Sometimes I feel a bit like an imposter.
As a nanny of little boys, I spend every day surrounded by young moms (and dads, grandparents and other caregivers). At school drop-off, floor hockey, story time, tennis, soccer and school pick-up, I am constantly observing and learning.
I observe the perfection our culture strives for fall apart on the ground in a classic toddler tantrum. I learn from the patience exhibited in a mom holding her crying infant in one arm, her toddler pulling on her other arm, and her gentle voice beckoning her oldest to pick up his backpack and follow her to the car.
To the naked eye, I often appear to fit right in and have everything in common with everyone else. I’m driving a car with booster seats and a carseat in the back. My purse often contains emergency snacks and small toys to distract before a meltdown occurs. I can even tell you the names of all the ninja turtles. But in reality, I am only in the world of parenting during work hours.
And so during this season of life, I don’t want to take for granted the opportunity I have to learn from and share with those around me. I know all I’m learning about parenting will be greatly beneficial one day, but I also don’t want to discount all the ways God can use me and my story to encourage and challenge these individuals I see daily.
It’s so natural to desire to be with others who are like-minded, going through the same season as you are and those that can relate to the same joys and hardships. There is nothing wrong with this; but what I’m learning in this chapter of life is how vital it is to also surround yourself with those in other seasons as well.
There are individuals all around you who long to learn from your life experiences as well as those who could greatly impact you by the sharing of their own journies. Pastor Aaron spoke on this in regards to singleness in last weeks blog, which you can read here.
I can’t tell you how encouraged I have been over the past few years to connect with older women who have gone through similar seasons in their lives. They probably have no idea how much their wisdom and perspective have meant to me. From that encouragement I have been challenged to love and reach out to those in need of the same vulnerability and openness of how the Lord has worked in my own life.
It’s not easy to be vulnerable and uncomfortable with someone you don’t seem to have much in common with, but what if we followed through on the Holy Spirit’s leading and opened up with each other? What if we put down our guards and let the Lord work within our congregation to draw us all closer to Himself, each other and to be a light to those who don’t yet know Him? We all need to approach one another as both learners and teachers.
Col. 3:15-16 says, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
It starts with each of us and our personal relationship with Jesus. Does Christ’s peace rule in your heart (v. 15)? Does His Word dwell in you (v. 16)? Spending time with Jesus daily in His Word and in prayer is vital for us to function well as the body of Christ. From there, a heart of thankfulness and a desire to learn from and encourage others will flow. We just need to be obedient and reach out.
My prayer for us all is to trust the Holy Spirit’s leading and at church on Sunday to connect with someone else. Someone younger, older, married, single, stay-at-home parent, student or recently retired. Approach one another with an open heart and desire to experience true unity within the body of Christ.
We all have Jesus in common. Isn’t that enough?