Saturday, August 28, 2010

Working With People Who Are Being Worked On.

So, the title of my blog this round is a long one, but it is needed. What does it mean though, "Working With People Who Are Being Worked On"? It means that throughout our lives, we are going to work with people who aren't... *gasp* ...PERFECT. Each of us is still in process, and this is something that I have been learning very clearly in the past couple of days.

Recently I had a situation happen where I found out that someone I worked with in the past still harbors resentment toward me and is choosing not to forgive me for the mistakes I had made during the time we worked together. When I first learned of this, I was absolutely heartbroken, and I still am. I broke down in tears and cried for an hour or more, and I felt as though I was the worst person on earth. After I was done with that mess, I began to feel very bitter and resentful myself. How could this person do this? Why couldn't they see that I'm not a terrible person?

And then... I began to see my hypocrisy. Just like this person was choosing not to forgive me, I was doing the same thing. Now yes, the clincher here is that I saw my poor attitude and I had/have the desire to change it and the other person does not, but I HAVE always been someone who sees the flaws in my thinking fairly quickly. This does not make me better than the other person, but it just makes my thinking and the way I handle situations different.

The point here I suppose is... God works in each individual person differently, and it's not up to me to decide when that happens. I know that this other person is a believer, and so all I have to do is wait for God to work in their life. I am at peace knowing that I did everything I could to rectify the situation (and trust me, I racked my brain many, many times and I still do to see if I did anything else that needed to be fixed), and now it's in God's hands to do what He will with it.

I may never see the results of God's work in this person's life, and that needs to be okay. I was told by a couple people that I discussed this situation with that I may never see reconciliation in this matter. I may never see things "fixed." And that needs to be okay.

Oh my goodness. Do you know how hard that is for me? I am, by definition, a "fixer". So to be told that I can't fix something is one of the most difficult things for me to swallow. All I want to do is call this person, message them, do whatever I can in order to make the situation better. But the truth of the matter is that God is infinitely better than me at this kind of stuff, and I just need to leave it in his hands to do what He will with it. He has it all under control and He knows what He's doing.

Growing and learning to trust hurts a little bit.....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Homeless and Humbled.

Homeless people. What do I think of them? I'm ashamed to say that I tend to look down on them, such as a situation that happened the other day:


As I sit in Starbucks, coffee in hand and Bible on the table, a homeless man walks over and stands next to me, talking to himself. I look at him, studying him carefully.

What do I do? Do I smile at him? Do I offer him my extra banana walnut bread? Do I simply pray for him silently?

No - I don't do any of these things. The only thing I do is slowly, carefully pull my purse closer to me, thinking that one sudden move will cause him to let loose. He moves away from me, beginning to shuffle through the crowd. He poiltely asks people if he can get through. All the people he passes just stare at him as he leaves without saying anything.

With head down and shoulders hunched over, he exits.

I sit at the window, dumbstruck at what I had just done. As I look out into the street with thoughts racing through my mind, I see him. He walks past my window, as as he does, he glances back at me. Sadness fills my heart when my eyes meet his. He doesn't look at me for long, but I will never forget the hopelessness I saw in those eyes as he passed.

And just like that, he is gone.

I am left sitting with my fancy drink and bread, dumbfounded, convicted, and shamed. What did I just do? Who am I, that I would ignore someone who is made in God's image, just as I am?

I am completely humbled and broken. As I walk out into the street, still holding my drink, the tears begin to flow. I begin to feel so selfish, spoiled, and ungrateful. What have I ever done to help the homeless in this city? I have so often just ignored them, turning a blind eye to their pain. I have been filled with so much judgment, believing that it is their fault that they are homeless, because they must have a drinking or drug problem, and not stopping to realize that they are human beings just like me, and God loves them just as much as he loves me. God even has a special affection and heart for the homeless.

And here I am, looking down on them and feeling superior to them.

Eric gave me some wonderful insight in saying that the reason I am where I am is not because I am so great or I have gotten myself there, but because I have people in my life who love me and want to see me succeed. He then explained that for most of the homeless people, the reason they are on the streets is because they do not have those connections. They have either lost all family connections, or because of intense pain and hurt in their lives, they choose not to use those connections.

I used to pride myself on being a kind and compassionate person. I don't view myself so highly anymore. I don't know how, and I don't know when, but I know that I now have a desire to serve the homeless in some capacity, and learn who they are. I want to be rid of my presuppositions and my judgments, and see them as the image of God that they really are.

I hope you do the same.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

100th Post. Wow.

