have you ever been sitting at your desk minding your own business, lost in your work happy work place, when your stream of consciousness gets hijacked? please, tell me I’m not the only one! that happened to me the other day. out of the blue! i was doing some research on how to make incremental changes to a recommendation engine given tight budget constraints when my brain suddenly halted midstream. and then i heard …
“stop saying helping just one person is good enough. it’s not. that’s an attitude of lack and limitation.”
but just like that it was gone. and i was back to reading about collaborative and content-based filtering like nothing had even happened. but something did happen. this totally happens to you right?
let me rabbit hole for a second. you should know that i spent my sunday morning catching up with my friend angela. we hadn’t been able to connect in a meaningful way since the year began, so instead of sitting next to each other in service, we decided to grab some coffee and a quiet table in the church lobby and catch up. it was a super juicy conversation where we shared new revelation we received for the current year, things we were believing and hoping for, stuff we had to process, and junk we were ready to or had already started to discard. like i said, it was juicy!
one of the things i remember sharing with angela was a download i got during some quiet time at the end of the year. i’m not going to share it now because i believe it’s not for public consumption, but it definitely speaks to my aversion to thinking small. i just don’t see the point! ya’ll know i identify as a christian and my faith touches every area of my life. part of that faith is professing belief in a god who is without limits. if my god has no limits, i don’t see a reason why i should be any different.
that brings me back to my whole reason for writing this post. the interruption in my string of consciousness challenged my narrative. do you really live without limits? well, do you? how many times have you said, or heard someone say “if i can help just one person, then i’ve done my job? i’ve made a difference?” if you’re black and you go to a black church regularly then you have definitely heard or said those words. they are engraved in our christianese dictionary. you can probably find that string of words embedded in our dna. it is part of us to the core. and it is evidence of our complete and total indoctrination in lack mentality. everything has a limit, even the amount of difference we can make in the world.
the only problem is it’s total bullshit. there would be no chrisitan church if only reaching one person were enough. colonialist foolishness aside, spreading the gospel was never, ever supposed to stop at one. it was always supposed to be about nations. when jesus appeared to his scaredy-cat homies (lowkey, i would have been scared, too) he told them to teach nations across the entirety of earth. every nation. every tongue. everyone. jesus pretty much told them to make the gospel lit around the globe.
it might start with one person, but it’s never supposed to end there. you don’t get a trophy for completing the first mile when you’re running a marathon. hell, you don’t even get a medal unless you finish, no matter where you place. so, why are we so quick to pat ourselves on the back for operating in limited faith? i did say we.
“you think too small.” god might as well have yelled it over the loud speaker at the super bowl during half time. but he didn’t. he said it while i was sitting at my desk working on a project to move us to the next level. i was thinking too small. god was inviting me to think bigger!
i enjoy going to work everyday because i absolutely love my job. i impact the lives of kids daily and get immediate feedback on how they feel about what i do. i love data, and in my job, the data is immediate and truthful. i can dive into the numbers and read the stories it tells. i can then evaluate my weaknesses and make adjustments. the possibilities are endless. it’s a beautiful thing.
you know what else is a beautiful thing? looking at one person and seeing the generations of people who will be affected by the choices he or she will make today. i can’t say for certain what exactly god meant, but i am beginning to understand what it means to look at one person and only see one person because of an attitude of lack.
it is never just one person. it is always a multitude. always. when god sees you or me, he sees us while also seeing those who came before us and those coming after us. yes, we serve a personal god, but we serve an infinite god. so it’s not just about you! it’s not just about me! it’s not just about one! if we are satisfied with planning for just one person, we aren’t doing it right.
the next time you spend hours planning for something, don’t you dare think reaching just one is good enough. don’t you dare speak words of lack. even if one person shows up, you look at that person as if she has the ability to change the world of multitudes of people, because she does.
if you’re not quite sure what that looks like, take a lesson from the scifi goddess octavia butler. this affirmation written on her notebook surfaced on the webs today and it gave me all the feels. talk about thinking big, believing big, and confessing big. she looked at her stories and saw the multitudes of people who would read them and be changed by them. that’s the kind of abundance mentality we all need to speak into existence.