Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matt. 7:3-5
I always have fun in Nashville. Well, except for maybe that one time I got food poisoning at Jack’s BBQ. But besides that, I love going to LifeWay for writers conferences. I’ve been going a few times a year for 12 years now…my editors think it’s funny to introduce me to people as an “old writer.” I give them a courtesy laugh, but it’s really not all that funny. 🙂 Anyway, this trip was to help prepare me to write a series of midweek events for teenagers on emotions and self-control. In fact, I should probably be working on that now, but since I’m so old, I can probably just tell them I forgot.<
We ideate/brainstorm for 3 months of KNOWN curriculum at these conferences. Besides the 3 writers they bring in each time, these editors also invite other people, called “Ideators,” who look over the outlines and then offer ideas for creative teaching options. About 12 of us sit around a table, read through the Scripture passages and for a couple of days, throw out ideas for getting those truths across to teenagers. It’s a neat process, and I always come home ready to write. This time was especially fun for me, because my editors trusted me that my friend Kim would be a great ideator, and they invited her to come, too. I was right, but that’s all I’m going to say about that, because she might get a big head, and her creativity is superfluous to the point of this blog.
Funny things follow Kim and me wherever we go, and this trip was no different. We like to make Top 10 lists to commemorate such times. I wish I could share them with you; I can’t. But to summarize some of the less spiritual moments of our trip, I think I’ll just share an edited:) version of the one we made on the plane ride home. We even documented some of it in pictures.
Top 10 Best Nashville Moments (as far as you know)
10. Kim’s idea to give teenagers beans as a reward for memorizing Scripture. She was sharing a touching story about how they rewarded Carli for memorizing verses when she was younger, and she said “beads,” but everyone at the table heard “beans.” Not one of the 12 people in the room let that go.
9. When Kim had to read the entire book of Romans out loud (or 20 verses…whatever) when everyone else only had 1 or 2 verses. This was especially funny because she likes to pretend she doesn’t need glasses and couldn’t read her Bible. I had to find it for her on my phone and blow it up and it was still hard for her to see it. No one else in the room knew what was going on…until now.
8. These guys take No-Shave November to a whole new level…
7. Kim almost burned down the Holiday Inn.
6. Cynthia has something missing from her brain and can’t see the words in this picture, even though she tried and tried for hours and from every conceivable angle. EVERYONE else can. No one let this one go, either.
p.s. Suddenly, it’s as clear as day.
5.One of us gets a lot of attention most everywhere we go. This time, it was special treatment during beverage service and no less than 6 deliberate winks from the male flight attendant.
4. “Paging Carolyn Stankanus, please come to gate C-32.” I almost edited this one out (in fact, I’m still thinking its inclusion may not be the wisest decision), but sometimes I fall back into the “because I can” blogger mindset. Of course, Kim and I didn’t think it was funny at all 😉 but the guys from the conference thought it was hilarious. And, no lie, that page really did blare over the loudspeaker at BNA.
3. We became BFFs with Adam Sandler…no big deal
2. Everyone knows that I’m a rule-breaker. But these aren’t my hands or my phone texting long after the pilot instructed everyone to shut all electronic devices down…
1.. Crazy OCD rule follower passenger we never met telling Kim that we needed to move out of the B 1-30 line because we were clearly clearly B 31 and 32.
I’m just gonna go ahead and say it…some people are wound way too tight. We were standing at the very back of the 1-30 line because the A’s hadn’t boarded out of the 31-60 line yet, when a lady who had the fortune of being given the coveted B-30 position noticed our inferior boarding tickets. She couldn’t take it. She tapped Kim on the shoulder and told her we were in the wrong spot. You can go ahead and laugh. We did….don’t worry, not in her face or anything.
I was annoyed by the OCD lady’s OCDness. I wondered, “Who does that? Who fixates on other people’s imperfections and feels compelled to correct them?” Then it hit me, there’s a bLOG in my eye. I do that. It’s different, because I don’t really care where you stand in the Southwest Airlines line, as long as you’re somewhere close to the right area. But I still sometimes focus on the faults of other people and ignore my own. We have a whole blog post here to prove it.
I want to use the gifts that God has given me to lead people to a greater knowledge and love for Him. I can’t do that well unless I continually let Him lead me first. None of us can.
It’s not up to any of us to fix or change other people. It’s up to us to invite God to do a transforming work in our own lives, and to love other people while He’s doing it. Our family members, our friends, the people we work with, neighbors…God’s plan in those relationships isn’t for us to judge and criticize. His purpose is for us to recognize His grace and patient work in our own hearts and minds, and then to let that grace and patience spill out so that other people (maybe even a stranger in the airport) will be encouraged to do the same.