gave anyone. I even had a hard time trusting myself.
But one thing I have learned as I have concentrated on breaking down my walls and trusting other humans is that most people do deserve my trust. This may sound a little “Pollyanna-ish” (younger peeps, you can google that reference) but I sincerely believe most people are good and worthy of our trust. It has taken me a LONG time to admit that one.
Yes, there are still some people that will let you down, disappoint you and can even hurt you. But the reward of letting people in, far outways the risk.
Assumptions keep us from letting people in and truly allowing us to love and accept others which, by the way, is the “numero uno” commandment given to us by God.
The other day my water bottle spilled and leaked all over my phone in my purse and as a result, my phone was no longer in good working order. At the time I was on my way to an LDS (Mormon) temple for a dear friend’s wedding. I had never been to that particular temple before, but I figured temples are huge buildings with a big gold statue at the top and since I knew the general vicinity, I would be able to easily find it without my phone’s GPS. I took the exit and was immediately surrounded by tall trees that made it impossible to see anything beyond the street I was on, and before long I was lost. I had absolutely no idea where I was and how to get to the temple. As the ceremony starting time eeked closer and closer, I was freaking out.
At that moment in time, I had never missed my GPS so much. I finally gave up and made my way to a gas station to ask for directions hoping someone in the store would be able to point me in the right direction.
***I just want to give a quick shout out and a word of gratitude to Siri and phone GPS. Although you may lead me in the wrong direction from time to time you are there for me more often than not. I won’t admit it to my kids but I do kind of wonder how we ever lived without cell phones.
As I entered the store I made a quick visual sweep of the patrons inside. The guy at the cash register was all tattooed up and looked a little rough. The guy 2nd in line had a long crazy beard and then there was a young clean-cut girl in her late twenties. Assessing my in-store options I made my way to the clean-cut younger girl because she looked like “my kind of people”. But she was new in town and had no clue where the temple was.
Overhearing my question, Beard Guy turned around and knew right where the temple was and gave me easy to follow directions. As I made eye contact I saw he had a kind face and kind eyes, I honestly could feel his goodness. Then the tattooed cashier chimed in with some helpful advice and gave me a paper and pen to write down the directions. I left the gas station with clear directions and a humbled heart. I made it to the temple on time thanks to two people that I had made incorrect assumptions about.
I believe God sometimes places us in certain situations to help teach us. My phone broke for a reason that day (happy to announce it has made a full recovery) because I needed to be reminded, yet again, that making assumptions and judging people is not what God wants from us. He wants us to love our fellow men, not to love just those that are “like” us. He wants us to go beyond and love all of our brothers and sisters on earth.
We will assume things of others, it is called being human. But instead of sticking with our assumptions and immediately writing people off, let’s get curious and get to know one another. Let’s choose to trust and love one another, let’s choose to be more like our Saviour Jesus Christ who was the perfect example of how to treat human beings.