During my lunch break today, I talked with one of my favorite people in the world. Actually, we texted each other. Does anyone talk on the phone any more? We talked about honesty and diplomacy. I have a serious need to speak frankly with the people around me. I am not the most diplomatic person, however. Finding a balance between truth and grace, for me, is a daily challenge, and just when I think I have mastered the skill, God sends me another test.
My natural inclination with conversation is to shoot from the hip with guns loaded and set to fully automatic fire. You can imagine how many bloody bodies I have left in my wake. I’ve been here for five decades now, so the body count is substantial. For some of those years I had no idea that I could or should live any differently. I said what I thought. You didn’t like it, too bad. It hurt your feelings, so sad. That it made others not like me, I thought made them weak. That it put me in a foul mood was, again, their fault. It really had nothing to do with me. Right? Right!
Oh, how unaware can one girl be?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not alone. There are plenty of shooters out there, some targeting me. I haven’t been the only one firing off rounds. Luckily, most of my enemies are bad shots and I’m good at ducking. Still, I’ve learned that if I want to survive, I best devote the lion’s share of my resourcefulness to finding a bullet proof vest of sorts. A spiritual armor. I searched and searched for that sucker. Finally, I found it in a battalion of buds who remind me every day that what other people think of me is none of my business. That’s God’s gig. This knowledge helps a lot, but there are still times when I forget to listen only to Him and the blood flows.
I don’t know who it was that coined that phrase about not being able to please all of the people all of the time, but I wish I had known him sooner. Concerning the jerks I’ve encountered in life, had I known then what I know now, I would have warned them once to back away, then fired until my clip was empty. My reasoning: I need to please God and God alone. Right? RIGHT?
Ummmm, maybe not.
Imagine I assume the position of a Lone Ranger, riding the trails alone. Doing so requires me to please no one but myself. It’s a lonely life, sure, but I’ll take no guff. I’ll be captain of all I survey, and I’ll answer to no one. I’ll have no detractors. I’ll have no dissenters. I’ll have no assailants, but I’ll also have no friends. I’ll have no one to hold me accountable, but I’ll also have no one to hold me close on cold nights, no one to tuck me in bed with a kiss on the head; no one to go with me to the movies, or share a Slurpie, or comment on the deliciosity of my apple pie. It is a bleak picture, me thinks. To avoid it means I cannot, must not, will not become a long ranger.
I like companionship. I enjoy learning from others. I appreciate the fact that iron sharpens iron. I love the healthy discussion of a meaty topic. If I want to include these perks in my life, I need to be mindful of others needs. For it is in being mindful, that my spiritual ability to serve is honed.
When I look at God and the example He is to our world, I see service work taking place. When I look at Jesus, and all that he gave to make a better life for me, I again see service work. When I ponder the role my mom played in getting me safely from infancy to adulthood, I see a servant sweating it out in the trenches. When I consider the job I have, a job I love, a job that I’m good at, a job that gives me a huge sense of satisfaction at the end of the day, I know I am called to be a servant, not a sharp shooter. Servants serve. They make sure others have what they need before they get their own. They condescend, just as our Lord daily condescends in order to maintain a relationship with us. Do you think its easy dumbing down to our level? I suggest it is not, but it’s the price he pays to commune with us. He is our King and yet He serves, every day, for us!
A servant is different from a gang land assassin, right?
If my response to this question is yes, then back I go to the drawing board to refigure what I thought I had all figured out. I begin again, re-creating myself as best I can, with God looking on approvingly. He loves it when I strive for perfection. He knows I will never achieve it in this world, but he loves it when I try. I know I will never get there either–not on this side of the Great Divide–but I love the exercise. It’s like a good work out at the gym. You just feel better when you’re done.
Working with the Great Creator to recreate my life is a thrill for me, and just about the only thing that brings me hope for the future. I know that by His grace, I can honorably serve. For this pistol packing momma that is enough.