Today’s world has so many options, so many distractions, so much bustle, that I ask myself, “How much do I miss?” I work as a nurse and will often pray each morning for God to help me see people. I don’t want to see just their outward appearance but their inward need, fear, or hope. Many days I feel as though I pray this prayer and then dive into my shift with anxiety and let the many tasks overtake my hearts desire to help people where they are. I am consumed by me in this, focused on how my patients and the tasks I must do for them, affects me.
I have no children, but I imagine that this must be how a mother feels knowing that her children require much attention and that her needs to eat, sleep and toilet will be put second. I desire to see people yet focus on my own needs? Do I do this because our world is fixated on “I”, or because I simply struggle with the same selfishness that would take the heart of us all as humans if we let it. I do not think that we have to be taught how to be selfish. I could blame it on the culture or Facebook or television but truly it is my responsibility as to how I will react to my world and what I will do with the time that I have.
In recently talking with a new friend, I realized my passion in life as I spoke the words into the the air before her listening ears. I want to love people like I have been loved in my life. I feel lucky. I have been loved exceptionally well. The loving arms of a farm family is where I grew to be strong. Then the loving presence of a spiritual family brought me through Great trials that I could not handle on my own. They listened to me, they had the right advice. They loved me and because of that love and care I listened to their good advice and chose to grow through my trial instead of succumb to it.
Makes no mistakes, love is not the fluffy term that many throw around when talking of their new favorite song or food. Love is synonymous with work. Two four letter words that don’t seem to go together, but they were made for each other. Love is hanging in for the long haul. Love is helping someone in their need no matter how it inconveniences me. Love is hard and selfless and I am selfish.
None the less, my hearts desire is to see people, and by seeing them to be able to love them where they are. Though this is my desire it dose not always come naturally because I am fighting the sin nature within me. However, when the fight is won, some of the richest experiences in my life have been connecting with the needs of others and offering help in a time of need.
I try to live authentically. Through Jesus Christ and His love for me I have found the truest version of me, and that person continues to grow and to desire to be like Jesus, the selfless one, the one who loved so much that He laid down His life for us. I want others to be honest with me and so I am being honest right now and I confess that I miss much in life because I am caught up in my own need.
There have been many moments of clarity in my life but conversely there has been many foggy times. There is much less fog now than their used to be. By fog I mean lies that I have believed about myself and others, that shaped the way I viewed the world. In moments of fatigue and stress the old ways of viewing the world spring back up. I am amused by the fact that I chose a profession where I am constantly under stress.
God is faithful and he will flush out of us the things that are lying to us and He will use everyday life to do it.
Sometimes I find myself day dreaming about another life, one I don’t have, where there is a godly husband holding my hand and a baby growing in my womb. When I do this I miss what I have right now. I will say that again, when I do this I miss what I have right now! This is not to say that those desires are bad or wrong but I miss life when I day dream about things that are not promised.
What is promised to me is all the measure of the fullness of God through Christ Jesus. The creator of the universe thinks of me, knows each hair on my head, has collected all my tears in a bottle, and loves me more that I can understand. Nothing can separate us, I am His and He is mine and that my friends is what the apostle Paul meant when he said “I have learned to be content with what ever I have. Living on almost nothing or everything, empty stomach or full, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Philippians (4:12-13).
One thing that I have learned is that God is faithful and trustworthy. I can give him my dreams and know that he Has good things for my life. I don’t want to miss the message He is sending me through everyday life. There is nothing mundane unless we let it be mundane. There is opportunities everywhere for thankfulness and rejoicing, yet when I live inside myself and focus on my needs I miss them.
I was driving home from work the other day and smelled silage. The scent instantly brought me back to a much simpler time. I felt like I could have parked my car gotten out and been on the front step of our family farm getting ready to go down to the barn to do chores. I didn’t miss it! I took a minute and drank in the smell of silage (it does not smell good, but it is distinct and familiar). For a minute God let me be a little girl again, and I could almost feel the cow hide underneath my finger tips. I could see the way the cows would dive unashamedly in to a pile of silage spattering it about with their excitement to eat.
There is power in being in the moment and accepting what God is giving. I could have turned my nose up at the smell of silage. I could have chosen not to let my heart become involved like I do so many other times. Now I celebrate a moment with silage, and a soft heart that accepted the good gift God gave me and a fond memory of a beautiful childhood.
The significance of all of this is that my heart each day much rest in God and faith in His goodness. This softens the heart to see the people I pray to see. This allows me to accept the gift of seeing people. It is I not that He doesn’t answer my prayer, it is that when the hard moment comes along I can choose to embrace it in all of it’s complexity or I can grumble and be irritated. I don’t want to miss out on what God has for me right now. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to love someone well, to listen to a person’s story, to help meet a need. If this were easy we would all do it naturally, I think that is why it is so hard because love is hard work.
I am about to turn a year older. I dedicate this new year of my life to living in the most loving way I can muster. To be unafraid of what lies ahead because I know that God is Good. To choose to see outside me when I want to focus inside.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future” Proverbs 31:25