I have this untested theory that everyone is an echo. What I mean by that is, you have been shaped in your life by people and you take what they have done or said and apply it to your own life. You will use it, but also put your own little spin on it. Thus creating an echo. Truth that was spoken into your life is reworked and spoken over someone else. When I think of these echo’s I hear their voices and it creates a sort of test for me to undertake. I want to spend time in this blog to share some of these people for me and maybe get you to consider – who would make your list? Or as I have put it, a test.
I remember at homework club one Wednesday, Johnny Hill sat with me and taught me how to turn a calculator off. My mind was literally blown away, I always thought it went off by itself eventually…WHO KNEW!! And I look to that moment and go ‘yeah, I want to have them moments with young people, I want to share pointless information that makes them go WOW’. I love them light switch moments. Thanks Johnny.
I think of Lisa who saw a leader in me and wasn’t afraid to tell me. At the time it was probably a bit overwhelming, but it helped guide me on the path I have found myself on, and I so want to be able to do that with people. It makes me think, where can I bring an encouraging word to someone who needs it? Thanks Lisa.
Or the mum who would sit and listen to my rambling thoughts as a teenager and a young adult about what was wrong with the church and how we could do better. She cheered me on to go and do something about it. She also rejoiced as I sat there reading the Street Bible. I could go on about this one, but I think I’ll just say this. Thanks Karen.
As a youth worker in a church, I do have to look after people, it requires a lot of listening, a lot of patience and the odd word here and there to help and support. St. Francis (no, not the Pope) once said we should preach the gospel at all times and occasionally use words. And I look to Simon and go yeah, he does that. He did it with me. In my head when someone is speaking to me, I am always trying to formulate a response, but then I get Simon’s voice in my head and he’s telling me to shut up (lovingly I will add). Thanks Simon.
I’m going to be writing a paper for college with the Church of Ireland this week and we have been given 3 options for topics. They are 1) truth 2) creation 3) pain and suffering. Now you may look at that list and go, yeah, I could do something on the first two with a bit of work, but I’ll probably skip that last one, it’s a bit too tough of a topic, and that’s fair. That’s why we have options, but I don’t get that option. I get that Northern Irish voice doing that laugh he does, and he says, “Brian, there is only one topic you are going for”. And he’s not wrong. I’ve been shown many ways of studying faith, but the one I am drawn most to is the one who shaped my thoughts on it all during my teenage years. I don’t think faith is something I ever want to get comfortable with and disregarding the bits that overwhelm me or intimidate me doesn’t work. I need to wrestle with them. I blame Michael for that. He gave me the confidence to face them head on, and not be afraid to hold an opinion different to others. Thanks Michael.
There are of course so many more that I could write of, but I have a word count. But people like Tara and her work with Quantum inspiring me, or Kaleb teaching me how to be a positive role model, like Karl and Marilyn leading the 20 somethings, stepping into the mission field, wow. Or Peter, who mentored me and shoved me through the door of IBI. He knew when to push and when not to. I hope I can be better at that. I haven’t even mentioned Isaac! Man you’re a legend!!
You have seen some of mine, what about you? We all have people in our lives who have shaped different aspects.
Some positive, some negative. But they have all shaped you to be the person you are as you read this whether you like it or not. God gives us people as a gift to speak life into us. To shape us, to mould us. To make us more like Jesus. I wonder who would make your list? Whose voice do you hear when in certain situations? Who tests you? What echo’s seep through as you live your life?
If anything, I hope this blog shows my appreciation and love for those mentioned (and the many who weren’t) and how their words are echoing in my life and work. Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God and love people. I think we could do better at the loving people part. And I think part of that includes telling people what impact they have had. Not to big up their ego, but to affirm them and encourage them that the Kingdom work they are doing is good and honourable. I would love to see a community that builds up people, that recognises the good people are doing, that promotes the impact someone has on them. A community that learns to love well. Love isn’t meant to be kept in a bottle that comes out in spurts. Love is in action and word and deed. Love builds up, doesn’t tear down. Love sits at the table of those who would betray him and washes their feet. Love breaks down walls and builds a larger table. Love sees the intrinsic value a person has and rejoices in that image bearer. So why can’t we?