Monday, November 23, 2009

Of The End Of The Lesson

There's that saying: what you find annoying in others is often found in you.
Or something along those lines.

I feel like the walking lesson of that saying. Especially lately, when I've found myself frustrated or annoyed with a specific habit, God seems to just remind me of when I do that thing myself.
(Those are the moments when I want to say- "Really, God?" and then I look down and laugh, so grateful that He has a sense of humor)

Just this evening, I've been mulling over my future. What it might be. Where I might go.
I can't deny that missions will probably be in my future.
It always comes up.
The thought of going out on the field again gets me so excited.

And then I'm not excited.

Without dragging my past out again and boring with the details, let's just say that the past trip I was on was very hard. Lot's of ups and downs. Decisions I wish I could change. Things I wish I could take back.

(This also brings my "live without regrets" mantra into the picture... but I'll deal with it in another time, another place)

"Do you feel like you can't be a missionary again?"
This question was asked by a family member. I was surprised when they asked, more surprised when I realized that my answer was "yes."

There is a part of me that feels like I can't be a missionary again.
Most of that is due to some lingering guilt, frustration, shame, fear.
I think that I am afraid that no missionary is better than a missionary that might mess up, that isn't perfect.

But I know that isn't true. I KNOW that isn't true.
Why can't I shake this fear of trying then?
(I promise, the beginning part of this entry will make sense)

You see, I've always been an advocate of letting your past be in your past.
There's nothing you can do about it except for learn and move on.
And the best part, allow God to use those epic, horrible mess-ups to help someone else. To connect. To show His redeeming love.

I've run across a couple of people in my life who had a hard time leaving their past behind them. It felt like they were constantly carrying this cross around on their back, doing penance for whatever sin they had committed.

I'm trying to think of the simplest, most straight forward way to explain what I told them.
Fine, I'll just try.

By constantly beating themselves down, defining themselves by their sin and not letting go of it, it was as if they were saying that they couldn't be saved. They couldn't be forgiven. Their sin was THAT bad (in their eyes).
Which meant that they didn't see God's grace as enough for them.
God wasn't enough for them.
Only they could save themselves. Obviously they were much more righteous than everyone else in the world since THEIR sin couldn't be forgiven.

(I said it a little nicer than that)
But do you see what I mean?
I'm not saying that everyone who has some horrible sin that is hard to let go of has a huge pride issue or something. It's when we don't feel like God is the ultimate authority.
He is what matters.
No one else.

So looping back to the beginning, I realized today that someone could say the same thing that I've said: Who am I to decide whether or not I am forgiven? (basically)

I've been told my sin is as far as the east is from the west.
That's eternity.

{Now does this mean my sin and decisions don't have consequences? Not at all.}

But it does mean that I don't have to live my life in fear of humans and what they think of me.

Because in the end, this is all going away.
In the end, there is a new beginning.

{And now that I've "finished" this lesson, I can start on the next}

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Of A Correct Response...

I started writing this blog and then had to erase it because I quickly figured out that what I was venting about, what I was looking for the right response to --- well, I was somewhat starting to act the same way.
I just hope that everyone realizes that everyone has "off" days.

We just need to give each other grace.

I know it's easy for me to run back to how I used to handle conflict --- I'm NOT good at handling it. I usually don't approach it at all. So for me, maybe that means I do handle it and deal with it.

BUT --- no matter how we handle tough situations, we really need to just give each other a break.

That's my two cents today. Maybe they're somewhat jumbled and don't flow. But it is what it is. Grace.

Above all, love.