Why does God have me around all the people-pleasers?

Since I have moved about a month ago, I have met the overwhelming power and presence of God over my life. Through a series of events and daily encouragements, I am so convinced that the Lord is with me, and it is certainly his will that I am here, learning to be a teacher. Overwhelming, nearly inexplicable strength has come over me despite having moved to a new city, making new friends, setting new habits, etc. I have found a wonderful church. I have people I am supposed to care for. I am being groomed for ministry through working with children and other people (and their parents). If ever God lays something so thick on your heart about the direction you should go but doesn’t explain it, listen. I would have never expected that the best training I could receive for ministry would be in a Master’s degree program for Early Childhood Education. The Lord knows all the details. I don’t yet, but it’s so obvious that this is his will that it’s hard to worry about all that.

For the past year or so, the Lord has brought friendships in my life with people who instinctively try to make everybody happy. Which to me, is madness. I am direct. I am decisive. I don’t mince words but I’ll go miles out of my way for a friend. I get the feeling that I’m supposed to learn something through all these people, and I have. I get the feeling also that I’m meant to strengthen people somehow, and model/teach about what healing is and the freedom available in Christ. It isn’t always easy.

When you are made aware of people’s needs by the Holy Spirit, that can be a heavy burden. It’s hard watching my friends struggle to parse out how to meet what they need. I often watch people pursue all sorts of paths that I can tell you from my own experience won’t serve you for nothing. I can often tell you why those paths are false, both from scripture and personal experience. I can even tell you what it feels like to be in that specific situation, because I remember. It’s maddening to know what people are going through and only be able to tell them what I know about the truth: That Jesus came and rose again so that we would not just have life, but have it to the full. That Christ is strong enough. That literally the only thing that is going to fill that hole is Jesus. It sounds crazy. It is crazy. It’s also true.

When people see where God has brought me but weren’t witness to where I’ve been, they just have to take my word for it. If you already have a hard time believing, that may be a stretch. I’m just trying to keep the same steadfast behavior and even become more kind. Shifting your heart attitude to a place to where you’re willing to believe that there could be a God takes time. You can’t rush it.

Which is maddening. I know what could heal you TODAY, but most people aren’t ready. I have to patiently wait and continue to show grace until the day comes (if it comes) where you’d be curious or desperate enough to seek Jesus. That’s hard. My soul mourns and cries out watching all of these people killing themselves for a grace that can’t be found where they’re seeking it.

God has honored me by teaching me these things while I am still young, but that’s also difficult. So few people have found God at this age. So few people of my generation believe that Christianity could be genuine. We are scattered in 1000 different directions because of the lack of integrity in the generations before us. We are desperately pursuing authenticity wherever we believe it might be, despite all of these bitter old people who want to act like we’re the most shallow generation that’s ever lived. When you criticize Millennials, you basically admit that you aren’t willing to help us, and you aren’t actually invested in growing the next generation of the kingdom of God. That’s selfish.

Lord, please teach us to bear with one another, ESPECIALLY when it’s hard. We are a people in need of healing. We believe that you are powerful. That you’re strong enough. Please come and heal us through your own name. Amen.

Advertisements

Lord come quickly

Trying to sit in the silence. Like a steady gaze, the need to just breathe and be seen by God is all I can manage. Trying to believe that there is a reason for the things that happen in my life, that God understands the ins and outs of this life, the sorrow, the death, the joy. When the whole world seems fragile and so quick to point out one another’s flaws as we speed forward towards a land of few solutions, I just want to be still.

I can’t give up hope that the Lord will do something. There are children looking to me to remain steady, giving up isn’t a choice. If we let our fear distance our hearts from the Lord, we accept defeat on behalf of the next generation, who is looking to us. We are still alive. There is still work to do. In a time where simple honesty seems to stir up everyone’s emotions, where we have the sacred right to destroy ourselves and others, and when abandoning the need to prove something makes you into a martyr, at least we have meaning. That our lives are actually valuable to God, and are capable of being useful. Where we can actually know God’s spirit, and trust him. I am not a fan of everything God does, but he is God. Who can disagree with him? Who can question his ways?

