Some of you may know, and some may not...I am a trained actress.
I've had the great privilege of studying under some of the best acting teachers in the country.
One trait that every great actress possesses is that she is constantly observing.
My phenomenal acting coaches drilled this into my head! Although I'm not saying that I'm great.
If I should ever hope to play a homeless woman, I better know how she walks, how she talks, what she carries in her cart with her. I need to try to determine her back story. What does she eat? How does she smell? Dress?
If I desire to play a debutante, a lion tamer, or a widow the same holds true.
Thus, I am an observer.
ALL THE TIME, I am observing.
Pretty much anywhere I am, I can tell you who is around me within about a 24 foot radius. I can tell you who they're with, what they're wearing, perhaps even what they're eating...definitely what they're driving if I'm in a parking lot.
If I'm in a restaurant, my back is never to the door. If I'm in a parking lot, I'm scouring it as I walk to my car.
I've avoided being mugged 3 times because I'm constantly watching what's going on around me.
And I do this with the people in my life, especially when looking for mentors and
those whom I am willing to give the right to speak the hard things into my life.
Are they living a life I'd want to imitate?
Is their marriage in Biblical order?
How do they talk about their husband?
How often do they talk about other people behind their backs?
How much time do they spend in the Word of God and in prayer?
What do I see in their children? In their relationships with their children?
How do they spend their time and their money?
Do they give of their first fruits to the Lord, every time, without fail?
And, when they give counsel...do they wait upon the Lord? Are they tender hearted?
Are they willing to speak the hard things into my life when I ask them their true opinion, not sugar-coating anything, but also with a love for God first and a love for me second?
Are they people of humility, or are they always right?
Have I ever heard them say that they were wrong? That they had to ask forgiveness of someone?
These are the qualities that I look for in a Paul(ina), and I am so incredibly blessed to say that I have several in my life.
These are the women that I call when I'm certain I've blown it with my kids, my husband, my friends.
They are the ones that I call when I'm in a torrent of confusion and can't see the truth in a situation.
They're the ones that I can tell anything to, knowing that it will NEVER be repeated.
They're the ones who know my failures, because they make it safe for me to share them.
They pray for me. They counsel me. They laugh with me. They cry with me.
They reassure me when I've done nothing wrong, but have been falsely accused.
And...just as importantly, they let me know when I've really messed up and they pray with me to have the courage, and the words to make things right.
They are women who dearly respect and love their husbands, and who NEVER talk disrespectfully about them.
They are women who KNOW the Word of God, and have an ability to offer quick application of it to me.
And interestingly enough, almost all of them are 10 - 20 years older than I am.
With age, and time in the Word, comes wisdom.
I am the beneficiary of So. Much. Wisdom!
These are the women who truly could say to me, as Paul said to the Corinthians, "be imitators of me," because in countless ways, I'm already trying to be!
They share with me the hard things they've done in their lives because JESUS called them to.
One of my Paulinas cared for her mother in her home for 7 years as she was dying. Almost before she had time to catch her breath, she then moved her father and step mother (who had caused the breakup of her parents' marriage) into her home and lovingly cared for them.
On her step mother's death bed, she repeatedly shared the Gospel with her...and she knows today that her step mom is now with Christ. As is her mother, and her father...both of whom she also shared the Gospel with in their last days.
This Paulina has taught me about giving. I didn't grow up learning much about that...sacrificial giving, abundant giving. It's because of her that God tugged at my heart that first fruit giving is obedience, but that sacrificial giving...that's where the real joy comes in!
It's also because of her example that I know that one day if the Lord calls me to care for some of the people in my life who have caused me the greatest heartache, I'm prepared. I've already given the Lord my word that I would wipe their bottoms and clean their bedpans if that's what He calls me to do.
All because my Paulina went before me, and set such a breathtakingly beautiful example for me to imitate!
I cherish my Paulinas. I dearly, dearly love them.
They make me better because they point me to Jesus in love and graciousness, and they love me...oh, how they love me...as I do them.
If you don't have a Paulina in your life, and you'd like to see your relationship with Christ really grow by leaps and bounds, I encourage you to pray and ask the Lord to bring one to you.
But observe her first.
Use the questions I've shared above if you'd like...and add those which are important to you.
Don't just give anyone the privilege to speak into your life, make sure you've tested their character and walk with Christ, through observation first.
As hard as it is to believe, even Christians can be used as weapons of unrighteousness when we aren't walking by the power of the Holy Spirit.
That's called friendly fire, and it's terribly painful.
Look for Paulinas who know more of the Word than you do...considerably more. And are living it out on a daily basis. Those are the ones who will give you Godly counsel in grace and love.
Look for a Paulina who loves God and loves others, because she will be able to LOVE you, as Paul said he did the Corinthians...(even in their pridefulness and sin).
Look for a Paulina you want to imitate, because you observe her imitating Christ Jesus.
And once you find her, tell her often how very much you love and appreciate her!
In His Love,
1 Corinthians 11:
9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.
11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless;
12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are
persecuted, we endure;
13 when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.
14 I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children.
15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.