"But That's No Life For You. You Learned Christ! My Assumption Is That You Have Paid Careful Attention To Him, Been Well Instructed In The Truth Precisely As We Have It In Jesus. Since, Then, We Do Not Have The Excuse Of Ignorance, Everything—And I Do Mean Everything—Connected With That Old Way Of Life Has To Go. It's Rotten Through And Through. Get Rid Of It! And Then Take On An Entirely New Way Of Life—a God-Fashioned Life, A Life Renewed From The Inside And Working Itself Into Your Conduct As God Accurately Reproduces His Character In You."
Ephesians 4:20-24 (The Message)
"What are you so happy about?"
Is the question posed to me this morning.
"I woke up... Somewhere, someone didn't have that blessing today."
Was my response.
But, but, but... This, that and the other is going on right now, so really why are you happy? (What an amazing way to ask a question and thanks for the run down once again, on what is happening in my life, as if I am not living it day by day)
I made a choice to no longer allow my circumstances to dictate my life, and come hell or high water, I will stand by that decision.
I trust Him in each area of my life and no matter how many waves crash over me, I know He is standing there holding me.
The exact moment I made that choice, was the exact moment I found peace within.
I was in Church yesterday, it was my Sunday to usher and afterwards one of the ladies came over to speak with me.
She started with my face, how different I looked, how everything shows on my face (apparently I won't be seeking a professional poker career) and all she saw yesterday was light beaming from me.
No stress, no sadness, nothing hidden beneath the "smile," no pain behind my eyes, nothing but pure joy emanating from me. (Thank you Jesus for that, because when I look in the mirror, I am still unsure of what is looking back at me.)
She went on to say, I looked like I was enjoying what I was doing and it was nice to see someone having fun doing His work.
Let me tell you a secret, I am not the best usher to have in your Church.
Go ahead get your laughs out now, I will wait a minute...
Last month, I forgot a whole row during collection, I let people in when they shouldn't come in and let others out when they shouldn't go out, I go faster then I should during collection, (all 4 of us should be in perfect step) I forget to hand out visitor cards and if by chance I remember to hand them out, I forget to pick them up.
There are no less than 4 ushers on the floor at any given time (sometimes more, depending on if we have a special program), 2 at the back door, one on each side of the Church, I was on the side yesterday, determined to "do" everything the way I should.
I should know by now that when I have one set of plans, chances are He has other ones in mind.
So there I stood, underneath a stained glass window with a Cross and as I am looking around the Church, making sure everything was the way it should be, I "feel" eyes on me.
Ha - This is a normal feeling for me, but these eyes felt different, so I glanced around trying to figure out who was staring, I looked down and there is a little boy sitting in a pew beside where I was standing, he was no more than 2 and new to Children's Church...
I say new because I have never seen him before, he slinked over to the end of the pew so he was closer to me, one foot on the floor, the other making it look like he was still sitting...
Side note ~ When I am dealing with any of the children, I always get down on their level, in my Sunday best, I stand 6'2 and I know that can be scary to them so if you see me with a child, I am most likely on my knees ~
I smiled at him and he moved a little closer, then hopped off the pew and stood in front of me, just staring...
I bent down nonchalantly to guide him back to his seat and he puts a hand on my shoulder and offers a little squeeze, and quietly goes back to his seat...
I stand back up and see my Pastor watching the transaction taking place and he is just smiling away and of course I can feel my face flaming because there I am once again not "doing" what I am supposed to be "doing."
And as the rest of the service went on I stood there thinking about the people I see on a daily basis, the ones I see on a weekly basis and the ones I haven't met yet.
And once again I wondered what people "see" when they look at me.
I remember a time in my life when I would beg to "look" like my friends, to not be so tall, to have darker hair or brown eyes instead of blond and blue, to have different skills then the ones I have now, anything, other then the gifts He has bestowed upon me.
I despise standing out, that isn't a secret, yet as I stood there, thinking, I realized, I should stand out.
As a Christian, you all should stand out.
If I look at you, I should "see" something different in you that I don't see in a non-believer.
I want you to see something in me that you don't see in others.
Be it love or joy or light or peace...
Anything to tell you I am in your family or you are in my family.
Anything that shows I am/you are His.
Yet sadly, that isn't the case.
We seem to care more about what others think than about what He thinks, I am guilty of this as well and frankly we shouldn't care a rats whisker what others think...
We need to get to the point where we can honestly say, "It is amazing, how much I don't care."
Now when I say this I am not telling you to be callous, cold-hearted and mean, I am saying it meaning that you need to love one another, however you don't need to accept the cares of them...
Let me try that again...
"Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself," the second greatest commandment and no where does that say you need to wallow around with them when they want to have a pity party.
Their cares can not become your burdens - (G should be thrilled to see I have learned this lesson) - That falls on Him and Him alone.
I struggled with this lesson for a very long time, because I tend to feel what others bring to me, I was seriously worried about how I could be a Pastor, show empathy, yet not "care" and have a balance with my emotions.
I have talked about this more then once with my Dad as well as with G, both kept telling me it was a fine line, yet neither could tell me how I could follow it without crossing one side or the other.
If after offering a helping hand to someone, and they still choose to play in their own mud, then say a prayer for them and walk away.
I can't help you if you don't want to help yourself.
That isn't to say I am giving up on you, it is saying that I will not allow your craziness to affect my path and for to long, I am sad to admit, I have allowed others to dictate where my next steps will be, instead of allowing Him to dictate them.
This lesson has been hard for me, basically because I am a people pleaser and I want everyone to like me, well news flash (for me), the world isn't always going to like you, and there will be people that despise you for no apparent reason other than you are sharing air with them.
Suck it up and move forward....
The world can be ugly and cold and it will bring you to your knees if you allow it to.
As a Christian, you shouldn't allow it.
You should be trusting in Him to know that no matter what is happening around you, He. Is. In. Control.
You job is supposed to be imitating Him, loving His children as He loves you, walking in forgiveness, spreading His word, learning, teaching, never, ever forgetting what He did for you.
Your job is not to please yourself, or to please others...
It is to please Him.
To honor Him in all that you do, each and every single day you are blessed to be here.
That is how I should be living.
That is how you should be living.
That is how I should look different.
That is how you should look different.
That is how I should know you are of Him.
That is how you should know I am of Him.
If I can't tell and you can't tell....
How do we know, He going to tell, when the time comes?
PHILLIPS CRAIG & DEAN
You're The Only God
Whose Name And Praise Will Never End
You're The Only God
Who's Worthy Of Everything We Can Give
You Are God
And That's Just The Way It Is