PASCO, Wash. -- God has walked with me through some changes this year. The best thing that has happened through these changes is that I have become a full-time college student. I have been so excited and I am enjoying it.
Through this process, I have met some amazing people and taken some really excellent classes. One of the classes I took summer quarter is Innovations.
Many have asked me, "What is Innovations?" and I tell them it is basically lessons in creativity.
The class teaches the students to go back to kindergarten and start over, thinking that all things are possible -- even if you do not color inside the lines. No idea is shot down. Students are encouraged to "think outside of the box." We are so used to restrictions and rules because we have been wired that way from when we were very little.
In thinking about this, I realized that God is our Great Innovator. God created the Earth. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth. Now the Earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." -- Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV).
During one class session, we had a lesson that included time to be innovative.
Big circles were made on the floor with string. In the middle of the circle was a square made out of garbage bags and on top of the garbage bag was a big black bucket with a handle. On the outside of the circle we had a gray bucket, a bicycle inner tube and a rope. The black bucket had popcorn in it and represented "nuclear waste."
As a team, our job was to figure out, with only the items we were provided, how to get the nuclear waste out of the circle without our bodies going over the circle or touching over the line. We had to plan -- and create -- something to save everyone from nuclear disaster. It required teamwork, and "out of the box" thinking (or in this case the circle). On that day, there were successes and spills.
In life, we all have many successes and spills. But I believe God wants us to be his great innovators.
Do we "think outside of the box" when we have problems?
Do we put ourselves in someone else's shoes when we see their issues?
Do we judge without finding out the real facts?
Do we team up to help someone in need?
Do we try to solve a problem with God by our side, "thinking outside of the box" looking in?
In the first chapter of Genesis, many times it was repeated, "And God said that it was good." I believe God wants to be able to say to each one of us, "You have been a good and faithful servant."
I encourage you to be one of God's great innovators.
* Janie Jonker is a Lay Speaker at Riverview United Methodist Church in Pasco.
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