“... the 12 year old little kids downstairs… you guys need to be an example to them.”, my youth teacher stated confidently, unfortunately he didn’t know that I was 12.
At Portage Evangelical Church you are placed in sunday school classes according to the year you were born not your current age, which makes complete sense. Since I was born at the end of the year I’m one of the last to turn the next age… which is why I was in youth at the age of 12.
That sunday has always stuck in my head. Mainly because “little kid 12 year old” kept going through my head, but also because of what he was teaching on, 1 Timothy 4:12 : ”Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” and was calling us out not to be detoured from doing great things just because we are young. I liked that verse so much, it was humbling yet empowering to think that I was an example to some people and that people may look up to me.
I remember going home and telling my mom about that verse and I made a point to memorize it. Maybe I had sort of the wrong reasons for liking the verse at the time but I know it was a good thing that I memorized it and took it to heart. I still am a pretty quiet girl but when people started asking me to fill positions and help in different things that required leading I wasn’t so quick to say no. I also started taking initiative in group settings and being the one that spoke out.
Now I am by no means saying I’m perfect, or that I always led correctly, or that I am always brave enough to lead… in fact I just the other day I was terrified to lead something. Also sometimes it’s not good to take leadership and I’m still learning that in different areas and situations in life.
Being an example isn’t only leading though, you can be an example in a quiet and silent lifestyle. The woman who has had the biggest impact in my life, other then my mom, has lived a quiet life and shows how she loves by how she serves and listens. That is a beautiful thing too, a very beautiful thing. It is an awesome skill to know the fine balance in the challenge that verse puts forward.