“If I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never looses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance…Love will last forever! Three things last forever-faith, hope, and love-the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Cor. 13:3b-7, 8b, 13 (NLT)
I am a critical person. I can be with others but I really am with myself. I kind of have a problem with me, myself, & I. As scared as I am to be alone, I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about myself. What I want, what I do, what I don’t do, etc. I know this time of struggle is about so much more than me and what I want, but I feel like all I see is “me”.
Although I can have a tendency to be a bit dramatic, truth is I am a passionate loving kind of person (you wish, dirty minds!). I just care deeply about people. Believe it or not I often look at that as a flaw. It leads me to get my feelings hurt a lot, to over think everything to the point of exhaustion and to means I never let things go. I feel like I make something out of nothing and everything. Most times it’s just out of control.
I have spent the last few weeks writing about what I feel and am experiencing, hoping the process will help me learn to hear God better and see where He is taking me. It also just makes me feel good to have something tangible I can accomplish. But I have another motivation; I genuinely care about anyone who may be hurting (or will hurt). I don’t know if anyone is reading this (other than my beautiful mother who has read EVERY one, I appreciate you more than you can know, you inspire me), but know that if you are, even if I don’t know you, I care. I hate to see people hurt (jeez I even feel bad when people deserve it). I care about what you are going through and where your journey may be leading you.
I am one of those people who feel guilt about everything, whether it has anything to do with me or not. I often feel guilt because I can’t do more, because I can’t make a bigger difference in this world. I feel like I am fighting with all that I have and am moving inches at a time instead of miles. It is so often discouraging. But growth takes time (sometimes I fear I don’t have enough minutes on this earth left for amount of growth I need & have left). If you hear nothing else, know that inches are better than nothing. Progression is just that…progress!
This journey we are on, life itself, is a road we will continue on for our remainder of time here on earth. I used to just think that I could start growing and that one day I will get over the hill and be done growing, just rest at the top. But truth is we never stop growing, there is always something we can (and will) still learn. If God’s will is about growth, then continuing to grow in Him is doing just that, living in His will.
I think as Christians we think God is just concerned with how much we change. But we are a broken, dependant people. God doesn’t want us to focus on changing our behaviors (let’s be honest, we will just change them from one dependency to another). He wants us to allow Him to transform our hearts. Any other worthwhile change will happen as a result of that (through Him). And they won’t be changes made out of a necessity to “be good” but from an obedient heart. A heart that is so aligned with Christ that my wants and desires match His.
I struggle a lot with feeling like I am two people trapped in one body. I want to be a part of this world. There are fun aspects of it and sometimes I wish I could just be like everyone else. I often wish I could just do what I want, stop feeling all the time, and just be whomever I please. But I also want to please God, I want to be better than who I am, I want to make a difference in other’s lives. I want to have a changed heart. I want to not be ashamed to feel things passionately because that’s how He created me to be. Because somewhere, someway He has a purpose for that.
I have mentioned that I spend a lot of time thinking and praying for what I want. But right now, I feel like what I want is so small. There are so many that hurt, so many of them are in my life, people whose pain I would gladly bear for them if I could. I have mentioned how confused I feel lately, like I’m not sure how I feel or even what I really want. Many aspects of getting what I want involve someone else, someone who is hurting right now. I realize what I really don’t want is for me to get what I want at the expense of anyone else’s growth. I want what I want. But I want relationships (for me and others) with Christ more.
I think the best thing I can do for myself and everyone involved is to start praying for what’s best for everyone and not just me. I have looked at so much of this struggle as it just being about what I am going through, what I am learning. But it’s about so much more than that. Maybe the Beatles didn’t quite have it right, “All you need is love” just doesn’t quite do it, you do need more. But having a heart that is intent on loving no matter what the case, that’s invaluable. That’s showing Christ to all that you meet. It’s what this life is about.
Sorry this post has been kind of random. I just had many thoughts in my head and I honestly didn’t know any more than you where God was taking this. But as usual He has taken me in my broken, empty state and taught me something new. If you are reading this, wherever you are, know that you are loved. By me (to some of you, a complete stranger) and by a God who holds every second in His hands. Be encouraged by that. Love will change the world, even if it’s just my (and your) tiny part of it.