Do you have a favorite teacher?
My favorite teacher of all time was one I had in 8th grade for Language Arts and Social Studies. Let’s call her Ms. K.
Ms. K had a way of noticing every student. Being noticed was really important to 8th grade me . . . well . . . to always me . . . When a few other students and I were not really being challenged by the curriculum, Ms. K started a brand new program – just for us to challenge us to higher thinking. I will never forget how it felt to be noticed for being different.
It wasn’t just academics, though. I loved to make hemp bracelets as a kid. I would learn different knots and braids, choosing new patterns, placing bead after bead after bead. I would do it in class to help me listen to lectures.
One day, after a holiday, Ms. K walked up to me with a gift bag. I opened the bag to discover a brand new roll of hemp rope and some of the most beautiful beads I had seen. She had picked each out specifically at the market that weekend for me.
I felt known.
– I wasn’t just the kid who was too talkative and distracting – I needed a new challenge.
– I wasn’t just a kid who didn’t pay attention – using my hands made me a more productive and creative student.
– I wasn’t just a kid – I was Jenni.
I saw Ms. K at a coffee shop recently. It had been years since we talked.
I sat down with her, and I listened to her share about her incredible son and the weight of leading the next generation – and how seeing students like me grow up to become who we were meant to be gives her hope.
She said something that stuck with me that day, “I love to watch people give themselves permission to be on a journey.”
Ms. K had given me permission as a kid to be on my own journey – to become my own person. And that permission gave me great confidence and hope.
At some point in our lives, though, we have to stop waiting for another person to give us permission to step into our purpose – drawing our confidence from the identity we each have as unique masterpieces of Creation. Those of us who follow Jesus hear him say to us, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21
I am sending you . . . You. On purpose, for a purpose.
– You don’t have to be afraid and directionless – you are being sent by God.
– You don’t have to worry about your future – you have been given Peace that passes all understanding.
– You don’t have to stay stuck in your failure – you have been made a new creation.
Have you been waiting for permission to grow? Permission to surrender to your calling? Permission to feel what you are feeling and to face what you are facing with courage and truth? Permission to be exactly who God made you to be?
Consider this moment your permission slip.
You have permission to see people you might otherwise miss.
You have permission to work hard and go above and beyond to reach your purpose.
You have permission to hurt when life is painful.
You have permission to celebrate when life is just too good.
You have permission to fail and permission to GET BACK UP.
You have permission to not have all the answers and permission to chase your curiosity.
You have permission to share your gifts with the world around you.
You have permission to trust exactly how loved you are by your God.
Permission is scary, because it ruins our excuses.
Can I tell you that I treasure my excuses? When I refuse to take action once I recognize permission, it is only because I am afraid.
Let’s not live our lives afraid.
You have permission to take your journey exactly where God created you to go – the only thing that can take it away is you, refusing to grow.