Sunday after church my kids were playing in the gym. My kids love to “play sports,” but they have not really been trained or taught how to play most sports. They have some basic knowledge of how to use the equipment, but proficiency is not a reality. They definitely do not know the rules of the sports.
Anyways, two of my children decided to try to play “baseball” with a plastic bat and ball. One of them threw the ball like it was the perfect pitch. The other swung the bat as if the ball had come straight to her. Then she yells, “Awe man, strike.” The problem… the ball went behind her… If she understood the game at all, she never would have swung the bat.
Of course, I’m an outsider looking in. I know the rules of baseball. I know the ability level of my children as well as their knowledge of the sport. But I, mom, sat back, laughed, and watched. I just let them pretend to play.
There have been so many times in my life that I have done the same thing as my kids- just pretend like I knew what was going on. Play the game by the few set of standards I knew. I mean… seriously, every new stage of my life I pretty much lived by the motto, “Fake it till you make it.”
Life doesn’t come with instructions. You maybe able to read a good book with helpful suggestions, but even a one, two, three approach will not work for everyone.
I can remember sitting in the hospital after having our first baby. It was like the nurse handed me a tiny living human and said, “Here you go.” I had no idea what I was doing. The first time I changed his diaper, I got a golden shower. Then I had to call the nurse to help me swaddle him back up. I felt completely inadequate. I had no idea what I was doing.
I can also remember being led to read my Bible as I began my faith walk. I had no idea what I was doing. I knew a few passages. I had been prompted to read a couple others. But beyond that, I had no idea what to do.
Being the introvert that I am, I did not exactly reach out for help. I really have to give my husband some major kudos here. He could see a shift and desire to draw nearer to God. I started reading like crazy. But he also saw that I was reading a lot of books about the Bible and not very often was I actually in my Bible. He tabbed me a new Bible and started encouraging me to look up the scripture those books were referring to. Once he saw me actually taking his advice, he slowly prompted me to start reading one of the Gospels. Before long, I was in my Bible regularly.
Instead of sitting back and laughing as I swung and missed, he guided me. He didn’t ridicule my slow progress. He recognized the direction I was comfortable with and used it.
Now this could have gone in a completely different direction. If he would have just come out swinging, telling me I needed to get in my Bible and to put those silly books up, I probably would not have taken his advice.
Sometimes I think, we as Christians, expect other Christians to be in the same spot as us on their walk and hold them to that standard. I can remember being convicted to turn off the TV and only watch or listen to shows and music that would enhance my walk. Someone very close to me (my husband), did not have this conviction. I was being convicted to guard my heart and be still. At times it was frustrating that my husband was listening to secular music or entertaining a silly pointless sitcom on TV. However, pointing out that those shows were senseless, and those songs were about worldly things, did no good. The Holy Spirit was working on me in this area- not him.
He was being worked on in another area that I did not struggle with.
Looking back, it’s clear why the Spirit moved on me in this direction. I lived a life of distraction, of noise. I needed to turn off that noise, so I could learn how to walk with God and learn how to hear from Him.
I think it is extremely important to realize, other Christians need us to come along side of them in their walk. They need encouragement, love, and support. What they do not need is someone imposing their convictions on them. The Holy Spirit works on every single one of us. Sometimes we may have the same convictions as another, but that may not always be the case.
I am forever grateful for the people God put in my path to help me learn. Instead of watching me swing the bat when the ball was nowhere around, they came into my life as Godly examples. They encouraged me. They offered suggestions on where to start.
We are called to build each other up in love. We need each other. We need support. If you see someone swinging the bat when the ball in nowhere near them, come along side of them and gently guide them.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11