Monday, August 2, 2010

Think. Pray. Love

Hey all!
(Yes. The title is supposed be a play on "Eat. Pray. Love." )
I thought I had better post at least something, as it's been a couple days. I have to start off with "The Lord is Awesome!" though, and let me tell you why! First, he's God. All powerful ruler of the universe. Yeah. THAT dude. He is also the loving father who created us, LOVES us unconditionally and eternally, and who sacrificed his son Jesus Christ to allow us to spend eternity with Him. If that's not the epitome of awesome, I don't know what is!

Now, during the past few day,s I've felt really convicted about some things.
#1 - My dedication to Christ.
I've been asking myself if I really am living for Him. If I am giving up what this world has to offer for His purposes, wanting to spend time with people not just for myself, but in order to show them God's love, building them up and helping them grow. Do I really have a heart for reaching this world, or one that is passionate if not ablaze for being a witness in word and deed to those around me? I'd have to say that no, I'm not. I've given in to much of the what the World wants of me. I am selfish. I am conceited. I am often far too concerned with my own spoiled wellbeing to go out of my comfort zones and talk to person sitting on the bench next to me, the mother watching her kids play on the playground, or the classmate sitting one row in front of me. There are also so many opportunities to serve that I desperately want to get involved in. But obviously not enough. Because once I decided I liked what they stood for, I said "Good going!", and moved on. I didn't dig deeper and find ways to help out. Now, you might reprimand me sharply for beating myself up about some of this. I've not been well enough to do nearly as much as everyone else, or be expected to take up volunteer work.
Yes. That I understand all too well, I'm afriad. But that shouldn't mean I can't volunteer at Wheeler Mission a couple times a month or that I can't cook or help my mum cook a meal to deliver to a friend. It shouldn't mean that I have to say no altogether. I should be seeking God's will in my life, ready to put myself on the sidelines to help and serve others.

A logical followup to this then, is
#2 - Following up on what God lays on my heart.
Another thing that struck me was that no matter how many times I go through the "you should have done this" speech, I can't just leave it at that. If my convictions are going to lead to anything, I must act on them.
I can tell you this: That I am now in talks with my mum about me/us coordinating a monthly/bi-monthly Wheeler Mission outreach.
I am also going to start out with the guitar and piano basics again to see if I can rebuild my muscles in my fingers and loosen them up so that sometime in the next year I can play for people in nursing homes and rehab facilities. It's always such a joy to be around them and to serve. Now, I will have something to offer in return.
I am also going to start a whole calendar with all the birthdays of my friends and family, as well as friends of friends. Because of a prompting from our pastors at the beginning of service, I will also create special one for the birthdays of everyone in our daughter church in Seattle, Washington. I'm not well enough to head out there for a missions trip or to help out in the church for a time. But I can at least offer them encouragement in the form of a simple letter or card, and my prayers on their behalf.
In addition, I will be looking for more opportunities to serve my parents and siblings, as well as my friends. I've been told by some people that I have a servants heart. At times, I can agree with them. God has blessed me with a great willingness and need to help, serve, and encourage others. But I often let my own desires pull me away from that calling. So here I am, not "beating myself up" over it, but using my slip-up as further fuel to push forward and become more like my Savior - a giver, not just a receiver; a lover, not just one loved; an enourager, not just one needing encouragement.

Now, these are major steps for me, or anyone for that matter. To break free from our comfort zones and our habits and our selfishness is one of the hardest things we mortals can do. So I will need your prayers. Thankfully, God has placed many prayer warriors in my life, so I know I will have a small army behind me.

But most of all, I would ask for prayer that I can truly LOVE.
I want my friends and my family, strangers and familiars, to know that I am filled with the Love of Christ, and that I in turn wish to share my love with them. If you're reading this, I hope you know that I love you. I may not always show it, but I do have a knack for loving even those who are unloveable for a time (except when it comes to my dad. But that's another struggle and another story!).
The major hard part for me is opening myself up to people. When you love someone, you are saying "I give part of myself to you". It's then up to them how to respond, and how to care for the piece of your heart you've so willingly given to them. It can be rough. You will get burned. You will be betrayed. But life is not worth living if there is no love. We would have no eternal life without Christ's love. We would have no true, deep, lasting relationships if we did not love. In a way, Love is the greatest gift one human being can give to another. I think that's why I cherish it so much when someone says to me "I've really missed you.", "I love you", "You're special to me", calls me one of their good friends in front of others, or gives me a long, hard hug that says "You mean so very much to me".
I pray I can be that kind of person.

Before I finish this off, I'd like to share a passage about love from the book "Sometimes I Wake Up Grumpy...and sometimes I Let Him Sleep". Author Karen Scalf Linamen writes
Remember Margery Williams' classic story The Velveteen Rabbit? The Velveteen Rabbit was a stuffed bunny, the favorite plaything of a little boy who loved him very much.
Unfortunately, in the process of being loved, this rabbit got rained on and dragged around. He got bruised and torn, muddy and worn. But that love--even though it sometimes hurt--was the thing that made him real.

The wise old Skin Horse in the nursery explained it well:
"Real isn't how you are made. It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit
"Sometimes," said the Skin horse, for he was always truthful... "Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby"

Wouldn't it be great if there were an easier way? But the truth is that you and I love imperfectly, the people who love us love imperfectly, and sometimes we hurt each other in the process. We have scars and patches and threadbare places, and there are days when we feel as if we're coming apart at the seams.
Loving and being loved exacts a toll. But love is also a profound privilege, because you and I have the opportunity to discover what it means to be fully human.
We have the change to become Real."

That passage struck me the first time I read it, so much so that I had to read it again. I've been damaged, sometimes so much so that I believe I'll never be whole again. But along comes God, and those souls who He's placed in my path to show me His love. And I get back on my feet again. It's still very hard for me to trust people. But thank God I've been blessed with so many people in every area of my life who are trustworthy. They have enabled me to see that the scars I carry are signs of my strength, and how I survived this world's troubles, not symbols of failures in unhealed injuries.
I may carry the signs of the world and it's cruelty, but upon my heart is a seal that says I Am His.
And no matter how many times I fail, no matter how many times I stumble and fall, He will help me back up again, ready to say "I am Loved, For He Is Mine."

My prayers and love go out to you, dear readers.
May the Lord bless you this week, as He has me.
And may He present an opportunity that I recognize so I can in turn show you the Love He has given.

Be Well!


Merry said...

That post showed love.

I love you too. Let's both show each other and others in our actions.

Rae Hitchings said...

*smile* I'm glad you're still reading! haha
And I was hoping it would show some of my love for you all. I'll pray that you too can show Christ's love the way he intends. But you already to it quite well, Merry. At least with friends :)
Love you!

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