Typically, that's not a phrase I like to hear. I am a southern belle of sorts,and my accent is more pronounced around other southerners. And mine is not a nice Scarlett O'Hara voice, dripping with so much charm you can almost smell the magnolias. No, mine is more of the Jeff Foxworthy redneck type. (I am a little bit redneck, so don't anybody get offended!) So when I hear, "You're not from around here, are you?" I am usually in a different state (though here I will refrain from using the term "Yankee"!) and I take it almost as an insult.
So as we were driving to the beach to begin our vacation, we stopped in a Columbia, SC McDonald's for lunch. After a very long wait and terrible service, I should have been quite frustrated. I was staring at the fountain drink dispenser, looking in vain for the button that squirts only water. NOW I began to get annoyed, because my 3 year old son only wanted water, and I feared that a public meltdown was imminent if I didn't come up with some H2O.
The janitor asked me what was I looking for, and I told him. He directed me to ask the drive-thru girl to get it for me. (Huh?) I don't know what kind of expression I had on my face, but I know what I felt like inside. I was ready to scream! And then he said it.
"You're not from around here, are you?"
But before I could get even angrier, he said this: "That's not a bad thing. You just don't carry yourself like you're from around here."
My anger instantly subsided. I'm in a McDonald's in the capital of the state. Big town. I would not instantly presume that anyone was an out-of-towner simply because they were in McDonald's. And, like I said, I was a southerner in South Carolina. My accent blended in just fine, y'all.
So what was it about me that he identified as "foreign?"
I believe that it was the Holy Spirit, that's what. I think that God's presence in me was evident on my face outwardly, even if I didn't feel it inwardly at that very moment. Maybe that janitor just needed a friendly face right then. A bright spot in his day. So God showed him one without me even knowing it!
And I (with God's presence) stood out. In a good way. So, as the title of this blog says, I'm on a quest for relevance. An alien in a twisted world, trying to figure out how to survive, contribute and reach that world without becoming a "victim" of it.
No, Mr. Janitor. I'm not from around here. One day I'll be back home with my Father.
God can use us in any circumstance, whether we are feeling Spirit-filled or not! But wouldn't it have been great if my countenance really had been a cheerful, patient one like that janitor thought I had?
Oh Father, empty me of myself, and refill me with Your Spirit. Let me be dimished, and You be magnified. Let Your presence be all that others see in me...