Last week’s sermon is still ticking away in my mind. It was about perception and our perception of others as well as God and His presence. Several things struck me…
I never have really felt like I’ve had an issue of perceiving God differently based on Him as a little baby as opposed to an almighty, powerful God over all. Sure we had humble, quiet, little Jesus holding the lamb in all of the pictures in Sunday school, but I think I always knew He was a BIG DEAL, not just the man who walked the earth. There was always something about Him that was different. So when this illustration came up in the sermon, it was something I’d never really thought about. I do understand the concept though. In His hometown, the people who remembered him as a little baby couldn’t grasp the reality that He was also the Saviour of the universe. All they remembered was a little infant boy running around chasing his carpenter father. Same principle applies when I go somewhere I haven’t been in a while. And I do it to myself with others as well. For example, if I see or hear something about someone from Maine that I haven’t been around in a while, it is hard for me to realize that oh wait…yes, almost 8 years have gone by since you last saw them so indeed…this person could be in college and I still remember them when they were in elementary school. Things change. People change. This is why the people of Jesus’ hometown coudn’t grasp that He had ALWAYS been the Messiah. Heaven forbid the Messiah also poops as a baby…so he couldn’t possibly be the Saviour.
How people perceive me determines how I will perceive them. Case in point: I’m called various things at school. Ms. Gallagher, Senorita Gallagher, Senorita Gallinder, Senorita Gallagirl, Senorita G., etc. I get tons of waves every single day from the younger ones. Who am I to them? The Spanish teacher. Someone outside their normal classroom routine who brings in a different spin on their day. I posted a short conversation I had with a little kindergarten boy the other day who said when he grew up he was going to be a Spanish teacher. Well, here is more of his perception of me… We were waiting for several others to arrive for a game and he was telling me his dad used to be in the army when he was a baby. He proceeded to tell me that his dad knew Spanish and he had a Senorita Gallagher too. That she was just like me. And his dad’s Senorita Gallagher had him touch his head, touch his toes, etc. just like I do (referring to when we play Simon Dice – Simon Says). It was rather amusing and yet enlightening to hear what a broad spectrum of his life I seem to cover. All the way into his family into his dad’s former army career and when his dad was learning Spanish. His perception of me is beyond the school building into other realms. That brought everything back into perspective for me and re-focused my perception of my kids. If he thinks that every teacher who teaches Spanish is called “Senorita Gallagher”, I’d better be on my A-game when I’m with them. That is an awesome responsibility. I need to perceive these kids as though my teaching them will impact their lives for years to come and will impact different areas of their life. While they are young, their perception of an adult in their life can make them think the world holds tons more people just like them (ie. tons of Senorita Gallaghers, etc.)and they had better be getting the best. This also means I need to be careful of how they receive me and I receive them. Their reception of me (and vice versa) determines how we will perceive each other. If we receive openly we will be perceived as such.
With that in mind, I was also struck with the reality that I have no idea who I’m talking to, what they could be capable of at their young age or in the future. I best be speaking encouragement, knowledge, and love into their lives when I am teaching. Who knows? I could be speaking to a future senator, future stay at home mom, future artist, etc. These kids can do ANYTHING. I need to perceive them as such. And heaven knows I would never want to break down a dream of delving into a life of art, world changing, diaper changing, etc.
The other thing that struck me was that my perception of God and my reception of Him, whether that is a little baby, man walking the earth, powerful God and all He can do….will determine what I allow Him to do in my life. Yes, what I allow Him to do. That means that if I only allow Him restricted access to certain areas, I could never allow Him to unleash the full potential of His calling on my life and the opportunities He may have for me. That is slightly alarming considering we always wonder in hindsight sometimes if we missed opportunities. I will say that my reception of Him has grown in leaps and bounds in the last several years. My perception of Him has always been that He is a big, powerful, awesome God who can do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine. But my reception…hasn’t always been so good. Hopefully I’m getting tuned to the right station (yes, those in my small group are laughing about now…) and my reception of His plans for me when He calls me to action will be in alignment and I’ll be ready to go.
And speaking of…let me just say that not being a fan of change can be detrimental to one’s mental health….because you overanalyze situations and what ifs run in your mind. No. Good. I have one thing going on that is just driving me bananas and I need to stop thinking about it and let it go. It’s really quite stupid, so let’s just pray it goes away because I really don’t like when those things block my reception. 🙂