It is 5:25 in the morning. I have been up for a about a half hour but my mind is still a bit groggy. My daughter Madie is in the shower and I am waiting for my turn. She is in a program called Running Start. This program is available to High School students what are juniors or seniors. If they qualify they can attend community college classes for free (except books) and earn their Associates Degree and High School Diploma at the same time. There is an option to do part high school and part college, but Madie chose to do all college classes. She loves going to college. The teachers treat them the same, in fact they do not know which students are running start or regular college students except for the fact that most of them look younger! They are college students. In the morning, Madie rides the community bus up to the school and sometimes she rides it home. All of this is new to Madie and such a big step. Yesterday she had her first mid term. We have had many tears during homework...writing papers and analyzing text at college level...but she gets up every morning excited about going to school. This is a huge change for a girl who literally covered her head with her blankets, "hated" getting up for school and was an angry mess every day. The students at the college accept Madie as she is. They include her in their discussions, treat her with respect and talk to her with out judgement. She has longed for years for this.
Don't we all long to be accepted...to be included...to be treated wtih respect...to be talked to?
We long for people to look at us and believe we have it all together...we are smart, fit, doing something important...approval. This morning this has been heavy on my heart. I want to be free of that. I really want to wake up in the morning and not wonder if I am approved or disapproved by people, but living my every day life for God. I am already approved by God.
How do we abandon our desire to live up to people's expectations? How do we keep our eyes focused on Jesus instead?
The world's expectation (or for the most part): Look a certain way. Accomplish much. Acquire stuff.
Jesus' expectation: Love God. Love others (our neighbor).
The world's expectations keep our eyes on ourselves. The expectation of God keeps our eyes off of ourselves and on the needs of others.
I remember a time when I could only dwell on my past, how much time I had wasted and that I wasnt' doing what I thought I was suppose to be doing (ok...I still do that sometimes)...And a woman with godly wisdom asked me "Did you do today well? Did you love God? Did you love others?"
My hope is that today you will "do today well" by loving God and loving others.
(note: I started this message yesterday morning and am finishing it this morning! It may be a bit scattered!)