1. I'm 24. I live in a house that I love that is decorated how I love and am friends with who I love. I have a comfortable life. I blog about what I want. I get up and walk 15 feet to the fridge and get a drink when I'm thirsty without thinking about how lucky I am to own a refrigerator that's full of food. When I'm tired, I sleep. When I want to talk, I call one of the bunches of friends in my cell phone. My life, I realize, is severely blessed by the Lord. I deserve nothing that I have.
I don't need much to be happy, or do I? I don't need a fancy car, amazing food, nice clothes, and all of the modern conveniences that have just become unappreciated, or so I say. But what would happen if it was all gone? What would happen if I lost my house, I wore jeans with holes, and never got to join my friends at Chili's after church because I just didn't have the money? It makes my heart sink a little just thinking about it. But really friends, let me be honest, the Lord, the one who made the stars in the sky and spoke the world into motion, and the God who knows more about my life and everything that happens to me than I do, will never leave me. That's enough reason for a lifetime! Sure, our culture is selfish. It's the me-first mentality, and I understand that it is also the easy option, so I can see why some people choose that life, but life is SO much more than myself. I have a nice life, and I thank the Lord for it every day, but honestly, I see a lot of flaws in myself and I pray that I would be the kind of person that would be content with any circumstance...regardless of what that meant. What freedom!
2. I got the opportunity to hang out with some amazing people. These are people that I know pretty well. Some of them better than others, but all well enough to know what they like, who they hang out with, what they do in their free time, and what really makes them tick. So yes, I know them. Four of us were Christians and one was not.
As I hung out with these people for a few days, I began to become sickly aware that there was something seriously wrong. I began to notice that only one among us did not say a negative word, was loving, kind, generous, giving, sweet, patient, encouraging, humble, forgiving, and always saw the best in everyone the entire time. And no, it was not me! One person--the "non-christian" was more like Jesus than anyone else!
I was sick when I thought, no wonder people never want to be Christians! They're worse than the non-christians! Sometimes I think that Christians think, I need to be kind and sweet, so if I don't have something nice to say (instead of not saying it at all, and bringing it to God) I'll just gossip about it to someone else. We just "vent" about what's bothering us so we don't hurt that other person's feelings, when in actuality, now we've hurt three people! The one we're gossiping about, ourselves, and the poor friend that has to endure the word vomit.
We get so caught up pointing fingers and jabbing the people we think are wrong, when all the time, we ourselves are the problem. We pick people apart and poke at others, and all the while, are completely unaware of our own faults. I'm working on this, and I think I have come a long way, but I sure do have a long way to go. Lord, forgive us.
3. I have begun to understand and see one thing very clearly in the last couple months of this "spiritual boot camp" I've been in, it seems. If we want to be like Christ, I mean, if we REALLY want to be like him in every way, we have to pick up our cross daily. We don't get to pick our circumstances and do it when it's convenient. We have to be like Christ when someone spits in our face, talks behind our back, calls us an aweful name, or betrays our trust. We have to act like Christ when we're tired, when we don't get what we want, when we are lied to, and when we are discouraged. We don't have to be a doormat, but we do have to be decent. Christ calls us to love one another, and he is there to help us! We are never alone in this journey. I can't tell you how many times he's come along beside me to hold me when I just couldn't do it on my own anymore, and he's never ever left me. God didn't say, love people who love you. We are to love everyone. It's not going to be easy all the time!
God is the only reason that I wake up every day with purpose. He is the heart that beats inside of me when I see someone who needs help, when I get to love someone who has repeatedly hurt me worse than they'll ever know, and when I clean the kitchen. God doesn't take lunchbreaks. He's there all the time! If my life is in tune with his heart, then in all reality, you should see him when you're with me. I am not there yet, and I will definitely never be perfect, but I want it. I seek it, and I know that when I seek God, I will find him when I seek him with all of my heart.
I'll be the first to tell you that I am not perfect and I make mistakes, but here and now, I'm telling you that I am completely humbled by this week's circumstances and ready for a rejuvenating of the heart and another awesome encounter with my best friend.
I know that these are not mind-boggling thoughts, that we've probably maybe all heard or thought them at some point in our life, but are we living them? There is no time to waste. The Lord is coming. And he's coming soon! Tell everyone you know.
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”- Ephesians 3:17-19