First of all, I’ve gotta say “I’m alive!” Just thought I’d share what’s been on my heart this week.
Well, this week started with hurt and bitterness. It was a situation that was very close to another unpleasant situation; someone I trusted shattered what I thought our friendship was… and that pain resurfaced. I freaked out. Some of it was rational, some was completely irrational, but I found myself questioning God and His motives for my life. It’s a pretty scary place to be, but God affirms me every time, even speaking through people I still can’t believe want to know me or care about me.
But even after that, I felt bitter towards this other individual. I had been hurt, and I felt entitled to being hurt, despite the fact they apologized and attempted to correct the situation. I was broken, and I prayed that God would help me to love like He loves, because I know I’m not strong enough. I couldn’t shake that feeling of ugly betrayal, and I didn’t want to shove that hurt under the rug and pretend like it didn’t happen. I knew I needed to forgive in my heart, but I didn’t want to.
I kept praying, knowing that this heart-attitude was not what God wanted. He desires to set us free from these chains that we place on our lives. I got a text from a high school friend, and she wanted to know why I always seemed so strong. I took that opportunity to flat-out tell her it was strength given because I break down all the time and Christ puts me back together. I make the decision that God is enough, and in trusting that, He brings me back… heck, even when I don’t fully trust that, I know that God, who is outside of time, pulls me back anyway like the stubborn willful child I am.
So I got up and showered. Yes, I got up late this morning and I may be late to my 8 a.m. as I sat down to write this right after my shower, but I had to tell you this. Generally, I’m a big fan of a hot shower and cold rinse. It’s good for closing your pores, not breeding bacteria, seals your hair, is better for your skin, and usually helps rid me of that sleepy stuffy nose in the morning. I have concluded that it is undoubtedly good for me.
But at 6 or 7 in the morning, it doesn’t always sound appealing. Sometimes I am about done with a shower, but I don’t want to move from the warm steam to something uncomfortable. I’d rather go back to bed and forget about it. Yet I know the benefits. I know how much I wake up and enjoy the day from it… it’s just a matter of weighing the cost and going for it.
So this morning, as I was contemplating this, I just decided to go for it. It was freezing. Initially my legs were cold and that instant rush you get by putting your face and head under cold water can be almost blinding, but it is so freeing! It makes everything seem warmer when you get out and helps me adjust positively to the world… and that is exactly what loving people is.
It’s hard, but the benefit outweighs the cost infinitely. It’s a fraction of discomfort for an eternity of peace.
I instantly thought of a number of passages:
“1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:1-5
This is one we went over last Sunday at church. Everyone who loves God, loves Christ. If you love the Father, love His children- see 1 John 3, just a couple chapters back. We are children of God. We are to love people.
“19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” 1 John 4:19-21
If I am really following God, I will make the decisions to love my brothers and sisters. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it! It’s something I have to consciously make a decision to do, and trust God for the rest. Going back to the first passage:
“3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:3-5
We can overcome the world, if we choose to take the cold rinse, get out of our comfort zone, let go of our perceptions of comfort, and enjoy the peace of pursuing truth and relying on God for all things. Don’t let the warm fuzzy stubborness keep you from something infinitely better 🙂