I’ve been struck recently by a few things. One is how hard it is to live the way I want to. In my last post I was talking about who I want to be….but as I look back on it I see the reason why I’m not some of those things, namely because I don’t really desire to do the hard work that is involved in becoming that type of person.
For instance, I said I want to labor hard to make people feel welcome and comfortable when they are on the fringes at Bible Study. That sounds great, right? But then, when I’m at Bible Study I just want to talk to people I love and people I feel comfortable with. I don’t want to do the hard work it takes to cultivate relationships with new people or people I don’t really connect with. And that is the heart of why I don’t reach out more.
Then this morning as I was driving home from church I was thinking of how incredibly wonderful my life is. But my head was a crazy jumble of anxious thoughts, complaints, and thankful gratitude. Strange how my mind can be thinking on gratefulness and how I desire to be a grateful person and in almost the same moment can be full of discontent and complaints. From the time I exited the freeway at Magic Mountain to the time I turned into my apartment complex I had circled through thoughts on a hard conversation I need to have, a broken relationship I’ve been particularly burdened about recently, the beauty of the body of Christ (that’s an understatement- but more to come on that later), dear friends who make my life full and rich, and Psalm 86:11 when the Psalmist cries “unite my heart to fear your name.”
Or last week I was reading through Ephesians and I was smacked with the truth in that passage. You know how sometimes you read the Word and you walk away and it all seems hazy, or unclear, or like you got nothing from it? I think every believer goes through those times. But as I was reading through Ephesians it was as if the Lord gave me eyes to see and a mind to comprehend what I was reading! But in Ephesians 5:1 we are commanded to walk in love just as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. It hit me because I realized how hard it is to love when it comes at a cost. When I have to sacrifice to love someone. I thought of how differently I would live if I really walked in love the way Christ loved us. I thought of how differently some of my relationships would look if I had been loving that way.
Just yesterday I was talking to a friend who was telling me how amazing it is to read the gospels and see how Jesus treated sinners. It’s particularly amazing when you are enduring sinful people. If you are anything like me– you look at their sin and get frustrated with them. Why can’t they see that what they are doing is wrong and change it?! It’s particularly stunning to read the gospels and see that Christ- God very God- did not have that attitude towards the sinners he came into contact with. I hope one day I can love sinners in the same way.
So all that to say, it’s great to think that I want to be a certain type of person in my head. It’s quite another thing to really live that way.