I’m not sure we understand the strength that comes from a word of encouragement offered at the right time.
There are tons of people who can think of a million reasons why something might not work, before they can think of one reason why it might. I used to be surrounded by those kinda folks. Not their fault, mind you. They flocked to me because I was one of their ilk. I was just like them: negative, discouraging, fearful, lost in narcissism. The world was all about poor lil me and the horrible things I was sure would happen once that other shoe finally dropped.
I absolutely hate thinking about what I was like in that other life!
The only good reason to recall it now is that it serves the purpose of showing how much God can do with one sad sack, and how He can drastically change the path of someone wandering aimlessly through life.
This week, my Monday night group talked about busting out of isolation and becoming a part of the larger community in life.
I had ears to hear.
When sharing time came, I told the story of one summer afternoon when I was venting my angry bitterness about another individual to a group of “friends” when I noticed that one by one they had snuck away, to another part of the yard, where they stood chatting, laughing, joking with one another and enjoying the party.
I was still fuming.
What was their problem, I thought, don’t they get how badly I have been hurt by this person?
That experience was an eye opener for me. Once I had time to process what had happened in that back yard, I realized that I had done 3 things a winsome person never does.
1. Turned a fun event into an anxious and boorish drama.
2. Tried to make my problem everyone else’s problem, without their permission.
3. Bought the lie satan tells, that
expressing spewing my anger or bitterness would assuage my anger and bitterness.
It doesn’t work that way, friends.
If I had been smart, I would have done this, instead:
1. Had a good cry. Tears are a language God understands.
2. Found one individual who was spiritually mature and gifted with discernment to tell my story to, gaining wisdom and direction that would have moved me forward without making me a social pariah.
3. Prayed until the pain went away, or at least until it was diminished by half.
The reason I didn’t act in this right way, was…
1. I wasn’t mature enough in my faith to realize that a lot of life is pain, but a lot is joy too, and we get to choose which path we want to walk.
2. I hadn’t yet learned that forgiveness feels better than bitterness ever will, and putting a smile on Jesus’ face is far more satisfying than drawing a target on the back of some imagined enemy.
3. I had never sought to surround myself with “can do” personalities.
Here’s the thing: In this life, we will be humbled. That’s not a bad thing. And it’s not at all the same as being humiliated. Being humbled is like being invited to the block party that is forever going on at Jesus’ house and realizing that the only way to join in on the fun is for you to decide that you want to join in on the fun.
We become humble when we respond in the affirmative to God’s invitation to join Him. It’s at that moment that we leave our isolation, don our party hats, grab a kazoo, and start blowing. :)
This Easter, consider joining the party at Jesus’ house.
If you need directions to Jesus’ house, contact me. I’ll show you the way.