Now we ask you, brothers, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brothers: warn those who are lazy, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15Lots of thoughts have been going through my head the past couple of weeks. Coming back from Alaska always has my mind doing somersaults over how God moved, the people met, the things done/seen. Once home, then, there is family to catch up with and school to prepare for and other duties in need of my attention. Nothing stressful, just thought provoking.
Several conversations that I've been a part of in the past couple of weeks have really began a journey for a longing to understand better what God desires of me in this paragraph of my life, in order to go into whatever comes next with an open heart and mind to what He asks of me then. (I would say "chapter of my life" but I'm not beginning or ending any particular thing right now, so...) God has used these conversations as teachable moments for me.
One such conversation was about how to bridge the gap between the older and younger women in the Chruch. There is definitely a generational gap here that is not figurative in any way, shape, or form. It's a real gap...and it's widening at a significant rate. Many factors, not so many easy solutions.
A couple of other conversations I've had recently were about educating children. In one conversation, a gentleman was (and probably still is) having a difficult time understanding why a family would homeschool their children when they live directly across the street from a "perfectly good school". In another conversation, a new friend and I were discussing where our children went to school. I said in response to her saying they went to their local public school, that after meeting them this summer, I know God has great plans to use them as a witness for Him in their school. She sounded so grateful to hear such encouragement as she replied to me that most people's response is negative and disbelieving that they would choose public school.
Another conversation that I wasn't a part of, but I overheard simply due to my location at the time, was between two people discussing how the helpers assigned to them were doing things. The remark overheard was about how a task had been done from their perspective. The help given took a great load off of the ones' in charge shoulders, but the only thing discussed was how they would have done it differently...more "correctly".
I thought back to these conversations Sunday morning as our lesson in Sunday School summed up how edifying is a better way than criticizing, even if you are having to confront someone about an issue. I learned something in each of the conversations...maybe not something in that very moment, but certainly some things to consider when I'm faced in similar situations again. A kinder word is much better received than one that is not.
Every task can done differently by someone else. From communication to education, it would be beneficial to consider the difference between "different" and "wrong". Life is not all "One Way" streets. Perhaps, before criticizing the performance of a task, a moment of edification and encouragement to the one(s) doing the task might be a better way to go. A kind word first just might open the door for a smoother transition into a teachable moment.
As I continue to go through life, one of my prayers is to always be teachable.
Although difficult at times, God's teachable moments in my life are to make me more like Him. He loves me that much.
I will never outlearn my God. I will always need His direction, His guidance...His correction, His discipline. He does these things because He loves me. And, I can accept them and live through them because I know He does. Love makes all the difference.