“What Are You Looking At?

When you look at others what do you see?

I worked in the Public School System for close to ten years. I was a Paraprofessional which is a fancy word for Teacher’s Assistant. I mainly worked with children with special needs. Since I am a special needs person, I really was drawn to helping these children and using the experiences of my own life to help them.

It is interesting the difference in perspectives. I watched people and other children looking at the children when they walked by. Some disabilities come with certain quirks. With autistic children, there are sometimes when they hit their heads or they may flap their hands. With other disabilities, they may need visuals and need to be talked through each step of the day. Transitions are difficult and the frustrations that come from that may cause behavioral outbursts.

People who only get a glimpse of the outside appearance, only see the behavior. They don’t see the person inside.

I worked with these children day in and day out. I saw the whole person. Some of these children had the sweetest spirit and very loving at times. The outbursts weren’t personal. Some of these children had strengths you never would know unless you took the time to get to know them. Several of them had  the most amazing artistic talents. I have many pictures, given as gifts, stored in a special place to look back on.

Those times with the children brought back painful moments. I remember working at a store as a cashier and because I missed things with my hearing and was a little slower at times, I was treated as I was stupid. Some people actually called me dumb and looked at me like I disgust them.

This morning I read a scripture that really stood out to me. It is one I have read many times before.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

How thankful I am for this truth!!!

Working with these children gave me the chance to know them. Despite their disability and struggles, they had so much potential and I saw that. I experienced their love and I worked hard to help them see and realize that potential in them.

People saw their appearance but I saw their heart.

I gained such freedom the day I realized this. When God said to me, “I see your heart.’ He saw how I was in Him and who He had created me to be even though I wasn’t there yet. He has worked with me to move me toward that potential. He has helped me to see that potential in myself and know that as I walk with Him, we will get there, despite what it may look like on the outside.

When you look at people, what are you looking at?

Do see the physical appearances, the weaknesses, the disabilities, or do you see a person God created? A person He created with a purpose and plan, just like He did you.

I encourage you to take time to get to know people, despite how they look, any disability, how they are dressed, or the quirky habits they may have. I believe more people would see their potential in Christ if we looked at the heart more than the appearance.

If we only look at the appearance we could miss out on someone very special that God wants to speak through to our hearts.

Let’s not miss out today!

Heavenly Father, I thank you for the people you put in our lives. I pray that we would have your eyes. I pray that we would see the hearts of people and not just the outward appearance. That we would take the time to get to know people so we may know their hearts. I thank You for making each one of us in Your image and yet so uniquely. May we realize the potential you have given us and encourage one another in finding that and walking it out with You. In Jesus Name!