I don't know what's come over me. Two posts in one day! Maybe it's because I'm wearing my blogger T-shirt today ( the one I bought for Brad on his birthday last year but adopted for myself when we found that it was too small for him). Maybe it's due to the recent long drought of posts. Perhaps this post will never make it to press. I feel I have a lot to pour out and so I may end up stepping on some toes...
Let me just start by saying, I LOVE YOU ALL. ( What a great disclaimer, hmmm?)
I'm getting all verklempt about people. I know that I am part of the body of Christ- which consists of other people. It has been thoroughly engrained in me that we need other people to survive and, indeed, THRIVE in the Christian life.
But right now, it seems that other people, more often than not, are simply instruments of frustration and pain. There is a fine line between being strengthened by others and coming to depend unhealthily on others. Is it cynical or realistic to think that other people, no matter how well intentioned, are sooner or later going to hurt you, disappoint you, betray you or leave you...? I don't like talking about how people have let me down; I'd rather think about something else because it's too depressing. But the hurt is still there, whether you talk about it or not. How do you deal with that wound? What do you do after you say, "Okay, I understand, I forgive..." but you're still sad and upset?
I guess this experience must be a good thing though, because it causes me to ask myself,
" WHY do I do the things I do? WHY do I believe, act, pray, talk, worship, conduct myself the way I do? Why do I hold so tightly to this way of life? Is it because of other people? Because they're doing it? Because I don't want to disappoint them? Is it just habit? Is it because this is what God wants me to do? Is it because I think this is The Way Things Ought To Be- the true, original and future way of life?"
Oswald Chambers said something like this, " It's just me and God; other people are just shadows." ( Claire Paraphrased Version.) I love that quote. It brings helpful perspective. Right now I feel like, BRING IT ON! If only other people WERE just shadows. I think I could deal with them a lot easier that way.
Brad asked me the other day if I was going to give up anything for Lent. Right now, I think I should give up PEOPLE for Lent! Why do I get the feeling that this is a totally fleshly impulse? ARGH.
In times like these, I LONG to be one of those monastic hermits. I think that would be an AWESOME route to holiness. Go out into the wilderness and FEND for YOURSELF. Get a little Raven Delivery Service going...and you've got utopia. Freeee from the tyranny of BEING INVOLVED. Bliss, eh?
So why am I NOT out in a desert right now, setting up house in some cave? Good question...and one which I am seriously asking myself right about now. I guess God wants me to know vulnerability. Because I have been called to be a part of His body, a body consisting of other people, this means I will experience pain. That's just how it works. He wants me to share the fellowship of His sufferings, of His disappointments. ( IS He disappointed in us sometimes?) He wants me to LOVE and to know that LOVE HURTS sometimes, that faithfulness involves sacrifice. Love doesn't hold other people's poor decisions or bad attitudes up to constant scrutiny or condemnation. And, MAN, is that hard work- to let things go.
It's a difficult paradox- to live in a body of people, and be closely involved with others, and yet, let God take care of the parts of other people's lives that cause us pain. HOW DO YOU DO THAT? I guess the moral of the story here is, be careful in the choices that you make, and the attitudes that you adopt. Because like it or not, no man is an island, and so what YOU DO affects me- probably more than you know.
But you know what? It's not all about me. Shocking, I know. I'm sorry if this post has come across as whiny, preachy, or self-centered. ( I am hurting, I am mad, I think people are rotten, I am affected by other's choices, I am so much better than them, I have needs... I'm starting to sound like a victim...or worse yet, the very people that are giving me the headache in the first place. ) That is not my intention. I'm wrestling with some things and am just tired of it. People worry me. How can I not care? SHOULD I care?
"Earthly friends may prove untrue, doubts and fears assail. One still loves and cares for you: One who will not fail. Jesus never fails..."