That irritating kid in the front row

1 John 1:4 ESV
And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

John’s readers understood that the joy in which he was speaking would only be complete upon reaching heaven. Knowing that an interweaving of fellowship with the Father and the Son as well as the community of believers would ultimately culminate in a complete and full joy. The word for complete is plēroō which means full or to fulfill God’s will.

The letter of 1 John is written so that we might gain and obtain the ultimate goal of final joy through salvation and eternal fellowship with God.

This is why I love 1 John so much: it clearly either confirms or convicts the reader as to his or her eternal standing. There is nothing left open for discussion. It is a black and white imploring of John’s closest friends and in turn us to make sure our joy will be complete.

My desire is to do the will of God. I know I mess up a lot, but I am learning. I am striving toward growth even when others around me seem to try to slow me down. I feel like I am in a constant battle just to learn and grow. Since when in our society and even in our churches did it become difficult for the student to learn? Why is there such apathy and a need for people to conform to a certain standard or set of unspoken rules to fall in line?

I have always been a system-buster but since my salvation I have been, as much as it has been possible, submissive to my leadership. Where I seem to get myself into trouble is when there is no real reason behind people wanting me to slow down my learning process. I want to grow, but in the process I often rub people the wrong way. I go full-throttle and most people cannot or will not put up with my pace.

To that end I get in trouble. A lot. I am like that irritating kid in the front row asking “why?” every two seconds. I don’t mean to be irritating. I honestly am wanting to know. I remember my parents thinking I would for sure become a lawyer because there was never ever, and I mean NEVER EVER an end to my endless string of questions. I was incessant and quite frankly irritating. However, it is how God made me. I have been asked by people to placate myself and to learn to have a stronger filter. I get frustrated and sad. I wonder if Paul, after his conversion felt the same way. People constantly trying to tell him to cool his jets.

I like to ask people which person in the Bible they relate to the most. So often people will answer Doubting Thomas or Foot in Mouth Peter. For me, it is Paul. I have this crushing, gut-wrenching, insatiable desire to uphold God’s honor. I want to proclaim Jesus everywhere I can.

I have realized that I am often throwing pearls to swine so I have cooled it on certain platforms however I find that the older generations don’t get me. Even though I am about 2 decades outside of the true social media generation, I feel like I connect to them most because here, on the internet, is where I live.

I am a writer. I am a teacher. I am a leader. It is who God made me. I am a questioner. I am a student. I am a seeker. It is who God made me. How do I change that in a world who gets irritated by me? I don’t know. All I know is that I want my joy to be complete and I want to hear “well done, good and faithful servant.”

I am certain I will get dinged on a bunch of things. As a teacher we are assured of that. I am sure my writing offends people and that my theology is off at times. We only see in part. I do the best I can with what the Spirit and my reasonable and Berean-like Bible study habits lend me. I pray. I ask for wisdom and discernment multiple times a day. I ask for more faith and more of the Holy Spirit every day too.

God knows my heart. But man is often fumbled by me. How do I manage in the fellowship of man? I must love them. I must find a way to humble myself and somehow not push so hard. I need to learn this as I fear I will be welcomed no where. How do I humbly learn when those who try to teach me are teaching me in a way I do not understand? How do I grow in maturity when I am told to sit in the corner without knowing what I did wrong? I want to learn. I want to grow.

I am the parent of one such child. An exact “learning” replica of myself. It took me several years of parenting him to even realize this. Now I know how to teach him in the way he will learn. People are just not able to do that with each other and if they are it may take years and years, perhaps decades. Is there an answer to this?

As a teacher I know that there are so many different ways in which people learn. How do I learn in the way that I can learn when people just don’t want to help me? My heart aches because I tend to get myself stuck out on an island of misunderstanding and mutual frustration. It is awful. Dreadful. Painful. Lonely. What is the answer?

It is so obvious that I almost missed it. I almost missed its simplicity. I almost continued down the path of “It’s not me, it’s them.” The answer then is not in man, but in myself. The answer is to change myself. Learn to learn differently. Learn to be my own best advocate in my learning process. Share with my leaders how I learn so they can better teach me. SO BOTH OUR JOY MAY BE COMPLETE!

Lord, help me to communicate well. Help me to be loving in my responses. Help me to be humble and allow me to learn and grow for a complete and full joy that only You have for me through fellowship with you and with my community.

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