Wow, my 100th blogpost, that's kinda crazy. I actually wish that I had more posts than that right now, just because I love writing so much. I don't do it nearly as much as I'd like to just because I'm so busy a lot of the time, and I can't process everything that I'm thinking. Thus, my blogs tend to be much longer because I have, like the movie Mean Girls says, "Word Vomit." I keep everything in for so long that it just ends up spewing out onto here without much thought - which right now, makes the title of my blog very ironic. For everyone's sake and since I feel like being nice because it's my 100th post, I'll break it up into sections. So... Here goes.

Reflections on my Internship:

Sooner or later (probably later) I'm going to write a post about everything that I did on my internship this summer, just because I told people I would keep them updated on here, and I really didn't do such a hot job of that. But for now, I'll just talk about the things I learned. That may be a bit backwards, but I don't really care so much at the moment. :) Okay. Sarcasm finished.

So, for lack of a better analogy, this summer was a total emotional rollercoaster, filled with TONS of highs (Being with Eric, doing fun things with the students), and lows (having conflicts with other interns, being stressed and behind on my Bible study). Because it was so up and down all the time, I really learned a lot, and I learned different things than I expected to. I expected to learn how to do youth ministry and how to teach a Bible study. While yes, I did learn those things, those weren't the main things I learned. Probably the biggest thing I learned was how to work through conflicts with people that you're on a team with, especially if you have two totally different viewpoints on what the ministry should look like and be about. It's different and difficult to work with these people, but I realized, especially after the internship was over, that they have just as much of a right to work in the ministry as I do. Bummer that I had to figure that out afterwards, right? But yeah, it's definitely not easy to work with people that you disagree with, but since we are the body of Christ, we are called to be united with each other and to work together for a single purpose and cause. If we don't, then everything falls apart and we are no longer working for the cause of Christ. I wish I had figured this out earlier... Because I definitely experienced the falling apart end of things. Oh well.. Lesson learned.

On a personal level, I learned that it's A LOT different dating someone in real life than it is at Moody (please remember that, Moody students!). It was so strange to be living 15 minutes away (so far) from Eric all summer, and yet I still saw him every day (a habit that was formed at Moody and was pretty much impossible to break). It was really difficult to learn how a relationship functions outside of the Moody environment. I wish we had known that going into the summer, but I guess that's a lesson learned as well. Now unfortunately we're about to learn what a long-distance relationship looks like, and that's going to be incredibly difficult. However, I'm trying to go into it with a strong head on my shoulders and know that I'm going to cry a lot, but in the end it's going to be totally worth it.

Reflections on Life:

Lately I've been feeling a lot of criticism and judgment from people about my degree and what I'm going to do after I graduate. This really disheartens me and makes me really think about why I'm doing what I'm doing. So, I'm getting my degree in Biblical Languages. Basically it's just a Bible degree with languages tacked on there as an emphasis. I honestly can't do a whole lot with that degree to make money besides being a Bible teacher at a Christian school, but I've really never thought about getting paid for using my degree. Honestly. I've always just wanted a side job that pays the bills so I can do my real work, which is ministry in the church. I don't care about having a "real job" persay, but the question I have been asked a lot is, "When are you going to get a real job?" ...That sucks. That's not who I am, and that's not who I'm going to be. I don't have any moral aversion to getting paid, but I just don't really want to. That's all there is to it. I know that God is calling me into full-time ministry, and He'll provide the money that I need to live on. I may not live "comfortably" or have very many extras in life, but all I need is enough money so that I can survive. I don't like the judgment that I feel from people, but the truth of the matter is that this is what I truly believe my calling is, and the people who judge what I choose to do and not do just don't understand. They're not bad people, they're not rude or inconsiderate. They just don't understand.

I feel like this is what happens with the vast majority of students that attend Moody. People from the outside don't get why we'd come to a school just to study the Bible, and then go out into the world and not make any money. Our American culture is all about climbing the ladder of success and the more money you make, the more successful you are. However, that's really not how I see things. I don't care about making money. I'm not saying that I'm a better person, but that's just my perspective for my life. If I make money, then I make money. If I don't, then I don't. It's really just not a big deal to me.


Anyway, those are my thoughts for the day, and I'm sure that now that my internship is over, I'll be blogging a lot more frequently. So... yay! You all should click the little "follow" button up top so that I know that people actually read this thing. Or comment. Yeah.. Comments are fun. :)


Everything I Need.

This song is absolutely amazing, and I love it so much...