A few Mondays ago I had one of those moments that come by fairly rarely in my job; an instant result. I spend my time going after what God is leading me into but often I know that I can be investing in a change that I may not see for a long time.
I was working in a local school, where we partner, and I was helping some of the young people in the class as they worked through some maths assessments on the computer. I pulled up alongside one pupil who had failed to pass onto the next level in the assessment; they were very frustrated as they had been stuck for a long while. When I asked why they were struggling with it the answer came back;
“It’s just coz I’m stupid”
Nothing gets my blood boiling than when I hear a kid believe this! So, I asked if they would be prepared to try it again and I would sit beside them and assist where I could. So we started. I worked out pretty quickly that they had a pretty good idea about how to solve each of the questions but because of their poor view of their abilities, had no confidence in their likelihood to end up with the right answer. With some gentle encouragement we continued through the assessment and in the end discovered they only had two questions wrong, allowing them to move onto the next level!
The pupil was so excited and they began to shut down the computer but before they did I asked the following question;
“So tell me. Are you smart or stupid?”
And the reply (with a big grin);
Unfortunately this kid is not the only teenager who believes they are worth very little; I remember being shocked when first hearing that some 11 year olds wanted to live on social security when they grew up! This was their view of the future! Surely our job at 11 is to dream of being something like an astronaut, model, prime minister or footballer – these guys are losing their ability to dream and believe in who they are, who God created them to be.
What’s amazing is that all that it took was for me to sit with this one pupil and assure them that they could work it out. What’s even better is that the next week when I came into the class the same pupil informed me that later that week they passed another level , on their own. This one interaction we had has given them confidence to go on and complete more!
Jesus consistently challenged and directed his disciples into situations where they felt out of their depth. I’m pretty sure none of the disciples felt equipped to feed 5000 people but yet when Jesus released them to do so they found that the Jesus in them was as big as the Jesus with them. Then when Jesus returned to heaven they didn’t stop; they continued forward and continued to move in power and saw the gospel spread across their known world.
When we release possibility we squash scarcity, we choke the mindset that feels like it can achieve nothing, that feels like the pattern of the generations is always going to be the way it has been. When we release possibility we release hope and there is a whole world out there that needs hope.