Additional "Christ in the Cubicle" Articles


Don’t tell. Show.
Published: 2/12/2011 10:37:35 AM


One of the first rules I learned in my career as a writer was this: Show. Don’t tell.

Rather than summarizing and laying it all out, write in a way that invites the reader to fully experience the story through detailed words, thoughts and feelings. Instead of saying, "She’s tired,” say, "Gravity yanked her eyelids shut as her heavy bones and throbbing muscles collapsed onto the bed.”

Bored yet? Experiencing flashbacks of college English classes? Well, there’s a reason I’m telling you this. Promise.

"Show, don’t tell” is a powerful strategy not only for writing, but for living, loving and sharing Christ’s infinite love.

Let’s start with the cubicle (or office or home office or wherever you work). Imagine you’re negotiating a raise, a benefit, flexible work hours, whatever it might be. Something you want, but need to convince your boss of before it becomes a reality. It’s easy to tell, right? To say, "I deserve this, and here’s why…” But it’s smarter to show. Prove through your solid judgment and proactive attitude that you’re capable of added responsibility. Yes, sometimes it’s necessary to show then tell, but the actual showing? Well, that’s what matters the most.

Same goes with loving your family. Whether it’s romantic love between spouses or agape love among families, showing means much more than telling. It’s important to say "I love you.” However, those three words can be empty if "love” isn’t a verb. Showing your love for your family, such as relishing in moments together and caring for them, is the most powerful way to love one another. For instance, this Valentine’s Day go beyond telling your spouse you love him or her, and instead, plan a memorable evening, create something together or simply laugh until your stomachs hurt. You’ll cherish it forever. Again, it’s the actions, over the verbiage, that yield the most joy.

Last, but certainly not least, showing goes a long ways in sharing Christ’s love with others—especially those who run away screaming with any mention of His name. Christians often get a bad name for over-sharing, over-telling, over-stepping. Reaching out doesn’t always have to happen with words. Even the simplest of actions, like treating your waitress, your barista or your grocery-bagger with humble kindness, are ways to show Christ’s love.

Non-Christians might not care what you have to say about God. But they’re probably watching you. Think of it this way: our lives might be the only Bible some people will ever read. Reading and studying the Bible is one thing. But living it is another. Christ’s Word should live and breathe in you, through your thoughts and actions.

But here’s where it gets tricky: there are lots of genuinely kind people out there who do not believe in God. How can you let others know who fuels your peaceful, sunny outlook on life?

Matthew 5:16 tells us, "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” In other words, shine the light on His goodness.

How do we reach out to a lost world without scaring them away?

Baby steps work well, like silently bowing your head and saying grace at a restaurant. Or with a simple "God bless” at the checkout line. Or dropping a handwritten Bible verse in the tip jar.

But, in truth, it’s hard. Each opportunity is unique. Look to God for the answers. Pray about it. Ask for guidance and creativity to overcome the awkward moments. And keep this in mind: God made each of us different so that we can make a difference in this world.

"Show, don’t tell” as a literary strategy requires more words to provide the details. But in life, showing is about stripping away the words and leaving smiles, laughter, forgiveness, hope and, ultimately, love. His love, through you.

What a blessing that our Lord not only tells us of his great love for us, but showed us by sending His son, Jesus, to be one of us and take the punishment for our sin!

Angie Laxdal

Visit her blog at

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