I had just picked my son up from a birthday party. As we drove home, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw him sitting in his booster seat, staring out the window. I asked him if he had fun. “Yeah,” he said, continuing his gaze. We talked more about the party, but nothing stood out. I asked him a ton of questions and he answered them without any hesitation or emotion. My wife, a flight attendant, came home from a trip the next day and asked about the party, using the same question I’d asked: “Did you have fun?” But when he said “yeah,” she immediately asked, “What happened?” He was in tears within two minutes, telling her about a mean comment one of the boys said to him.
“Where did that come from?” I thought. I had asked a lot of questions the day before, but he never said anything about his feelings being hurt. When I asked my wife how she knew, she said, “It was subtle, but I could tell something was wrong.” Looking back, I probably should have seen it. The way he stared out the window and the lack of enthusiasm in his voice were subtle, but they were revealing. I just assumed he was tired, but his demeanor showed a whole different story. Small and subtle things have a way of revealing a lot about us—if we pay attention. They can tell us the strength in our character and where it’s starting to crack. If you want to know these things about yourself, pay attention to the subtle things. Here are 7 subtle things that reveal who you really are.
1. How You Spend Your Time
How you spend your time will tell you what you care about. Do you spend all your time on work, answering emails and phone calls from coworkers? How much time do you spend with your family in comparison? How much time do you spend giving selflessly to others? Or do you spend the majority of your time on yourself?
2. How You Start the Day
The way we begin our days sets the tone for how we approach situations and people. Jesus would often get up very early in the morning to spend time alone with God. Afterward, he would be ready to love and care for people. How do you start your days? Is each day’s start putting your mind and heart in a good place?The things you spend your time thinking about will drive your behavior.
3. What You Think About
What thoughts captivate your mind? The things you spend your time thinking about will drive your behavior. If you are doing things that are unproductive or hurtful, remember it all begins with your thoughts. Take control of them. Philippians 4:8 says that “whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Are you thinking about these things or the opposite?
4. What Tempts You
The things that tempt us show us who we really are by revealing our vulnerabilities. When we give in to temptation, it shows our weakness, depravity, and lack of self-discipline. What tempts you? What can you do to win early when temptation arises?
5. How You Talk About People
The manner in which we talk about people reveals the value we place on them. How do you talk about your kids, your wife or your kids’ mom, your boss, or your neighbor? How do you speak about the person who cut you off on the highway or the homeless man panhandling on the corner? Is there respect in your voice and a reverence for their dignity?
6. How You Spend Your Money
A friend of mine will ask people, “What’s your monthly budget?” Often, people will answer that they don’t have one. He’ll say, “Yes you do. It’s how you spend your money. You just don’t know what your budget is.” Whether we think about it or not, how we spend our money says a lot about our hearts and priorities. Are you intentional about it? What do you spend your money on?
7. What You Watch
The things we look at have a way of affecting our overall mood and attitude. Matthew 6:22 says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” Be careful what you decide to look at because it can be the difference between health and dysfunction.
Sound off: What are some other subtle things that reveal who you really are?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some things you like to think about?”