Some days just don't go as planned.
And usually it is my fault.
It's only 9am and I'm already feeling that way.
I was asked about a month ago to speak at chapel services for the week at a local Christian High School. I immediately said yes because I really like the kids that go there. Josh and I spoke at a retreat for them last year and I've done these chapels before so I feel like I know them fairly well and I've had some great conversations with a few of the students.
So I prepared 3 days of messages last week and woke up early this morning with bleary eyes and a heart of excitement. I really love to speak to young people...like a lot...so to get to do it on a Tuesday morning was out of the ordinary and I was happy.
I ran around crazy trying to make sure that the baby was fed, Selah was half-way dressed and all was set with Josh and the babysitter. I was running late (as has become the norm for me since baby #2).
But I got to the school and immediately started chatting it up with students and a few teachers. My phone was ringing, but since I didn't recognize the number I silenced it - after all, I needed to focus on why I was here. I glanced over my notes - I was sharing my first day of high school story, and I was going to share the truth that God doesn't just love you - He LIKES you.
I realized that I hadn't met the assistant principal who had invited me (he was new to the school), but I assumed that all was well since I was sitting where I normally sit and had said hi to people who knew me.
Some kids led worship and then one of the teachers came up to introduce me....but then he started to talk and said, "Well, I just found out 5 minutes ago that I was sharing, but I'm really excited to share something on my heart with you guys."
My brain swirled for a minute - wasn't I supposed to be the one sharing? Wasn't that why I had run around crazy all morning? Wasn't that why I had prepared and prayed?
I got up and inconspicuously went to the back of the room where administrators stood. Their mouths hung agape - "We didn't know you were here" they said...."we tried calling you."
And it was then that I realized that my husband is correct when he tells me that assuming things can often get us into trouble. I had assumed all morning that they knew I was there because I had said some hellos...but those hellos were not to the people who organized this chapel. And I had assumed that all was as it should be because I was sitting where I've always sat in the past, but today is a new day - it's a new school year...I shouldn't assume that they are keeping everything the same.
And so I stood there making my apologies and feeling utterly ridiculous when I heard the speaker share his heart.
He talked with passion and a knowing...He talked about identity and that God created them unique. I quieted my brain and tried to focus more on what he was saying. He told them to open their Bibles and led them to the EXACT same scripture that I had planned to use. His words were truth and I couldn't believe my ears as it dawned on me that his 5 minute preparation was leading into the same theme that I had spent much longer time developing the previous week.
And as I stood in the back of the chapel I felt like I got a nudge from God. A truth to my heart that I needed to hear:
I like you, Paige, BUT that doesn't mean it's all about you.
And in that moment I knew it was true. I was concerned that I wasn't speaking when I should just be concerned that they still got the truth He had put in my heart...that He doesn't just love them... He likes them. In fact, He likes & loves them so much that He still delivered the message of His heart to them - not through me, but through this teacher who just quickly shared out of his own experience.
And so it wasn't for me that I was praying or running around crazy this morning. It was for them - these lanky teenagers who are desperately trying to discover who they are and who God is to them. The prayers I prayed were not so I could sound good...they were so those students might really hear.
I'm just a messenger....and today, I wasn't really needed.
And so I'm going have a cup of coffee and mull that over a bit more...He does like me, but that doesn't mean life revolves around me. What a novel thought! Perhaps I'll try living that way for the remainder of the day.