It’s calling me. Pulling. Tugging at the deepest places inside of me. I’m ready for something more. The desire to be building for the Kingdom right near the throne of God. I want to be reaching out and impacting lives; sharing the story of His glory; leaning into broken poured-outness; to spill the love that has been given so freely to me. I want ground breaking. Soul shaking. Breath taking. I know it will sometimes be still and quiet. I know it will sometimes thunder. I am ready.
I am terrified.
Inherent in this desire; in this calling; is a directive from the Gospels that I look at with longing and with a little bit of fear. It’s said several ways; written across scripture.
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:29-31There’s a lot of loving here. And teaching, discipling, going, praying. And loving. I’m okay with that part. But do you see what else is there? People. Our neighbors.
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:10
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Galatians 5:13-14
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19
It’s about loving our neighbors.
Now I realize someone’s going to start laughing at this point. Or looking askance; trying to figure out what angle I’m taking as I write. What in the world is she trying to say?
The truth is I have a hard time with people.
There. I’ve said it.
A lot of the time, I just plain don’t like people.
People frustrate me.
They aggravate me.
They irritate me.
They exasperate me.
Even the ones I really, truly love. You’ve read here in this space how I struggle with anger. Along with that comes the connected struggles with impatience, high expectations (trust me, they’re with myself as well – first and foremost in fact), and trust. Or in my case, not trusting.
I mask this bit of twisted reality fairly well behind a nice girl shell (nice girl, I’m going to have to write about that one, one of these days soon), which is why I expect people to wrinkle their noses with doubt or laugh soft and patronizingly when I make statements like I did above. They can’t imagine this is real. They can’t imagine I could possibly struggle with this.
But at the same time that I glare ferociously at my fellow man and lose patience with all our collective inadequacies, I also have a deep desire to follow the heart of God and help be a small part of loving people into a real relationship with Him. Complicated? Yes. Conflicted? Sometimes. What can I say? It’s what I have.
And to have this; to own this; I must reach down inside myself – reach past myself – find strength beyond myself to do the one thing I am very often afraid to do.
Connecting with people, in all their frailties, insecurities, inadequacies, and inestimable failures is what we – those who are called and loved by God (here’s a hint: that’s all of us) – are called to do.
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19This is what I’m pondering. This is what I’m meditating on as I desire to be poured out – as I desire to serve. Not just in some lofty, idealized way, but in the gut-wrenching, daily kind of service. The kind that makes me cringe because it’s all sorts of rubber-meets-the-road mentality. How do I love and serve people – the immediate people around me in my immediate world, as well as the world at large, the global community? How do I take what I've been given: unfettered love from an uninhibited God towards me in all my messiness, and turn it into love for a broken world in all its messiness?
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
To be honest. I feel like I can better handle the global community. It’s easier to sponsor a child in Bangladesh. Or help raise money for a well in South Africa. Or write words in support of rescue missions against human trafficking in Southeast Asia than it is to practice kindness, gentleness, and self-control with people who don’t listen to you, who cut you off in traffic, or who continually forget how to find the Start button on their computers. But that action – that living out of the Gospel in my life – I think it’s just as important as making strides in the in the far flung corners of the world. Maybe more so because it asks more of me. It asks that it be me. Not my words. Not my money. Not my good intentions. Just me. Doing my very best to display the characteristics of the living God in my day-to-day life. Broken and poured out, so that others will see His name in the language of my actions.
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I'm joining Simply Beth for her Three Word Wednesday link up and am looking forward to getting to know this circle of writers. For this link up, choose three words; share a post, photo, or scripture that highlights those three words; link up here; and share some encouragement and blog love with other writers.
All scripture references are taken from the English Standard Version