When I was younger, I wanted to pursue wisdom. I grow older only to find that most people have abandoned it. Running off in ten thousand different directions, trying to find a way to be less hungry, bitter, and cold. Has your senseless idealism bought you anything? Have you gained wisdom in all the places you know you should be happy? The truth is passing through our fingers and are throats are so thirsty. Who will be bold enough to drink? Who still believes that God owns these things: the things we take for granted, the things we do not recognize, the people we often forget? It’s terrible, but I find myself hoping that he would judge even to wrath with his coming. May he destroy our foolishness. May our clever words and actions be dashed to pieces.

I cant think of a single member of my family who isn’t broken, crying out for things they don’t feel like they could ever accomplish, let alone, find. I can’t think of any of the families I have come to know that value each other even most of the time; and even of those that do, in this life they are defenseless. A marginal minority trying to make a difference in overwhelming apathy and disillusionment. I realize that now is an excellent time for people to believe in God. Unique shades of sorrow, conflicted emotions, and confusion speckle the news. Why does it have to take disaster to have something beautiful to share with people? Why does it have to necessitate famine, or war, or illness, or death to get anyone’s attention? If God is just and trying to get to know everyone all of the time, unsuccessfully because of our mixed interests, how can so few people come? We are beginning to cannibalize one another from the depths of our need. Truly, we all want to believe we ourselves are the most broken. We starve our children for affection because each of us is the most hurt. We ourselves are broken children crying out for an answer.

I believe so much in honesty. Like looking in a mirror. But who likes what they see, anymore? When we examine ourselves, are we satisfied with what we have done? Are we happy with the choices we have made? The things we have accomplished? If we don’t allow ourselves to drink in this honesty, we will never find peace and never need to move. We will sit pretty in these rusted seats until the day where each is called to account for it. There could have been hope for you, if you just were willing to take it. There could have been peace. There could have been life. There could have been family. There could have been wholeness. There could have been sanity.

May God finish it quickly. When he’s tired of giving options, when he’s tired of reaching out to us and the last group of people are finally offered the choice to believe or to disbelieve it, it will be finished. We will be home. I wish I were already in that place. There is still work left, but I just see bitterness and chaos all around me. Come quickly.

The grief of our sacrificed strength

Women shouldn’t have to put on on weakness in order to make our leaders feel strong. Sometimes it’s as though we expect our wives, daughters, and sisters to become weaker only so they can become easier for us to control. I honestly don’t think all that many people in the church want women to be strong. To boldly step out in faith. I love kids and my life has more meaning working with them, but I’d like to think that my worth transcends just being a potential wife/mother. We are stealing from God’s kingdom to keep women so small and assume that this manipulation comes from the will of God. Our mothers have to be strong. Our preachers shouldn’t be embarrassed to respect women. It’s almost as though the more authority people accrue, the less they want women to succeed.

The pulpit becomes a place of mourning if we don’t allow Jesus to strengthen our daughters. Go to God for your strength. Don’t act like you will be made complete by our stolen happiness.

Less satisfied with just myself (not strong)

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think that most people crave a sense of who they are. Whether we define ourselves by individual differences, our place within our communities, or the things that are much easier seen than articulated, we all have a desire to be fully and intimately known.

The longer I believe, the less I feel satisfied in the specific conflicts I normally invest in. I believe that so many contemporary divisions are important to understand, but not to idealize. I’m tired of holding onto my own identity so tightly that it keeps me from enjoy the company of others who I am not like. Even if it’s common, past a point of recognition, investing in personal identity can be vanity. After a certain point, needing to define oneself becomes useless.

Past the point where I understand, as I try to let go of the things that limit me from just being kind, a deeper recognition of grace is out there. Past the ways the Church is able to demonstrate Christ without a little risk and way past our comfort, there are people who need healing and absolutely will not receive it otherwise. I’ve been blessed to have to move on a lot already in life, and I call that blessing. More often than not, if I just receive the goodness of God, there is no good reason to become defensive. The Lord fights for us. It’s possible to be willing to simply accept good things.

Sometimes when I pray with friends, I have a hard time simply listening when they pray for me. I try to intercede for them as they lift me up in prayer, almost like payment. The Christ who died for them also died for me; there can be no repayment, because Christ already died. Without realizing it, I become Martha trying to run around and make sure there is enough to go around for everyone. It is really hard to surrender up the people I love to God, and trust that his love is going to have to be good enough in times where mine is not. I understand the desire to give more away, but truth be told, I don’t have it. I have only so much to give, and sometimes, I get tired. Foolishly, I run around thinking more serving is going to be what is necessary, when in rest is there a sense of trust that scurrying cant buy.

