The first breath of life is often followed with a scream. A startling statement from the newly born of their changed circumstances where they’re no longer in a safe and warm comfort zone. Discontentment and frustration sets the tone for a new battle of attitude that will follow the rest of their days. From birth, we show our colors. On bold and loud display is our propensity to view the world and those around us through a negative (and highly self-focused!) set of glasses.
Humans of course are notoriously bad at perception of circumstance. We’re even more notoriously bad at perception of our own self. Perhaps this manifests as an over-inflated sense of self-worth, but can also swing the other way and manifest as an under-developed appreciation for what we’re actually capable of. There be danger in the ditches on both sides of this perilous path.
I’ve been reading though the late Reverend John Claypool’s book “The First to Follow”. The author brought this point home to me when looking at Jesus and his relationship with his disciples. Simon Peter started his relationship with Jesus on quite a rocky footing. He lacked experience, was often highly emotional in his decision making, and even would go as far as publicly denying Jesus three times to his face at the pivotal moment when it mattered most.
Claypool observes that Jesus sticks with Peter in spite of his rocky moments and ultimately helps Peter to be the best he can be. Jesus also checks Peter when he arrogantly inflates his own character resiliency. Outside external investment in Peter’s life, made from a position of humility and love, made a huge difference for his life trajectory and impact. Effects which likely wouldn’t have happened had Jesus never entered the scene for him.
“Sometimes we need light from a borrowed lamp, and are sustained by someone else’s faith in us.”The First to Follow by The Rev. Dr. John Claypool
This line of thinking was a cause for pause and self-reflection I did not anticipate. Much of my life’s story to date was the direct result of someone else believing in me and giving me a chance to succeed. For all that have done this, please know you’re highly appreciated even if I’ve never told you that before. My goal going forward is to try and be more aware of these people and thank them when they make those investments in me.
Lastly, there’s a moment of reflection here of our responsibility to BE that light-sharing vessel for others. We traverse the darkness of our lives with a lamp blazing of fire on loan. As it was done to us, let us do to others – share that light, lend that faith, extend that hand.