Have you ever had someone push you to something greater? Have you ever had somebody see something in you that you never would have seen in yourself? Maybe it was a parent, minister, coach, friend, teacher, or mentor…
The Bible shows an awesome example of this in Exodus 3-4 when God calls Moses to something greater. God tells Moses that he is going to use him to lead the Israelites out of slavery. Moses does not see in himself what God sees because he starts to give every excuse in the book why he is not the man for this God-sized job. Nevertheless, God calls Moses to something greater that he would have never done on his own.
During my junior year at Lipscomb University, I took a class entitled “Spiritual Formation for Ministers”. This class was taught by Dr. Earl Lavender. I really enjoyed this class for many reasons: it was a deep class, we read The Divine Conspiracy (a very deep and very heavy book by Dallas Willard), the class dealt with the heart, it did not feel like a typical college course, etc.
Like most of my classes in college, this class required each student to write a large 12-14 page paper. I wrote my paper on who knows what and turned it in to the professor. When the day came where we got our papers back with our grade, my paper was suspiciously absent. Dr. Lavender walked over to me and calmly asked, “Will you please see me in my office after class?”
Those are some of the worst words a paranoid, insecure college student could hear after such an important paper. I immediately started going through the worst case scenarios in my head. “Why would he need to meet with me?” “Did I plagiarize?” “Did I completely mess up the assignment?” “Did I write using the APA style when I should have used a MLA style?”
I was freaking out.
As I walked into Dr. Lavender’s office, I was prepared for the worst. He asked me to sit down and then told me something that shocked me.
The professor told me that I had a true, rare gift of writing. He told me to keep writing and to keep getting better in that area of my life. As he encouraged me to continue refining my writing skills, he handed my back my 12-14 page paper, which was graded an “A”.
As I lifted my jaw off the professor’s office floor, I immediately began to question his observation. Like most things that push us towards better things that are often bigger than ourselves, I wrestled with it, fought it, questioned it, and tested it.
I am still not 100% sure that Dr. Lavender was right, but I do know that one conversation has had a significant impact on my life. A huge reason why I started this blog over a year ago was because of that conversation with my college professor. While I am not writing books, I am still refining the gift he saw in me.
Dr. Lavender, I want to thank you for seeing something in me that I would have never seen in myself. Thanks for pushing me and making me think. You may not even remember me, that day, or that conversation, but God used you to forever change my life. You may never read this, but thank you.