Over the past several months I have had the utmost pleasure of teaching our youth ministry on Saturday nights at church, and I say what an honor it is to be a part of speaking into the bright young minds of tomorrow. There are several things in particular that I would like to mention that these awesome kids teach me, which I hope they learn from me as much as i learn from them.
It is the lessons that I have learned in the classroom that I believe you should take into your personal classroom. Whether that is work, school, family, friends or simply wherever you have the ability to speak wisdom into someone’s life.
Something that everyone can agree upon is that we all strive to noticed. I do it, you do it, we all do it. Whether its to be noticed by our peers, family, or God , we all want to someone to acknowledge that we matter. You matter. Those two words possess such great power and are life changing. Think of the last time you heard those words.
I couldn’t have done it without you.
I have seen the difference in my students when I use words such as these and it breaks me down to see that we, myself included, omit these words from our conversations and priorities. We can become so focused on life that we neglect the things that are truly important.
This is how the story of Mary and Martha played out, Martha was so worried about the presentation of “things” for the arrival of Jesus to her home, but it was Mary who understood the true significance of why she was there. It was she who saw the significance of simply putting the busyness of life aside and wanted to be taught what was truly important by who was most important.
Another very important thing that I have learned in is that people don’t have signs around their necks that say “Do you notice me?” “Do you value me?”. Kinda obvious I know! I do know that we all ask this from time to time, but most importantly most people, even strangers, are saying “Let me know how to help you because I’m dying to.” “I want to give you what I have, but I’m just dying for you to ask me.” I cannot tell you how many times I find myself screaming this on the inside as I see someone who I’d do almost anything for go though a rough spot or need help. Now i am so grateful to God for having this insight because it really showed me that this is important for all of us on a people to people relational level, but also just as important on the us and God level.
God is saying those exact words, for in Matthew 7:7 we are told to ask, seek, and knock. Imagine the amazing things that would happen if we did. If we took God and those around us at their word.
I know that many of these things are difficult to do. Growing up I was the kid that sat in the back and didn’t really contribute much, even when I had the solution to the problem at hand. I’m grateful that over time God has put a desire in my heart to want to teach, despite how stressful it can be at times. One thing we all want is the ability to connect. Connection is the reason why we are here. But I have learned myself over the years that to connect with others we must become vulnerable. To be vulnerable means we have to be seen. That is why I sat in the back of the classroom growing up. I worried about being seen, or rather being vulnerable. I have now learned that the main thing that will keep us form connecting with other people is the fear that we are not worthy of connection.
God wants us to live our lives whole heartily. Jesus tells us in Deuteronomy 6:5 “Love your God with your whole heart: love him with all that is in you, love him with all you’ve got!” After watching people who live “whole heartily” I have discovered several keynote attributes of them.
Whole hearted people…
Have the courage to be imperfect.
Have the compassion to be kind to themselves first as well as to others.
A willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they really were.
They fully embraced their vulnerability.
The last one is most vital in my option because what makes you vulnerable, is what makes you beautiful. This feeling isn’t comfortable, but it isn’t horrible and frightful, its simply necessary. For me vulnerability is when one does something where there are no guarantees, or a real example, the willingness to say “I love you” first. Whatever the example is we all can relate to this instance.
Vulnerability is one of the greatest gifts and a true blessing from God. It is where our joy, creativity, love, compassion all come from, however it is also the same place where shame, fear, struggle for worthiness also come from if we succumb to lies we tell ourselves. We all know what they sound like. Your not blank enough. Your not this enough. To be honest I’ve fallen prey to that sort of negative thinking. The most effective way to remedy this is to simply let ourselves be seen in a vulnerable way. To love with our whole hearts, even when there is no guarantee. I can tell you from experience of traveling, and moving about to the opposite side of the country that it is tremendously difficult, but totally worth it. When those feelings of questioning do come and worry begins to seep into my mind, instead of regretting my circumstance, I thank God because to feel scared about something that is important simply means that I am alive and not numb to life around me.
I learned recently that educate come from the root word “educe” which according to the English Oxford Dictionary means to “bring out from within”, “bring out potential.” and it is understanding the great responsibility of that privilege We are told in James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”, and I finally know and understand why.
As teachers we have the ability to speak life or death into the lives God has entrusted us with. We have the ability to inspire and encourage a spirit, but we also have the ability to crush a spirit as well. The definition of a crushed spirit is one that doesn’t have hope, doesn’t see beauty, or no longer has the ability of the natural child-like curiosity and unable to imagine. If we as teachers and as people are speaking life into others by giving hope, helping others to see beauty in themselves and others and to be curious and innovative than we are using great power in an honoring way. If a person has those qualities then bad circumstances no longer shape who they are and who they will become. There are countless example of this happening.
As mentioned above, we all have certain needs in our lives ranging from connection, love significance, and trust. I’m not saying I have this all sorted, I don’t even want to pretend for a moment that I have this all sorted. I have screwed up, but I’m sharing these things as areas that I need to grow in. This is my current map that God has given me, though I am not sure of the destination of where it will take me. I can be certain though that this map will lead me somewhere good. I invite all people to join me on this journey of sharing these significant truths with others. Thank you for taking your time to read this.