You know what keeps me from writing more often? I have too much to write about. It is difficult for me to pick a topic and focus. Sometimes I read something that highlights a train of thought I’ve had lately and that’s when I know…it’s time to write about it.
This morning I woke up 2 hours before I needed to be up. That’s annoying. But once I got up, I was grateful for the wiggle room in today’s crazy schedule.
One of the books I’m reading right now is Maria Goff’s Love Lives Here. It’s so dang good. The subtitle is “Finding what you need in a world telling you what you want.” See what I mean? I love her focus.
The line I read that brought things into focus for me this morning was this: “Don’t settle for having an opinion when you can be an example.”
A few years ago I decided to stop surrounding myself with opinionated people, and start surrounding myself with people who live by example.
Especially if the One they want to exemplify is Jesus.
This is good for me. This is good for my depression. This is good for my time management. This is good for my diet. This is good for my job. This is good for EVERYTHING.
Opinions don’t get anything done. They rarely change anything. They usually stir up stuff that doesn’t need to be stirred.
Examples can move mountains….and show the world how it’s done.
I’ve been praying about how to share some of my favorite “examples” from our community. I’ll just start with some culturally relevant examples.
Have you seen people sharing opinions on abortion? Me too.
I have a friend who, after fostering children for at least a decade, is now opening a home for pregnant mamas who need a place to LIVE. Not just come get medical care. A place to unpack, in every sense of the word, and MOVE IN for awhile. A safe place. She has strong opinions about how the church should be serving these women. Her opinions have been shaped by welcoming unwanted children into her home for years. But instead of just sharing her opinions, she has chosen to be an example. You should hear how God is giving her the land, the facility, the funds, the labor….it’s amazing. Truly amazing.
Have you seen people sharing opinions on border security? Me too.
I have another friend who, after living in Uganda for I-don’t-know-how-many-years, getting married, adopting a Ugandan daughter, coming back to the states and having a son, decided to join forces with some other powerful women here in Lubbock and open up a home for rescued sex trafficking victims. She has to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars (maybe she said millions…I’m not a numbers girl) to set up a safe place for these girls to go when they are rescued. There are SO FEW places like that in our nation. Sure, she has opinions about that. But she uses her energy to be an example.
Behind each of these women is a group of people who are ready to get their hands dirty and accomplish these tasks. They aren’t going at it alone. If you want to help, I can connect you.
Have you seen people sharing opinions on the rise of crime in our city? Me too.
I have a couple of friends who quit their jobs several years ago, bought a bus (you should hear that story), and took it to the streets to tell kids about Jesus. And not in an obnoxious, creepy, “come-into-our-bus-and-get-some-cookies-and-drink-our-kool-aid” sort of way. They go out, they love on people, they meet their needs, and the reason they do it is to show the love of Jesus. No, we’ll never be able to calculate the impact their efforts to LOVE have had on our crime rate. But He knows. He’s not moved by crime rates. Neither are my friends. He’s moved by a desire to love. So are my friends. Their choice to hit the streets has been costly - for them and for their families - but the fruit of it is stunning. Other people have joined in. They’ve got positions in high places where they can love kids who would never be touched if they hadn’t said YES to God to go and love.
Have you seen people sharing opinions about public school? Me too.
Teachers are the real MVPS. Teachers are full of opinions. Informed opinions. We cannot fathom what they deal with and see on a daily basis. Yet they keep showing up. Someone needs to be there to love on those kids when they step off cold buses and into warm classrooms. That’s what teachers do more than anything else. They just love. I’ve met so many students who would say the school feels more like home than whatever place it is where they lay their head down at night. Teachers create that culture.
This is where I decided to be an example instead of just firing off my opinion. I love to love on kids at public school. Just by bringing in snacks or putting tools in the hands of teachers and counselors so they can be more equipped to love the kids in front of them. It wasn’t my idea. I just joined some women who were already doing it, and when I told the stories, others joined in too.
What I’ve learned along the way is that while we are totally tempted to share our opinions, and social media makes it WAY too easy, people really do want to be an example.
Thanks, Maria Goff, for bringing my thoughts into focus this morning.
PS. If you want to join some of these efforts to be an example, I’ll be happy to connect you. I recently learned of a need for about 5,000 snacks and drinks for underprivileged kids who want to stay after school for tutoring twice a week over 9 weeks, starting Feb. 18th. I’m not sure if it’s the tutoring they really want, or they just want to linger a little longer at the only place that feels like home. I love the opportunity to provide them with a snack and drink as they learn. And to show the teachers they aren’t alone in their desire to love these kids a little longer. It’s a big need, but I know God will provide. And maybe He wants to do it through you. Text me at 325-374-5362.