At every school I worked in, my first week of teaching was always the same. Students trudged into my room in full body armor, their defensive walls up. They’d heard Chemistry was hard. Would I make them look stupid in front of their peers? I could hear their helmets clink as they lifted their visors a crack when I welcomed them. Was this a ruse, my claims that this was a safe place to learn? That I believed in them and knew they could succeed? A few teens tried to be funny, striking before I could embarrass them. Most just tried to be invisible.
Thankfully, as days went by, most students unfastened their armor and dropped their shields. They learned that I would come to their sides, kneel beside their desks, and that we would balance equations together. When they tried on their own and struggled, I’d do my best to pull them out of their mess. We’d try again, as often as needed, until they could solve the problems on their own.
The psalmist calls on God to lead and teach him with mercy and love. How comforting that God is so faithful to us, so worthy of our trust. We don’t need to approach God with armor on, protecting ourselves from divine wrath or disappointment. God loves us exactly as we are, no matter what anyone says. God will not give up on us. Because we know God’s faithfulness, we can try to be faithful to God. We can step out on a limb and follow Jesus, daring to love and serve relentlessly, with full confidence that if we find ourselves entangled, God will pluck [our] feet out of the net (v. 15). Thanks be to God!
How might you serve God differently if you didn’t have to worry about looking foolish or making mistakes? Might you dare to try?
Dear God, help me let go of my own self-consciousness in my service for you. As I go about my day, remind me that I am held and loved completely by you. Amen.