Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Shelf Life of Words

I was reminded recently of a conversation that I had with a friend in first grade.

Yes, first grade.

Probably now 22 years ago.

I don't remember what we were doing at the time that inspired this comment,but my friend turned to me in frustration and told me something along the lines of,

"You should never be a teacher. You would not be good at it."

She said it so emphatically that I remember it hurt. And I think somewhere deep down, it still stings a little bit.

The funny thing is that I don't remember ever really aspiring to be a teacher. I was not one of those kids that knew by the age of 7 what I wanted (or thought I wanted) to be when I grew up. In fact, I think I've always been a rather indecisive person.

That's one reason I love that the Word of God offers so many promises and reassurances that God will direct our paths, and why my life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (or ability to make decisions); in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."

Anyways - back to the story. Even though it wasn't that this friend of mine was directly attacking this dream I had, it still hurt.

I could analyze it and maybe come to some conclusion that that is why I never pursued being a teacher. Who knows the truth of it. But regardless, I still trust in the fact that God began to direct my paths when I gave my life to Him at age 8, and as I've imperfectly followed after Him since, I believe He has had control over the direction of my life.

The point I'm getting at is that it stuck with me. These few words of discouragement. Words spoken in ignorance from someone that had no idea of the impact they would have, or the calling that God has on my life. I mean, we were just kids. 7 year olds.

But when do we grow up? When do we start to recognize the potency of words -the ability they can possess to empower and build up, or tear down and destroy?

One thing I did discover later is that I do love to 'teach'.

Not in the traditional, classroom setting kind of way, which may be why I don't even really connect it with that word very often.

What I love to do is share what I'm learning with others. In fact, that is what I feel God has told me to do - "Share with them what I've showing you. Encourage others the ways that you've been encouraged by Me."

I may not be very good at it. But that's not the point.

The point is that I believe it's all about doing what God has put before you to do - what He has given you a passion to do. And then He does it VERY WELL through you.

It may not look like the way you'd picture it.

The most powerful lessons God has taught me were not in the confines of a classroom, and that's not usually where I tend to pass them along to others either.

I've found that it usually looks like a conversation over coffee with a friend, an impromptu meeting in passing, etc.

So, regardless of the accuracy of another's assessments of your abilities and potential, the Truth is that as we seek after the Lord and allow Him to be Lord of our lives, He gives us the desires of our hearts (Proverbs 37:4). And those desires become our biggest strengths because they are indications of what He wants to do in and through your life.

And that is powerful. That is something that knocks down walls of criticism that have been erected in ignorance.

Have you had any similar experiences?

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