Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4
It’s funny how different messages or thoughts seem to “randomly” pop into my head when I really need to hear them. A couple of years ago I read in several places that we should know our place in the grand order of things. I since have been reminded several times in the past couple of months that my place is 3rd. Sounds weird right! But it’s simple, God first, others second and myself third. I think if I searched the archives I’m sure I’ve actually written about being 3rd before but that message has been whappin me over the head more times than the anvil hammered Wiley Coyote in the Roadrunner cartoon. The reminder came loud and clear back in September when we took the 6th graders to camp. One of the camp counselors that the kids enjoyed the most sat down to visit one night and I noticed a tattoo on his forearm. It said, “I am third”. We had a nice chat about it and I realized he lived those words and that’s why he was such a delight to be around. I didn’t give it much thought after that thinking it was just a little reminder. Have you noticed that when you miss his message the first time he doesn’t hesitate to send it again and again until it clicks? In the last two months I’ve done several new talks and no matter what the topic, this thought of being 3rd just keeps coming up again and again. Sometimes I have to laugh and think; how in the world can I make that connect to this topic and when I ask, he always answers.
He’s lovingly helped me include this concept in almost all of the talks I’ve done this fall but in my heart I thought it was for others to learn. I foolishly thought I had a pretty good handle on the concept and did a fairly decent job of living it, but the last few days he’s been all about showing me in LIVING COLOR how I really wasn’t living it as well as I thought. The first was a sweet happening that whispered, “Sheri, I really am speaking to you, please pay attention.” and the second was a flat out UGLY, “I came unraveled, lost it and went screeching into first place instead of third” kind of event that has me face palming in embarrassment.
My word is joy. It’s in all my stuff, it’s in the name of my Ministry, it’s something I pray for every day, I talk about it, have scripture quotes about it everywhere…it’s my center of balance word. It’s kinda “my word”. After a presentation last Friday a truly lovely lady gave me a postcard. She told me a story about a speaker she had heard. He taught the audience to remember our place is 3rd by using the word JOY. I loved it. The postcard clearly spelled out that the J was for Jesus, the O was for Others and the Y was for you. Perfect sense, lovely visual aid and all delivered with a hug from a lovely lady in Saginaw Michigan. That was my whisper.
The UGLY came Tuesday at school. Looking back it wasn’t a really big deal but my reaction made it awful. It seems lately that my to do list is never under two columns and keeping all the plates spinning takes a lot of skill and balance. I know it’s a season; not permanent and I secretly enjoy watching how God manages and balances everything he asks me to do in amazing fashion but Tuesday I truly lost my way. My days are a bit like a house of cards this fall so if one thing gets shuffled five others fall out of line so when a surprise announcement came first thing Tuesday morning that totally changes the flow of the day and required 4 emails and 2 phone calls to “fix everything” before 8:20 in the morning I abandoned third place at rocket speed. I was anything but joyful and prayerful and I did everything but invite Jesus to meet me in the mess and keep me calmly in 3rd place. I spit and sputtered and focused on all the ways a decision that affected 300 other people inconvenienced me. I’m just gonna tell ya’ll I gave myself a BIG OLE first place medal that morning and as I crawled in bed that night all I wanted to do was give it back! I put myself in first place and felt miserable.
As God always does when we let him in, he gently pointed out that the day had actually turned out perfectly. He also made it clear in my heart that I needed to visit with all those caught in my spitting and sputtering and reclaim my 3rd place spot. The one thing I realized looking back over the event was how beautifully everything just fell into place in spite of the “alternate plan I wasn’t in charge of” and how much better the day would have been if I had just stood on bronze to begin with and shut out the noise and asked him for peace. I also made a note to remind myself that bronze is my favorite color…not gold!
A Seed To Plant: Prayerfully ponder the places you try to be first and ask God to show you how you can strive to be 3rd.
Blessings on your day!
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