God is changing my family. I see the reason he kept me living, to know how to walk that walk that several of my family members have just started walking. Maybe they don’t know that they’re beginning to believe yet, but I see them opening up to the possibility. Who would have ever known that God would be good to his word, and not just give me life for me, but for my family. Even years later, I see resurrection in these scars.

I believe in giving grace to the ones who withhold it from others. I believe that the biggest sins out there right now are the Church’s sins.

Past the brink of safety and fake “permission” to share grace, there are people who still need the peace that comes from the free payment in Jesus. I can’t be sorry for wanting to share the gospel. The Lord can provide my justification, and I will just do my best to serve. More often than not, I have no vindication, apart from love. If that’s really all I have, that’s probably all I need.

Instead of mustering up all my strength, and trying to be something more for the people who still need Christ, maybe I can just accept his provision. I can’t do this alone, but maybe so long as I’m willing, I wont have to. My plans are coming up to nonsense. I need God’s strength just to fail beautifully, let alone actually succeed.

Remaining innocent (and Valentine’s day)

I work often, I go to school full time, I am involved with my church, and I have a variety of friends, but I swear, I feel most innocent when I hang out with children.

I love the simple way that kids give. I love the fact that so much of what they do is genuine. I love how they speak honestly. I love that children are unique and special, and they remind us of our most fundamental needs, even needs we feel too old for.

I am more healthy when I spend time playing with a child. I make better decisions because I want to be a leader. I don’t want them to have to do life alone. Even more than church, when I’m in that place of sharing and innocence, I am reminded of the simple love we all desperately desire but lose sight of. Especially with Valentines day tomorrow, the simple love of children gives me hope.

As a young woman, I regularly feel like I am considered in a way that disrespects me on a personal level by the men around me. I don’t want to be considered in a sexual sense. I don’t want to have assumptions or nasty expectations placed on me. With sincerity, I want to remain young. I may grow old, but that doesn’t mean I should feel comfortable when the creepy men in my air space make nasty comments or look to me to fulfill their lack of satiety.

Jesus fills every need. You shouldn’t need me. You shouldn’t be telling Facebook sagas about how you want a wife or a girlfriend. To be honest, I’m not super young but in my heart, I’m still a child. It freaks me out to realize that you are thinking of me in a way that is dishonest and disrespectful. I would rather be your little sister in Christ.

As with any relationship, you aren’t going to be satisfied without Christ. Stop assuming a girlfriend/wife is going to solve that. It won’t. Try Jesus. Stop spending year after year moping about what you don’t feel blessed enough to have. Christ is a better alternative.

I don’t expect any partner of mine to be able to satisfy all of my needs, and that is exactly what I have Christ for. I know God as my creator, my present help, and my friend. He doesn’t exact taxes out of me. He doesn’t want to mold me into the perfect girlfriend. When I spend time with God, it feels like freedom. I come away with a greater sense of hope. I no longer hunger. I am well in my soul. I have joy.

No woman can fill the place in your heart God is meant to fill. When you create unrealistic expectations for a woman who is supposed to fill the place of God, you turn off nearly everyone who would consider getting close to you. It’s not fair.

I just want to remain a kid a little longer. We are all a lot better off when our lives are filled with that childlike love. It’s a much better way of living.

Siding with his holy opinion

If Jesus can see me as I am and call it “enough”,

And agree to die for all that,

I sure don’t have to prove myself for other people.

Here’s my plan, and it’s a good one:

I will wait on the Lord.

I’ll wait for provision,

I’ll wait for a partner, and for the right season,

I’ll wait for friends and family to come to Jesus,

I will wait.

If the Lord approves of me, I’m not selling myself to become one with the world.

I’m going to live my life full of integrity,

So I actually have something valuable to pass on,

To those who come after me.

It is not up to me to convince the children of men that my life is worthy,

And if the Son of God already died for my sins,

He has already made up his mind about me.

So be it.

I’ve already been accepted.

If God already approves of me, why should I settle for the lesser appraisal, and sacrifice all that he gave me for his glory?

Nope. God’s opinion is more worthy.

I’d rather try to live up to his standards (knowing that I’ve been forgiven even when I fail) than to try to sell myself to conform to the standards of men.