Christian insprirational

Don’t Shrug it Off

“That’s very attractive. Where can I get that?” A woman at the Estes Park Wool Market asked me as I walked around the vendor booths wearing what is known as a shrug. This particular garment is knitted or crocheted like a shawl, but the sleeves are sewn closed to the elbow. This keeps the shawl snug. Hence the term, shrug.

I told her they were available a few yards from where we stood and pointed her to where she could find them. Then I smiled to myself. It wasn’t an accident that I was walking through the vendor tents wrapped in a knitted shrug in the middle of June. It was intentional.

You see, years before this incident, I met a woman named Rita who made these exquisite wraps and I tried one on for the first time. She had forgotten to bring her mirror that day for her booth but gave me permission to walk to a neighboring booth and use their mirror. As I examined my reflection, a woman approached me and asked where I bought it. I told her I was trying it on and directed her to Rita’s booth. In the time it took me to examine the shrug’s fit, two other women asked where I found this unusual piece of clothing.

Before I could return to Rita’s booth, three women purchased shrugs from her and said they did so because they saw another person (me) wearing one. This began a new friendship as Rita and I hatched a plan. Every year after that, the first booth I stopped at when attending the market was Rita’s. I’d slip on one of her creations, and then stroll among the vendor booths shopping and chatting with other shoppers. It often worked a treat and increased Rita’s sales. Out of gratitude she would sell me a shrug of my choice at a greatly reduced price. It was not uncommon for her to fashion one just for me and bring it along to the market for my modeling gig.

During the course of a several year association, Rita told me there was nothing more powerful or influential than one-on-one contact, explanation and sharing of experiences. She taught me there are many ways to influence people. She emphasized that demonstration is one of the great influencers for positive, or negative, outcomes.

Over the past several years, I’ve lost contact with Rita because she stopped coming to the market. But when I have occasion to wear one of her beautiful creations, I reflect on the lessons she taught about people being attracted or repelled by what they can see and hear for themselves. I’ve incorporated her wisdom in a philosophy that attraction is more effective than promotion. I have come to understand, particularly in the last year that how I carry myself, wear my faith and speak my truth can all be influencing others for God’s kingdom. And that is what I am really called to model, to the best of my ability, at all times.

I want to be honest and openly admit that I’ve not done a stellar job of this in recent months, as I have repeatedly given into fear, anger and frustrations. I’m afraid I’ve taken too lightly the assignment of modeling Christ as I walk through joy and difficulty. I am asking God to forgive me for my actions and my attitudes that have fed those actions. Where needed, I’ve asked forgiveness from others who I may have hurt or offended. I’ve also offered forgiveness to those who have hurt or offended me, whether they make amends or not.

It is also very important to understand that I do not advocate for silencing our voices or opinions. God calls us to find peaceful ways of restoring justice and living in harmony with each other. Speaking our mind can be done in ways that do not cause more harm. The Bible calls it speaking the truth in love while trying to be more Christ-like in maturity (Ephesians 4:15).

I’ve asked God to help me be more aware of how I’m presenting Him to the world. Because awareness without action will never pave a road for change, I’m asking Him to help me daily take my responsibility seriously to shine His light and warmth to a world needing His truth more than ever before. I’m clinging to the objective of behaving in such a way that others will say, “That’s very attractive. Where can I find that?” And mostly I’m asking Him, when given opportunity to interact with others, that I put my responsibility to Him before all else, praying I will avoid temptation to just shrug it off.

One of Rita’s gems

Copyright Feb, 2021 Laura L. Padgett, Montrose, CO

Connect with me, Laura Padgett, on Twitter @lauraleepadgett or my Facebook Author Page

Check out the books I have published

“Dolores, Like the River,” available at Westbow Press, Barnes & NobleAmazon and all major online retailers. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page

The award-winning “Jesus in Shorts: Twenty-five Shorts Stories of Life-Changing Jesus Moments,” available now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you live in the U.S. and would like an autographed copy sent directly to you, click on the tab for buying books on my home page.