Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Love of Letting Go

What is love? This question has been answered thousands of times and in millions of different ways since the beginning of time. As Christians, we know that "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."-1st John 3:16

As I ponder this verse, I can't help but take it a step further. Yes, we are called to lay down our lives for our brothers, but what does this mean? In the verse quoted above, it is indicating that we are to lay our physical lives down; be willing to die for our brothers and sisters in Christ. But in this post, I would like to look at this verse in a slightly different angle in an effort to shed light on the concept of letting go in love.

When we let go of something, we lose our grip. When we lose our grip, we lose control. Here's the truth friend: no matter how tight we hang on, how big the burden for somebody or how large the fear may be, God will have His way. In some odd way, I view that as being similar to dying for somebody because we love them. We die to ourselves; our fears of how it's going to change our relationship with them, abandonment, or the danger, pain or harm that they may be in. We do this so that God can work out in them what He needs to in order to complete His plan for their lives. 

It is natural to want to rescue a loved one from a burning building, but what if that burning building was God's intervention in their lives? What if allowing them to get burned, to experience pain and desperation, was Gods plan all along? Why do we as humans limit God's interventions in our lives to "miracles" and things that fall under the "warm and fuzzy" category? My God is warm and fuzzy, but He is also mysterious, powerful and so far above my understanding. "For as the heavens are higher then the earth, so are my ways higher then your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."-Isaiah 55:9.

May God grant you the peace and serenity to let a loved one go. May you be able to trust, see and understand what He would have you to be during that time. May your love for Christ and the faithfulness of who He is loosen your grip while in turn tightening your dependency on Him.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Importance of People

Last week I joined a Beth Moore Bible study at a church in town, and the week that I joined just happened to be about patience (Imagine that!). Throughout the Bible study we discussed the different kinds of patience, and divided those types into two categories: Patience with people, and patience in circumstances. Both types of patience can be challenging, but it seems like as individuals we gravitate more towards being more patient in one area then the other. People who work with numbers and money all day tend to have more patience with the circumstances of an account or project, where as people who are assisting disabled individuals in their day to day tasks tend to have more patience with people. 

 At some point in the Bible study, Beth Moore stated this quote that really hit home for me. " How we respond to circumstances is important, but how we respond to people is critical." It was at that point that the Lord convicted me of the fact that over the last couple of months, I have been so focused on my circumstances, that I have lost sight many of the people in my life. I have been so busy responding to my circumstances, that my response to people has been lacking and limited.
 Whether it is people or circumstances, the concept of responding can be exhausting. In fact, right at this moment I am enjoying not needing to respond to anything unless I want to. We respond to alarm clocks, we respond to paying bills, we respond to our co-workers and bosses, to our significant others, family members and friends. Responding is necessary for survival; it's often connected with meeting a need and it keeps us connected. 

When we look at scripture, it is clear that God's priorities are you and I; His babies, the "apples of his eye", His pride and joy. I am reminded of a song that contemporary music group "Point of Grace" put out years ago in the 90's, "God Loves People More than Anything". God did not sacrifice His one and only son specifically for circumstances, but for His children. Isn't it fair to say that we should strive to do the same? We may not be asked to sacrifice our lives, but be asked to lay other things on the altar; time, pride and our comfort zones, just to name a few. This is asked of us whether or not we would deem ourselves a "people" person.

So the next time you are more concerned about checking off the next item on your "to do" list, may you have eyes and the heart to see that the little old woman in the pink sweater ahead of you in line, who is taking 15 minutes to write out a check because she has no idea how to swipe her debit card to pay for her items, is by far more important then getting to the next circumstance of your day. May we all strive to love people more than anything.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Not Meant for This

Have you ever asked the question "What am I meant for?" I can imagine that when Amelia Earhart   hopped in her plane and soared across a sunset over the pacific, she either whispered to herself or shouted out loud above the roar of the engine "I'm meant for this!". And I am sure that Mrs. Fields said the same thing when she realized that she made the best chocolate chip cookie in the history of the world, and was able to become a millionaire and a household name as a result. 
There was a time when I had that feeling, and those times usually consisted of a senior citizen understanding their worth and value as a child of God, despite what the world would communicate to their spirits. And there were other times when I was under the glow of stage lights, singing my heart and soul out to an audience that affirmed in me that "I was meant to do this". It's an empowering feeling to know that, deep within your heart, you are doing what you were meant to do. People spend their whole lives trying to figure out what they want to be "when they grow up", buying countless self help books and spending thousands of dollars on letters to put behind their name, all in the relentless pursuit of finding that "fit".
For the past month and a half, I have spent my weekly 40 work hours knee deep in mapping patient appointments, preparing documents and going to great measures to speak to a real person at an insurance company, because their stupid automated systems won't tell me the coverage information that I need to complete my task. After 3 1/2 hours of repeating the words "provider" "benefits", spouting off alpha prefixes and trying to gracefully deal with snotty, fast paced insurance reps who would rather confuse you then actually help you, I threw up my hands, and asked God to provide me with the strength that I needed to complete my shift.
As always, God provided and I made it through my shift without screaming or bawling my eyes out. As I drove down the road and later purchased uniforms to the tune of $81.16, I lost it. The tears came, and out came the words "God, I wasn't meant for this!". My tears represented words that I wasn't able to verbalize, those words being that I was meant for ministering to people's spirits, investing in relationships, encouraging and inspiring them and placing my hand on their shoulder or giving them my hand to help them rise up from their fall. Earlier this week I had asked God to help me focus only on the patients, and to do everything that I could to make a positive interaction on every single patient that I came in contact with, despite the fact that it would only last for about 5 minutes. 
 It didn't take long for me to hear that gentle voice of my Savior. "But Sarah, this is where I've placed you. Please trust me." Humility set in when I realized that not only is my Lord in control, but that He is weaving a series of events together out of love for me. Out of love. I have begun to question what I was "meant to do", but in the process have realized that what I'm "meant to do" is to trust Him with all my heart, body and soul, no matter the difficulty. Why am I meant to do this? Because I belong to Him. He was meant for me, and I most definitely was meant for Him.