Wednesday, August 22, 2012

stop pretending

Sometimes life is challenging. Sometimes loving is difficult. Sometimes it is easier to just "fake it."
But, I do not want to do that. I do not want to put up a facade. I do not want to pretend to do the right thing.
I want to be sincere and genuine. I desperately want to be this. I want to see the hearts of people. I want to earnestly listen to them, to care about what they care about. I want to willingly and joyfully set aside my plans and intentions in order to give to another. I want to be the person God desires me to be and encourage others to be who He wants them to be also.
I do not want to put on a show for people. I do not want to do what's right so that I will be rewarded or patted on the back. I do not want to put on a smile that is akin to a set of wax lips. I do not want to give pat answers.
Above all, I want to be like Jesus. I want to show mercy and compassion. I want to listen. I want to get angry about injustice. I want to be patient. I want to forgive quickly. I want to believe the best of people, even when I have a list of reasons not to. And, I do not want any of it to be out of a sense of self-righteousness or obligation or guilt. I want it to just be who I am...because of Who is in me.

"Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God's people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality." Romans 12:9-13

Monday, August 13, 2012

things that matter...

i try to maintain a perspective in all aspects of life about things that matter and things that do not. there are many, many things that matter. there are many, many things that simply do not matter. i find that sometimes the line between the two can get blurry, especially when it is right before our eyes. sometimes we become dramatic, worthy of a stage even, about things that do not matter.

last week i was tempted to whine about my electricity being out. (ok, maybe i gave in to the temptation.) for reasons unknown to me, my neighborhood lost power for a total of about 15 hours over the course of about 28 hours last monday and tuesday. this meant that i cooked dinner on my gas stove in the shadows of the setting sun, ate in still darkness, and sat in my living room with sweat literally pouring down my face. i am not exaggerating. sweat. pouring. shirt. soaking. the lack of power meant that i had to go in search of electricity and free wifi at a cafe in order to do my homework. it meant that food had to be thrown out. it meant that sleep was fleeting. it meant that clothes had to be washed by hand.

but, the truth is that it doesn't really matter. that was last week. it is all but forgotten. today there are fans. today there are lights. today there is refrigeration and wifi.

so, what does matter? or maybe, who matters?

i hope that i can always maintain a perspective that focuses on what matters, and i think what matters is people--living, breathing, hurting, hoping people. i do not want to be distracted by inconvenient things that will not matter tomorrow or next week, let alone in five years or fifty. rather, i want to consider people. i want people to matter to me. that is what mattered to Jesus. and above all else, i want the things that matter to me to be the same things that mattered to Him.

so, whether sweating or shivering, whether with wifi or without, whether by fluorescent or by flame, i choose to focus on the things that matter.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

God, be merciful...

"Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 'Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: "I thank You, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don't cheat, I don't sin, and I don't commit adultery. I'm certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income." But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, "O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner." I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.'" Luke 18:9-14

I really feel like these verses can just stand on their own. You do not need my commentary, but here it is.
My daily prayer is becoming, "God, be merciful..."
I am far from what I should be, what I desire to be. I try to not to cheat, try not to sin, try to be faithful. But, the reality is that I am a sinner. I get angry. I make false judgments. I grow impatient. I act selfishly. I miss the mark.
And, I know it. I think that acknowledgment is what God is really seeking. He desperately wants us to own up to our failures, our sins, our ugliness. He desperately wants us to petition Him to be merciful because He desperately wants to be merciful.