I think that being intentional, i.e. living in an intentional, God-centered community, has the potential to blossom into something true and beautiful. It’s the same with the at-risk kids I work with. My time with them is most fruitful when I plan what we do or what I say to them. But on an oh-so-near spectrum, it’s incredibly easy for me to get sucked into a sweaty mess of me trying too hard to be the perfect mentor or friend.

Today I noticed that I get frustrated ridiculously easy when it’s hard to get along with the children. When I’m unable to connect with them (either at my fault or theirs) I make it unbearably worse – and awkward – by trying too hard, by going against my natural inclination to simply back away and let the disconnection simmer.

Today is one of those days that I need to just be myself more than ever. I need to be more genuine. I need to stop trying so hard. Because the kids notice when you strain for words, or when you hesitate way too long when they ask you questions, or when you are uncomfortable with silence. I’m still in a place where it’s hard to simply be myself around them, because I am still so worried about their at-risk status and I’m way too understanding that they might go off the deep end if I’m not sensitive to that in my actions and words.

By trying too hard I am placing a lot of hefty pressure and expectation on both them and myself, also.

Eight months into this job and I’m still struggling in my daily interactions with the children (insert expletive here)! I suppose I could work here a dozen years and still not learn all I need to be the perfect role model.

The primary revelation behind these ideas is that, like Paul says, there is nothing I can do apart from Christ. Wherever I cannot run the race, He can run marathons. It’s a truly sweet deal to be a follower and to place my faith in Him, the point being that I cannot but He can, and then some. This is something that I can’t depend on myself to figure out, I can’t discipline myself to become a more sincere person or a better mentor, but with God’s help, the possibilities are endless.

I suppose that these eight months at the Children’s Home have shown me how graceful of a God I serve, and how utterly necessary it is to go to Him with my flawed character or outlook, and really expose those areas for Him to make righteous. So undoubtedly if I want to continue see fruit in this part of my life, I’ll have to depend on His grace to help me be more intentional with the kids or to simply be a better mentor or stop trying so hard in my relationships… all around a superb thing to keep in mind, no matter where I’m struggling.  I’m thankful for this reminder today!