One of my nerdy hobbies is studying body language. There’s this principle that fascinates me, and it’s that your body speaks louder than what you say. Communication experts estimate that somewhere between 75-90% of communication is nonverbal. One of the things I learned from my studies is that your feet are a great indicator of whether or not you’re engaged where you are. You might be smiling and nodding, even making listening noises, but if your feet are pointed away from the person who’s talking, it usually means you don’t want to be there. Likewise, when a person grows tired of a social setting, their feet will begin to point toward the door, one of first signs that they are planning an escape.
One thing I’ve learned about life is that it’s always changing. That can be really, really hard. I have loved ones all over the world and to be honest I wish we could all get together in one city and just stay there together forever. But that’s just not how it works. Someone gave me some great advice the other day, “So often we try to rush through the waiting periods of life, but God has plans for us there, too.” A lot of times I want to be somewhere different, doing something else. But I don’t always get to make those decisions. The best way I’ve found to deal with these feelings is to choose a good attitude. When I focus my time and energy on how I can best love and encourage the people that are around me, I have much less time to waste on yearning for something else.
Another thing about body language is that you can trick people. If you deliberately position your body, you can stop it from telling your secrets, like you don’t want to be having this conversation. A psychology principle is that you can sorta trick yourself too. People who smile more are happier. People who are dreading a party, but walk into the room smiling with their shoulders back have a better time than people slumped in the corner. When we pretend to be one way, we become that way.
Where are your feet pointing? Do you need to reposition them toward the people or the place where God has you for this season? When you do, you will probably find it easier to love them, for C. S. Lewis said, “Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did…. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him” (Mere Christianity). I think the same is true for the waiting periods.
I’m repositioning my feet so I can embrace where I am now, even though I don’t know for how long that will be. Do you need to?