between high school drama and friend sadness, my brother and sister-in-law moving away, my grandma and uncle passing away, and some major boy/friend frustration, i have had some major emotional roller-coasters to ride in the past couple of years. i definitely acknowledge that i have lived an incredibly spoiled life, but i am getting a taste of the things that make this earth so "vain" and painful, and learning what it is to really FEEL things deeply. but i've realized lately that while i feel things and hurt and cry and long for heaven, usually i'm just feeling sorry for myself and how things affect ME, not others. i guess that's a natural selfish human reaction. but it's sad. and i'm realizing that it's a huge problem in my spiritual life and probably in the church in general. one that influences us so widely that we aren't even aware of it sometimes, and it makes us ineffective.
we have all heard sermons about caring for people and their souls, but i for one don't care enough. in fact, to be completely honest, i think i choose my own comfort over other people's eternal well-being every single day. every time i come in contact with people, my first thought isn't "how can i use this conversation to glorify God and lead this person to love Him more?" it's probably something like "i'd really like to sell this book quickly so they'll leave the store and i can get back to eating my fruit snacks." sounds pretty pitiful, right? granted, there probably isn't a space in every single interaction to start talking about the plan of salvation, but why can't i use the word "blessed" when someone asks me how i am, instead of just saying "good?" if my life is so wrapped up in God that i can't help but see His power at work in every aspect of my life, then why can i not spread that vision to the people i see every day? my family, my friends, co-workers, even strangers are people i can influence. in the book Crazy Love, francis chan talks about how we have our 2.5 second cameo in the movie of life to live, and we really aren't the stars of that movie, God is. we have it all wrong. yes, our lives should be about getting to heaven. but it shouldn't just be because i really want to have a great place to live for eternity, and it definitely shouldn't just be because i don't want to be condemned to an eternal home filled with discomfort. the thing that's going to make heaven great is that GOD is there. and if my life isn't focused on HIM, what's to say i would even enjoy being there if i got there based on a righteous life? what makes hell so terrible isn't any level of physical pain, it's the fact that God isn't there. and He can't be reached. that should scare us. and yet, i think i tend to be more terrified of hell's fire than i am of God's absence. pitiful. if my life was focused how it needs to be, i would be SO EXCITED about being with God again that i would not be able to hold that excitement in. i'd be more hurt by looking around and seeing lost souls than i was about my own small heartbreaks here on this earth. and i'd spend more time working towards being an image of God's glory on earth than i was working towards repairing that hopeless relationship with a guy who isn't that great anyway. i just have realized there are so many things more important than my personal comfort levels and how many friends i have and what guy i'm with and what grades i'm getting. those can come after i expend all of my energy learning to love the souls around me and learning to see people as SOULS that need help. it's like seeing someone lying injured on the side of the road and just deciding you don't have time to call 911. it doesn't make sense.
Lord, help me to love people. really love people. be my vision so that i can look through my faulty, selfish human eyes and see souls around me crying out for Your love, and not just focus on how precious my time and my reputation are. i don't deserve to know You and to have You know me so well. but i'm grateful that i have the chance to show Your glory on this earth in some small way to the people i meet. help me to constantly remind myself of you, and help me to show Your peace to others, "and may they forget the channel," seeing only You.
let's love people. and do the only thing love CAN do: help them find God.
i want to love God so much that just like Jeremiah, even if i tried not to talk about Him, i couldn't stand to hold my love in.
"If I say, "I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,"
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot." (Jer. 20:9)