As I have discipled or mentored people in varying seasons of life one helpful conclusion for everyone has been that someone has gone through the same things before them. Once you recognize there are others with insight to give, you are likely to heed it.
Increasingly I have noticed a trend of disillusionment toward the experience of others. Those I try to encourage exude an attitude that says their story or circumstance is unique and no one would have any clue what they are going through.
I get the temptation toward that feeling. Just on the base level of our selfish sinfulness or course we would lean toward narcissism as if we are all that matter, or have ever mattered. And this is why community is so vital as we pursue life, and especially pursue Jesus.
When we awaken to the reality that others have faced similar or the same situations, we enter into a gracious space of being understood. This is where bearing with one another happens. This is where growth happens.
So please, don’t think you can or should go it alone because your situation is a one-of-a-kind. Someone has been there before, and they are probably closer than you think.
I should say patch of sand given I live near the desert…
Maybe it is time for us to see the Kingdom of God as the thing of importance rather than our little patch of it. Instead of our own brand we could build partnerships and gospel unity for the fame of Christ in our cities.
I promise this is where the good stuff is. Outposts of Jesus’ new reality working in unison not to draw a crowd but to see the Kingdom go forth for the glory of God.
Let’s do it.
I have noticed something quite worrisome as of late. No one pays attention. There seems to be too much information coming at us each day and to be honest, we are all narcisistic so we have little attention span for worthwhile things unless we are convinced they are about us.
The email that you receive but don’t read. The article you skim without absorbing (that’s me). The conversation you can’t track with because your mind is across the room. Noise upon noise and we don’t know how to listen right, hear what is said or read what is written. (Knowing this I realize the slim chance anyone will read this!)
Then reading a book on Missions by Andy Johnson I came across this gem:
“I once rented a vacation apartment on the sixth floor of a building with no elevator. The owner had been very clear in every email, stating, “This apartment is on the sixth floor and there is no elevator.” Still, the significance of her disclosure didn’t really hit me until I was panting on the fifth-floor landing, hauling suitcase number two of three up the winding stairs. Yet, as I stood there trying to remember the symptoms of a heart attack, I couldn’t feel angry toward the owner. She had been up-front about it, all along. I should have paid more attention.”
Oh man, this is good. We all have stories like this because we don’t pay enough attention.
Think about it. Awaken to what’s important. And please pay attention!
There are plenty of times that I tell my kids “no.” But there are also plenty of times I say “yes!”
And nearly once a week I say yes to donuts. Sure, I like them myself, but I have also raise kids that enjoy the special treat!
While parenting is most often about convincing your kids to endure pain to get better (take the gross medicine to heal) it is also teaching each other how to chase and embrace joy.
What are the things you can say yes to today to dig up a smile in your family or friends? Or just uncover your own smile?! Go for it.
Be it a donut, a string of silly jokes, a dance party, or petting every dog you meet in the park, go for it.
Some days, donuts will do, will you?