Don't we all?
I deal with this stress by preparing in my mind a few topics to talk to them about because that oh-so awkward silence is really a downer during the first meeting. My son set me up for this. He has a friend at school and naturally they want to play outside on a gorgeous Friday afternoon in the sunshine.
This brings me to a lesson the Holy Spirit illuminated in my heart a few weeks ago. I was at church and had an awkward first meeting with someone. I knew them by name but had never met them face to face. Their reputation should have proceeded them but the first impression was bad. Bad jokes, cold body language and awkward silence. It was not until the first impression was burned into my memory that I connected their name and the information I previously knew about them, with that first meeting. I have always held this person in high esteem because of stories I have heard about them and positive relationships that others have with them. Odd that the two didn't seem to meet, until I realized the mirror God was holding up in front of my face.
I realized I act the same way- cold body language, awkward silence and bad first impressions. I do this because I have been hurt by community. Haven't we all? It's not a new story, it's an old wound that's still healing. I come into my day with the assumption that people know this, that they understand and that my stellar reputation should proceed me. I am dead wrong. People don't know our back stories, our history, or our pain and there is not a do-over when it comes to first impressions. They matter for a reason.
I can't live a day longer with the past tainting my new relationships. I am so thankful that God illuminated this. He really does renew our mind day by day when we listen. I am thankful that I have a new opportunity to make a new first impression today. Lord, help me not to waste these precious gifts.