Sunday, August 21, 2011
Oftentimes I forget that I live in the world. I'm so focused on my own little microcosm that I can hardly see anything else around me. Current events fly by without a notice. It's enough for me to take care of the husband and little people He's put into my life. And that's okay. Really. But recently, God has been reminding me that people around me are watching and I need to be aware.
It started with a conversation I had with my kids' pediatrician a few months back. I already blogged about that but truthfully, that conversation really struck me and got me thinking--who's watching? Of course my immediate family is and I better be genuine. There's nothing like a parent who loves to be kind to everyone around them except those who are closest to them. That's hypocrisy of the worst kind and it's not being a light. So of course I have to remember that my kids are watching. But for some reason, that's not what is difficult for me to remember.
What's hard for me to keep in mind is that others on the "outside" are watching. And I don't mean friends. I just mean people. What do they see? What am I emanating? Who do I look like? Do I look like Nikki or do I look like Christ?
There have been a few situations lately that have really brought this to light. One occurred a couple of weeks ago at the car dealership where we get our Pilot maintained. I have an ongoing, cordial relationship with the guy who deals with our car. I treat him with respect and he always takes care of me. There was a mix-up that ended up leaving me and the four kids stranded for almost two hours. Of course I wanted to be mad at him and he really expected me to be. As a result he came armed with all sorts of excuses about how it wasn't his fault. But, somehow God reminded me of that conversation with our ped and in the moment, with His grace, I changed gears and immediately thought, "He's watching...He knows I'm a Christian. How will I respond?"
Another reminder came this week. I started selling cookies and brownies again since school is back in session. You might remember that what started as a simple little stand last year to get extra cash during grad school, turned into a bustling little business. And this business brought with it the bonus of getting to know students and parents. I LOVE this part of the whole deal. Seeing a bunch of them back after the summer was wonderful. It was fun to catch up and see their faces shine when they talked about the sports they were participating in this fall.
But what was even more wonderful was what occurred on Friday night. There was a knock on our door at 9 o'clock and there stood two of Steve's former students and avid cookie clients. One of them was on his way off to college and wanted to say goodbye. We invited them in and had such a wonderful, candid conversation that took on a life of its own. Somehow marriage, love, divorce and God all got brought up at our little kitchen table with two teenage boys on the brink of making lifelong decisions. One of them straight up asked, "How do you know when you love someone? How do you know it will last?" Can anyone say Golden Opportunity???!!! I don't know if they'll remember anything from our conversation. But what I do know, is that it reminded me again...who's watching?
I often don't think I can do much beside take care of my family and live this little life God has given me. And really I can't. But God can take this insignificant little life and do whatever He wants to do. If I can just love my family like He wants me to, others will see it. That's the Light he's talking about. Often I think I need to go out into the world and do big things. And that doesn't include what I already do on an every day basis.
But big things are happening all the time as I move that never-ending pile of laundry and wipe bottoms. I'm small. I'm insignificant. But when I obey and work unto the Lord, God can do big things through my obedience. Why? Because His love is so different from the world for He's overcome the world.
If you're at home raising kids, you may think that there's not much else going on outside your own little world. But really, think about it! There's so many ways this can occur. I have friends who have built into young women God has brought across their path just by inviting them into their life to get a front row seat...to see the failures and the triumphs and how God brings beauty from all things. I also have friends who simply have the neighborhood at their house every afternoon and the kids they come in contact with get to see a family that loves one another despite the difficulties we all face in life.
This is where it's at. Knowing Jesus and loving Him is so utterly opposed to what is out there in the world that it's like a huge glare in the face of evil. It's bright. It's noticeable and it's beautiful!
Just love the ones God has given you and then be ready for others to be spectating.
What about you? Who's watching?