Friday, July 21, 2017

Being Third

In today's culture, winning is best.  In the words of Ricky Bobby, "If you aren't first, you're last." I started a Bible study co-written by two lovely teachers (who happen to reside in NC!) last week and it couldn't have hit more on time for my teacher, momma, wife, fallible heart. I sat and prayed over the scriptures I read carrying away one big idea that has made an impact on my life. Right now. Something I've discussed with my littles.  Something that we are working hard to implement as our family: Being third.  {By the way... you can check out this amazing Bible Study here:}

Tonight, I spent like 2 hours making dinner.  Only one of my family members ate it.  Only one other even tried it (it was NOT bad, but I have not so adventurous eaters---a grown man included). I got up from the table, choked back tears and left.  Ya'll, I got in my minivan and left. I'm 32 years old.  I'm not sure why stupid stuff hurts my heart, but it does. And then I remembered this line I highlighted: Faithfulness does not depend on the actions and behaviors of others (or something like that).  I did what I should have (maybe I should have picked something different to prepare), and despite the fact that over half of my family ate microwavable popcorn for dinner, it didn't really matter.  In the grand scheme of things it was fine.  I really didn't have to cry in the parking lot of the Food Lion, even though at that moment in time, it felt like I should.  I know this is a stupid story to share, but for me it's important to realize and admit my shortcomings.  My love language is words of affirmation.  So, hearing "yuck" and "I don't even want to try it" after putting forth quite a bit of effort into today's meal just crushed me.  Knowing that about myself, and knowing my family like I do, I pretty much set myself up for tonight's dinner fiasco.

What does this have to do with being third?  Who is really before me? This week's lightbox message has been a lit up reminder to our household:

This is SO hard.  I think back to my 1990s self with those trendy WWJD bracelets.  There have been a lot of times in my life where  I did NOT do what Jesus would have wanted me to do.  Even today, it's hard to be pure in mind and actions all the time.  We are human.  I wish we had more of this.  Wish my kids acted differently.  Wished I could eat anything I wanted and my metabolism would keep up.  I don't always want to let others go first.  Maybe even that dinner was more to my tastes than my families.  Maybe, deep down, I was thinking of my preferences before theirs.

This being third has also been a theme in our current church series "One Another." {You can catch this sermon series here:  If you don't have a home church and want somewhere to worship on Sundays, you are more than welcome to join us ANYTIME!} In this series, we've discussed how our walk with Christ isn't alone, it's interconnected with others.  Other followers and other nonbelievers, and how our actions can show others Jesus' love. I'm not the best at voicing my faith aloud (I'd much rather just type it out...), but if my actions show His love, those actions speak louder than any words ever could.  Do I have to travel to Africa on missions? Do I have to organize volunteer efforts in our community? Do I have to teach at a Christian school? No.... even those are all wonderful ways to serve our God.  I need to live third. I need to carry the burdens, forgive, submit, honor, be kind, and genuinely love others just as Jesus did.

So, while this little lightbox message won't make it's way to my classroom this year (at least in black and white and lights), it's stamped on my heart. Jesus. Others. Self. In the words of Rachel Henley, "If you aren't third, you probably aren't doing it right."