Today’s chapter really struck a chord with me! Just a few moments ago, I was praying to God, asking for his guidance, for his whispers to my heart and my head. This friend, I felt, was not really supportive, nor encouraging. She hasn’t taken any interest or given feedback about what’s important to me and, I felt, for her to be a good friend, she would want to be supportive, encouraging, take a little interest in this thing that’s important to me and give me feedback. We also have very different views on God, Heaven, Hell and the Bible. Her idea on parenting is very, very different from mine. Other stuff, too. Why have I held on to this friendship for as long as I have?
I went to my desk, read today’s chapter and got my answer, especially in the last paragraph. Mama says, “Mysterious Ways.” Indeed, he does work in mysterious ways, doesn’t he? He’s so stinkin’ cool at his answers sometimes and how he relays them to us. 😉 Thanks, God! You rock!
The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration but its donation. –Corrie Ten Boom
Money, our houses, our toys, and collections: these are just things. Things don’t last. We aren’t taking them with us when we leave this place. The only things that will last and go on, we will take with us, as well as leave behind to make a difference, are our relationships.
Relationships can be really messy. How well I know this truth. We don’t want the mess, do we? We don’t want to reach out to others and bring them in close to our hearts, where we really live. We don’t want them to know who we truly are, because then they have the ability of causing us pain. It’s a difficult thing, at times, to love others and allow ourselves to be loved by them, in return.
I have found it safer for me to distance myself. If I keep them at a distance, they can’t hurt me as deeply. Honestly, that’s only hurting myself. Not to engage in deep, personal connections is not how we are meant to live. God created us to be social, connective beings. We are to care for one another, love each other, listen and help each other.
No matter how these other people live their lives, we are to accept them anyway. We don’t have to accept their ways, nor their lifestyles. That’s not what I’m saying. We are to accept their humanness. We are not better than them, because we are Christian or we are straight, or we choose healthy people to be in relationships with. We have family members who we refuse to forgive. We choose not to deal with them because of how they live. This is wrong. I’m talking to me. Not just you.
I’ve been so selfish, so judgmental. I don’t have to agree with how someone thinks or how they live or what they believe in order to love them. I am to love them because I need to and they need me to. And God wants me to.
How can he love us the way he does, so unconditionally? We are to love this way, as well. It’s so stinkin’ hard, man! But, ok, I’m listening, God. I’ll try to do better. I’ll put forth the effort. I’ll take action. Thanks for always listening and for answering our prayers.
Did you lose a loved one and you still have unfinished business with them? Perhaps you didn’t reconnect? You didn’t forgive? You were angry with them? Did they know how much you loved them? Did you know how much they loved you?
Before my dad died, I was angry with him. It was about something stupid, something that didn’t really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. We don’t always look at the big picture, do we? Someone angers us and we stay angry. Days went by, maybe even a week and I would not hardly make eye contact with him. Oh, I’m quite the talent at holding a grudge. And no, I’m not proud of it. He just died. Just like that! So quickly. Gone. I punished myself for years, feeling regret and guilt for not being more forgiving. He was my stepdad and he always loved me as his own flesh and blood. It took me 7 years to finally let him into my heart and claim him as my dad. And the last memory I have with him was of me being angry.
Don’t let this happen to you. Forgive while you still can. Reconnect while they are still alive. While you are still alive. Let people in. It can’t be any harder to love, forgive and cherish people and let them in, than it is to die alone. Still talking to me. And you. As if you have a month to live, deal with your stuff today, while you can.
Forgive. Hold your child a little closer, a little longer. Laugh with your family more. Be silly with your friends. Have fun. Dance like nobody’s watchin’, and better yet, dance like that with someone you love. I love you! *big, long hug*