Transmitting Faith

Transmitting Faith

8 seconds. That’s all it takes. Recent research says that we will decide within 8 seconds of meeting someone whether we want to continue to engage with them or not based on what they are transmitting non-verbally. Researcher Albert Mehrabian, professor emeritus of psychology at UCLA and famous for the 7%-38%-55% rule on verbal and nonverbal cues, says body language is powerful and often discounted by most people. Nonverbal communication accounts for 55% of the information we transmit overall during interpersonal interactions. 38% is attributed to the tone of one’s voice, while only 7% is conveyed through our actual words. Knowing this can be a powerful tool in how we share our work and our faith.

Everything communicates.

As a young actor in school, I’d spend class after class staring at another actor doing an acting exercise to learn how to interpret what was really being communicated by the subtle nuances and facial expressions of the other actor. It wasn’t the words we were taught to pay attention to but what was really being conveyed through body language and the tone of the other actor’s voice. Great actors know that the communication and story told by the actor’s character choices are often more important than even the words written in the script. Actors must play each moment in a scene. It’s why live theater is so fun and compelling to not only act in but to also watch.

Former FBI agent and body expert Joe Navarro said when he interviews a suspect, “It really is looking at an individual and asking, ‘What are they transmitting?’ We communicate by the clothes and shoes we wear, the hairstyle we choose, the kinds of foods we eat or don’t eat, and even how we eat and with our quirky habits and personal routines.

Each part of our body talks.

When you pitch a project, conduct business, audition, or work on a production or artistic endeavor, your body language is being read. As Christians often working in mainstream places, we’re called to lead with our talent and skills and not just be good at what we do, but be excellent. How we conduct ourselves with grace, kindness, integrity, and respect for others shows. It’s watched and judged in 8 seconds. Our faith and what we believe is observed, and no words may ever be spoken. Yet people sense that we possess something different and special that they, too, want.

Walk the walk and don’t talk the talk.

Be the lamp of God’s light for others to see. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” In today’s instant, opinionated, and depressed world, you only have 8 seconds. Whether you’re in an office, on a production set, or just standing in line or waiting for something, how you react when the pressure is on, and the kind of body language you use is noticed. You are communicating God’s light. It only takes seconds, but it may make a difference in someone’s eternity.

When you walk out the door each day, say a prayer to transmit light.

INNER VIEW with Author and Dating Coach, Jodie Swee

INNER VIEW with Author and Dating Coach, Jodie Swee

Are you trusting God through the process? The ins and outs of life can take unexpected turns, but read this month’s INNER VIEW with Jodie Swee as she encourages us to grow, view failure through a different lens, and earn our place of influence with others.

 

BIO

Jodie Swee is a spiritual director, dating coach, and founder of Topanga Social, a dating service for imperfect Christians. Jodie has authored four Bible study series and shared her joy and authenticity with audiences for over 20 years. She lives in the South Bay of Los Angeles with her husband of 16 years and their 2 daughters.

 

INNER VIEW

Kathleen Cooke:  What’s the one thing you’d like to share with women that God has recently taught you?  

Jodie Swee: Trust the process! Growth and accomplishment don’t usually happen overnight. If you spend quality time with Jesus regularly, seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and do your best with what you have, then trust that the Lord will take care of you and lead you to where you need to be.

When you trust the process, you discover an invitation to experience things differently. Failure becomes an opportunity to learn, detours become adventures, and the lack of control over external circumstances becomes a chance to surrender your internal perspective to the Lord.

I recently had a conversation with my best friend, and at that moment, I wasn’t trusting the process. Let me share with you what she told me.

She said, “Babies have to grow.” And she’s right. Our babies…our hopes, dreams, and expectations for the future… need to grow. They need to grow so that the Lord can teach us how to take care of them before they become unruly teenagers with their own ideas!

So, my dear friends, trust the process and enjoy the adventure it brings.

Kathleen: Failure today often dismantles us. How have you dealt with failures in your life?

Jodie: I hate failure. I loathe it. It makes me feel all squishy and small inside, and for many years I used to hide from it behind excuses. But not anymore. Instead of running and hiding from my failure, the Lord has taught me to turn and face it. Don’t get me wrong, I still HATE it, and it makes me feel icky inside. My initial instinct is still to run and hide, but the Lord has granted me the ability to pause before doing so (or before getting too far) and embrace my failure.I don’t embrace it for long, but rather than run from my failure, I receive it…and then bring it to the Lord and yield it. When I do that, he transforms it into something else…something beautiful and beneficial to me and/or others.

Twenty years ago, I was speaking at a young adult event in a church. I completely bombed. After I finished, someone in the crowd actually shouted, “That’s it?” I thought I would be consumed by shame. I blamed it on my lack of talent/skill and ended up quitting speaking for a decade. Until the Lord invited me to try again (which is a sweet, sweet story for another time).

Last year, I was speaking at another church event, and once again, I completely bombed. I experienced all the familiar feelings, but then I laughed (a little) and brought it to the Lord. In doing so, I discovered an opportunity to deepen my spiritual practices before and after speaking. The failure became a gift that will serve me and others for the rest of my life.

For a long time, I thought that someday I would be so wise and experienced that I wouldn’t fail anymore. Bless my naive little heart! Now, I am indeed wiser and more experienced…and I know I’ll never outgrow failure (this side of eternity). It’s not something to outgrow or run away from. It’s something to embrace, even with its uncomfortable feelings, and surrender so we can experience more of God’s transformative love in our lives.

Kathleen: You have a deep passion to help others with growing strong, meaningful relationships. What have you learned about developing relationships that last and can be trusted?

Jodie: I have a deep and fierce love for people, and I pastor many. It is my purpose and passion. However, personally, I tend to be somewhat of a loner. Surprisingly, my inner circle is quite small, not by choice but by some intentional design, I believe. Throughout my adult life, I have consistently sought out a steady mentor, but I have never had one. Nevertheless, I have been fortunate to receive bits of wisdom from older friends who have come and gone throughout my journey.

I have ADHD, and I’m not awesome at keeping up with people who live far away. (Out of sight, out of mind is LEGIT for us neurodivergent homies.) I didn’t meet my best friend until I was 42. She was leading worship; I was giving the message…and we bonded for life over the realization that we both experienced the love of Jesus through the TV series Outlander. (That’s weird, I know…but that’s why she’s my bestie.)

My relational experience over the years has taught me to enjoy and delight in what I have, grieve and release what has been lost as a natural part of life, and always be on the lookout for my next kindred spirit to pop up in an unexpected place.

Kathleen: What’s the one thing you’ve learned about how we can influence others?

Jodie: Honestly? I’ve learned that influence can be a sneaky and destructive beast, and it is important for us to be mindful of how we wield it and the individuals we permit to influence us.

Influence should not be won; it should be earned.

I believe that it is earned by faithfully pursuing our calling with our whole lives (public and private), being honest and saying “I don’t have an answer to that” when we don’t, and being intentional about sitting under the authority and influence of God. Any influence we have not supported by a firm foundation in Jesus is just an invitation for that sneaky Satan to twist and misuse. Influence shouldn’t puff us up or make us strong; it should keep us humble and desperately in need of the Lord’s guidance.

Connect with Jodie:
Book a free intro session at: JodieSwee.com

Instagram: @jodieswee and @topangasocial