While sitting upon a present airplane seat and a potential flotation device the other day on my flight back home, I was craving. I had a solid playlist ready to be listened to. I had a book begging for me to finally get past page fourteen. There was an abundance of possibilities stowed in my stowed carry on. But I was craving. I was craving more than worldly songs about past, present and future relationships regarding those particular artists making up my, “Julio,” playlist. I was craving more than a fictional story. Because when you crave, it is a deep feeling of urgency and hunger. It is not mere or subtle. When you crave, you want the real deal, not an imitation or half truth. When you crave, you want the truth, all of it, at once.
While I took a familiar position and rested my head upon both my folded arms and tray table, I was hit with the truth I so desperately needed as my podcast began to play. For some reason, yet with no reasoning, it happened to be the only podcast on my phone I had downloaded, the only one I could listen to without wifi. You know, just in case I ever happened to be 33,000 feet above the earth’s base, wanting so much to be grounded, that kind of thing.
I live in my head a large portion of the time. I am getting better at it but that’s current. That’s the happening. That’s me as of right now. I completely and admittedly, think about myself too much in total. I used to beat myself up for it but have recently learned our life is a growing testimony and the greater the struggle I face today, the more remarkable change I will get to view from a perspective nearer to God on another. I will get to see how gracefully He is able in all areas of our lives to change us, as He uses the powerful contrast of who we once were with who we have the honor of becoming in Him.
The reason I say I live in my head far more than I should is because that very fact is what hinders me from loving people to love’s full potential. I am an expert at putting people before me in the area of judgment, meaning that I so highly value others’ opinions of me, even before my own, and most definitely before the Lord’s on an average day. The area that I fail daily in is putting people before me in love and translating my treatment of them to my treatment of God.
That was the message of the wifi independent podcast. The speaker discussed the truth which is, how we treat the Father’s children is directly, how we are treating the Father. There is no intersection of crossed lines or U-turns. How we treat other people is a straight shot to how we treat our God, as simple as that. And let me be the first to say, I hate that. I hate that because what if it is just one of those days where I have stubbed my toe and my dog has gotten what seems to be a mud like yet still unidentified, slobber on my shirt all before 10 a.m? What if I am feeling alone and broken? What if God, I can find no reason to be kind to people because I feel as if, through my circumstances, this world has been so cruel to me? What if God, I still love you but I can’t seem to find the courage of kindness that day?
I think what God says to this is, “I know you are broken. I know better than you. I realize you feel the weight of that brokenness. I want you to know that I have hand selected you to be my messenger. I have chosen you to be my messenger when you love me and when you hate me, when you have been promoted and when you have been fired, when you feel beautiful and when you feel like the ugliest one in the room, when kindness comes natural and when you have to pray not to throw a punch. I have chosen you at all these times to be mine. Find no reasoning, simply find me. I alone, am reason enough. Know that the weight you feel is a universal weight of sin. I know you have baggage but I am carrying yours, which allows your hands to be free. Pick someone else’s up in the mean time not because you love me or they love you or even because they love me but because my love for the two of you surpasses the word infinite. These are my children. Love them as such.”
As sinful humans, we are all “me monsters,” to some degree and because we continuously choose our egos over reality, even in Christian settings, we love to remind ourselves “I am made in God’s image, I am His, His child, His love, I am, I am, I am.” And you are. There is no doubt about it but there’s more to that story. That self-affirmation is more than true but what I would encourage you to attach to that sentence would be the additional truth that you are not the only one.
I would encourage you to edit that sentence to read, “Those surrounding me today are made in the image of their Creator. They are loved and cherished as I am, while no one is nor is called to be more than the other. We are equals yet as Jesus increases my awareness for how loved I am, I am called to increase others’, not through myself but through my God. I am chosen today. I am chosen along with every human I see whether they are beaming God’s joy behind the cash register or angrily honking at me at the just changed from red to green two seconds ago, give me a break, kind of stop light. Despite the action or words of those my path crosses today, may I know they are so loved and so Yours. May I treat them as such. Today as I struggle to take up my daily cross, I ask I would be knowledgable in the unwavering Fatherhood you have over this world. I ask I would be confident in the fact that not only am I your child, but as well as every other I come in contact with. Let me treat them as such.”
The speaker of this podcast told a short story about one of his daughters coming home disappointed from elementary school one day. When her dad asked her why she was upset, she told him that a boy on the playground told her he never wanted to be friends with her and he could see how heartbroken his child was to receive these words of rejection. The speaker then spoke of the deep pain his heart felt as she told him. He went on to say, he felt as if he had been hurt and disrespected because someone, made in the image of him, had been hurt and disrespected. That’s it. That’s what God wants us to get. He wants us to realize that when we hurt and dishonor one another, we are hurting and dishonoring Him.
I have used this metaphor previously but I think it is a clear picture of how Jesus wants us to treat one another. To begin with, my siblings and I always laugh at my mom when we are all sitting near to one another and she gets this wide smile on her face. I call these her mom moments, the moments where she is so joyful to see her children, to see those made in her image, together, happy and getting along, that she can do nothing else but smile. I think that’s how God works too. Because He is the Father of this world, it breaks His heart to see us ripping down one another. Because He as a Father, feels as if those He calls His are trying to rip Him down as well when the attack is on His children. Parents enjoy seeing their kids live in harmony. That’s the foundation to moms over-posting on Facebook, they love to see their children getting along in joy. The same goes for our heavenly Father, except He is far more subtle on Facebook than the average mother of three.
That’s about all I got. That’s my encouragement for you today, to look at the world and not see passing faces but to see children of God in every corner of every space. Not one person you meet, will not meet the title of His. That’s my encouragement both for myself and for you today, to honor others as your brothers and sisters, because they are, to treat others the way you intend to treat God, because they are directly correlated, to be outside your head enough to let the Man who has been offering to carry your baggage your whole life, to take it so you can live in the knowledge that you are free and loved, while attempting to remind the rest of the same.
And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18)