A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
— John 13:34
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
— 1 Corinthians 13:13
Two profound questions were posed at the beginning of Sunday’s message. They hooked my attention and could become the motivational driving thoughts for the rest of my days:
- What if we set our sights on winning them over?
- What if we went from praying against them to praying for them to come to know Jesus?
I know in this life that God has called me to be a difference maker. I am so very privileged for the job that pays me to walk with students through some crazy, impressionable years of their lives while working and walking alongside an incredible work family. A school filled with almost 2,600 people on any given day blesses me with a ton of opportunities to love others. I must sadly admit that I fail to take advantage of many of them. In fact, there are many times that I allow myself to get caught in the weeds and be distracted by the emotion of the moment.
We have two jobs: love God and love others! It seems pretty simple, right?
A while back, I was approaching a student for not being in class. I didn’t know this particular kiddo, but I asked, “Where are you supposed to be?” (This is a very popular question for me. The vast majority of the time, students will answer with a destination, and I will respond with, “Let’s get there.”) This is a normal, everyday thing, encouraging people to get where they are supposed to be. Every now and then, a student’s response catches me off guard. That was this moment. The girl’s initial response was to ignore me, so I became a little more direct and engaged. This easy moment escalated quickly. Before things went to the point of no return, where a simple redirection could turn into an office referral and gain absolutely nothing, I said, “Hold on, can we start over? You don’t know me. I don’t know you. My name is Ms. Williams. I am not a person to come at you. I know you don’t know that about me. I know you have probably experienced different things, but let’s just start over. What is your name?” In that moment, I was introduced to a student who, from that day on, would say hi or wave to me in the hall. She would even go out of her way to let me know how she was doing on occasion.
Loving God hasn’t really been a great challenge for me. God is God. He never ceases to love me, provide for me, work for my good, sustain me, and just be GOD. Loving others, however, can often be less than easy. But why? I think my agenda, my humanness, gets ahead of my calling. I am not God. I just hope I am constantly striving to be like him. I love to be in the middle of the crazy places God calls me to, especially when I am mindful that He places my steps and equips me for the very place where He has put me. What an opportunity and privilege! I just always need to take a moment and remember whose I am and why I am taking another breath.
I am appointed and anointed every moment of my life, but the agenda, the to do list, is not what I lay before my father. It is what He blesses in my journey as I go. Moments to be Jesus to others. It is a huge responsibility, and the only way it works, the only possible way for me to even come close to reflecting my Savior is to let Him go first, to allow God to be in control and navigate my every thought, focus, step, intention, word, conversation. When I lean into His understanding (not my own) and His desire and direction, He will continue to use me for His glory and accomplish His plan. Not because he needs me, but because He wants me to have the joy of being a part of all that He is doing. Every bit of His plan begins and ends with love. Unconditionally.