Every day it seems that God opens the door for me to minister to someone. Sometimes it is a kid at school, sometimes it is a co-worker, and sometimes it is a friend or family member. Regardless of who it is, I have realized something about my work. I am not so much called to teach or drive people around with LYFT as I am called to encourage and direct them to God.
This morning I picked up a young lady named Jumoke. She was visibly shaken up when I arrived to give her a LYFT. I asked her if she was going to work, and she said, “No, I just had an accident!” I could see she was on the verge of tears. As we talked about it, I told her that the one good thing that came out of it is that she was not hurt. I know that is not a lot of consolation when you are in a wreck…but in the scheme of things…that is truly what matters.
She confessed that at times she just did not want to wake up because of all the bad things that had happened to her. Her family was in Nigeria and she apparently did not have a lot of friends to support her here. We talked about God for a while and how He is our friend, He is our protector, and He is our provider. She nodded in agreement with it all. She just had to be reminded of who God is and what He IS doing on our behalf…even when we can’t see it or feel it.
Before she got out of my car, I asked her if I could say a prayer for her. I prayed over her and assured her that God had sent me to be there for HER this morning. She may have been in an accident, but OUR meeting was no accident. It was a divine appointment from God…and I got to show God’s love in a miraculous way to her.
When she got out and I closed out the LYFT tab, can you get how much I made? $6.66! No kidding. It just reminded me that spiritual warfare is real and we have to put on the whole armor of God every day. Nonetheless, I was relieved when I got my second LYFT and got paid so I was not on THAT number anymore. LOL.
I pray for divine appointments and get them all the time. I just never know who, where, or when they will be. I just have to be available and let God do His thing through me. It is a pretty cool way to live and it is amazing to see what God can to through us if we just give Him the reins.
Let’s face it, we live in an era when everyone seems determined to claim their rights. The Bill of Rights was instituted to clarify what we were entitled to as citizens of this country. The problem is that sometimes our rights are wrong.
When are our rights wrong? They are wrong when they disregard the rights of others, when they are totally self-centered, or when they have evil intent. Rights come with responsibilities. When we abuse them, we tend to lose them. There are consequences to every action we take.
Just a thought, but perhaps the most underutilized right we have is the right to remain silent. I tell students that almost every day. The problem is that many kids and adults just don’t know when to shut up. That right if used more often would solve a lot of problems in this world, don’t you think?
I like the three filter rule:
- Is it true?
- Is it kind?
- Is it necessary?
P.S. This is not a political discussion. It is simply a frame of reference for some human behaviors that have become distorted by some. Hopefully it makes each of us examine our own words and behaviors.
I want people to like and respect me, but if I have to choose between the two, I will choose respect. Why? People that don’t like you will disregard what you think, how you feel, and what you do. If they dislike you but respect you, you will be heard at the very least.
This week a great drama played out in two of our classes. We had to pull about 10 kids from the two classes because of their arguments and disruptive behavior with each other.
I told them they had two choices: Either they learn some self-control, or somebody else was going to control them! I also told them I did not care if they liked each other, but they WOULD respect one another….and the respect would begin now.
Even as I was talking to them, one of the kids continued to argue with me! I asked the child five times to quit arguing and just chill out for a moment, but this kid had no filter and no common sense. Sadly, the consequences for this child in particular will be more than bargained for.
There is a lot of pent up rage in some of the kids I see. It seems they are determined to take it out on somebody….anybody within earshot. While I try to make every child feel heard and respected, I can’t allow them to run over everyone around them. I don’t know what is going on at home, but I have a feeling that it is quite dysfunctional.
I pray every day that God give me the right words to say, but I admit that some days I am at a loss for words. I know I make a positive difference in the lives of the kids, but days like this will make the best of us question whether what we are doing is making a difference.
I have to remind myself that there are some kids that I can’t reach despite my best efforts. That doesn’t mean I won’t try or that I will ever give up on them. If I can get them to understand that one thing alone, there is still hope for their behavior to change. If I can see good in them, perhaps they will see it at some point in themselves. Once they learn to respect themselves, they can begin the journey to respect others.
When you feel like doing these, don’t:
- Hold a grudge
- Be lazy
- Be ungrateful
- Be selfish
- Seek revenge
- Be unwilling to love again
- Be cynical
- Be sarcastic
- Be rude
- Be fearful
- Be addicted
- Be racist
- Settle for less than the best
- Be unwilling to listen
- Not accept responsibility
- Not express your love
- Compromise your morals
- Insist you are always right
- Mess with Texas
- Doubt God
I never cease to be amazed at the things that people can do when they are pushed to their limits. Everyone has their breaking point, but it is at that point that we find out who we really are. It is said that who you are when nobody is looking reveals your true character. There is some truth to that, but I think you have to include being stressed to the breaking point as well. That reveals your strengths and weaknesses in ways that are unique.
When you are stressed to the max, what happens? Do you explode on people? Do you withdraw silently and sulk? Do you plot revenge? Do you hold a grudge? There are obviously a thousand responses to stress, but the one that we need to remember is to breath.
The other day I broke up a fight before it could really get started. Two boys were highly charged and ready to unleash on each other. I sent one to the back of the line and pulled the other one aside to talk to him. I just told him this, “Breath! You are worked up over something that does not really matter. Breath, and let it go.” He took a breath and visibly calmed down in front of me. Wow. The power of oxygen to the brain!
When you are stressed to the breaking point, wonderful things can happen if you are full of faith, hope, and love. Tragic things happen when you are filled with hatred, bitterness, and revenge. The difference in how you respond could literally be in breathing! You have to be able to think unemotionally to make a good decision.
As you look at the news on a daily basis it seems to be filled with people with flawed character: looters, murderers, and people who seem to lack a soul. They do what they want, when they want, to whom they want…with no thought of consequences. Here is what I believe: sooner or later everyone will be held accountable for their words and actions. My hope and prayer is that people of character will stand up and do what is right in the face of evil because evil never backs down if unopposed. We each have to do our part when we are stressed by doing the right thing, and that begins with simply taking a breath.