So, I pull her aside in the lobby of a hotel in Arkansas.
I want to know what she knows. I want to know what makes her spirit sparkle like that.
I want to know how someone can always track joy across the carpet every time she walks into a room. (But never once makes it all about her.)
And yeah, of course, the answer is Jesus. That’s the simple, obvious answer. But there’s something about how she responds to Jesus’ presence in her life.
That’s what makes all the difference.
I put a hand on my new friend’s shoulder in that hotel lobby. We’ve spent the weekend at a retreat together. And it’s that time when everyone’s saying their goodbyes. People walk by, pulling wheeled suitcases behind them.
And she doesn’t flinch when I ask her some questions.
Her name is Sally. Her hair is pulled into this tousled ponytail. And she is wise beyond her years when she answers.
“My dad,” she says, and she pauses, while this wide smile stretches across her face like a sunrise. “It was about the way Dad walked into a room.”
Sally tells me more.
Her dad taught her that when you walk into a room, you never say, “Here I am!”
Instead, you say, “There you are!”
You don’t actually have to say the words out loud, but you might. You can speak with your whole self.
You want to make a difference in the world? You want to spread joy? You want to let people know they matter?
It starts with how you walk into a room.
It starts with “There you are.”
That’s the essence of self-forgetfulness. That’s the spine of being other-referenced. That’s the heartbeat of serving our fellow man, putting someone else first, following the Golden Rule. It’s gospel humility. It’s not thinking less of yourself – but thinking of yourself less.
It’s the pulse of Jesus, who believed so much in the truth of “There You Are” … that He entered straight into it – not with some grand Red Carpet entrance, but with the humility of a barn-floor birth.
Jesus walked into the room. Into the mess. Into the middle.
Into the heart of things.
Into your life.
It’s fundamental to what we believe.
It’s all about how you walk into a room.
It’s also about how you walk into a mission field, into the dinner party, into your Facebook news feed, into your living room after a long day at work, into the church sanctuary, into your kids’ messy bedroom.
You can’t lose when you enter a room with a new view that’s less about you.
With a little less, “Here I am.”
And a bit more, “there you are.”
Leaving tracks of joy – and a generosity of spirit – wherever your feet may take you.
Read more encouragement by Jennifer Dukes Lee in When Waiting Is Hard
Jennifer Dukes Lee used to cover crime, politics, and natural disasters as an award-winning news journalist in the Midwest. Now, Jennifer uses her reporting skills to chase after the biggest story in history: the redemptive story of Christ. Soon, her words will make their way into her debut nonfiction Christian book, Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval – and Seeing Yourself through God’s Eyes.She and her husband live on the Lee family farm in Iowa with their two daughters.
To learn more about the author, please visit Jennifer Dukes Lee