Today I completely forgot it was Valentine’s Day until I got to the elementary school that I tutor at, since – of course – there were Vday parties in every classroom. My last class I tutored in finished off with Valentines and candy exchanges. It was too cute and it threw me back to the good ole’ memories in the classroom. Of course, I received a few consolation Valentines as the transient tutor of the class – but adorable nonetheless. =D
My 2 years tutoring in the classrooms have probably taught me the most about interacting with people because I’ve come to realize the rawness of human interactions, which kids epitomize. I’ve seen affection at its rawest, pride at its rawest, desire for love at its rawest, jealousy at its rawest, innocence at its rawest, and even embarrassment at its rawest.
Many times I’ve seen my past (or even current) thought processes play out in the kids in the classroom, which has reminded me the beauty of refinement but the ever presence of messiness. The kids have taught me the proper place and time for discipline, for gentleness, for emotional intelligence, for humor, and for affection.
As I reflected on this in the classroom today, I realized that coming into college I held a lot of false humility (aka pride), thinking myself highly mature in age and in faith. Like some of my kids, I was ignorant to it and how obvious it was to others. I was looking for things that would build me up with knowledge both academically and spiritually – thirsting for the fresh, the challenging, the obscure – things that would make me a stellar disciple in life. Then today I was moved by the Spirit to look up a verse: “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up…” My posture with which I receive knowledge is vastly more transformative than the knowledge I receive. I only started to grow from my spiritual plateau (after an exponential 1st year) when I no longer felt I could not receive anything “new” from people’s teaching or training. The conviction came 2.5 years later, but I’ve realized that the most effective conviction is always from the Spirit, so it’s right on time. Through experiencing ministry and sharing life in community, the refinement continues. Bible studies have become familiar and welcomed paths that are now etched in with greater color and detail. Relationships have become real and affectionate, offering blessing and reproving. Prayer has become more precious than sleep. And my perspectives of the world are still being transformed in which worldly wisdom is torn down by truth.
So my prayer for today (for myself and you, since you’ve read this far) is one for continual and brutally real humility.