Have you ever walked into a room full of people and felt not included? Did you wonder if you should initiate a conversation or awkwardly wait for someone to initiate or include you? I have felt this in family gatherings because I live far away and I often feel like the outsider looking in. They all live together and bond on a regular basis. I know they love me, but I am not a part of their daily lives. Because I travel and speak, I am on a frequent basis the outsider coming in to an already established community. It is awkward if I let it be, but I have learned something that has helped me. God is an includer and an initiator. Since, He is the ultimate leader I want to follow and imitate, I need to grow in these character qualities.
I have been reading through my Bible since 1992 and over and over I am blessed by these two leadership truths: initiate and include. We are called to be includers and initiators as well. In Genesis 1:27, we are told in the creation account that God created man in His image. And if that was not enough, He then created male and female in His image. God included mankind in His creation and then initiated an invitation to mankind to be fruitful and multiply. Mulitplication can only happen when two or more initiate and include. When Adam and Eve sinned, God initiated the conversation when Adam and Eve hid. God sought to include them in a conversation when they sought to hide in their shame. God's plan always includes us! Are we willing to engage when God initiates with us?
Even Jesus when He began His ministry initiated relationships by seeking men of good character to include in His journey while on earth. And when Jesus sent the disciples out to make disciples He told them to go in twos. This demonstrated inclusion with one another before initiating inclusion with others. So, when I find myself standing in a room of people I remind myself to initiate and include. I often stand and look over the room and pray asking God who He wants me to initiate and include. God has given me some of the dearest friendships through this process. It is what God has done for me and it is what I need to do for you. When my kids were little I would tell them, "If you want a friend, you gotta be a friend." Friends are born only when we are willing to initiate and include. Look around you today and see who you might need to initiate and include. Break the awkward silence and take the steps to begin a conversation. Who knows what God might do as you initiate and include!