Monday, April 20, 2009

The Last Supper: John 13: 21

As they shared the last supper, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me". I have often pondered this statement, wondering why in all his knowing, Jesus continued to love the betrayer, continued to let him into his inner circle, continued to accept and treat him as he did all his disciples? He didn't tell what he knew, he didn't take it to a higher court, he didn't argue with Judas, he just knew.

I have been quite trusting in all my years here on earth. I have believed that people are inherently good, I have trusted what I was told and embraced everyone I came in to contact with. I have shared my story, my life experiences openly and honestly understanding that the information could be used against me. At times it has been and at times people have learned from my experiences, relied on my strength of character. Often times people have suggested I am foolish to be so trusting. Wondered why I share my life like an open book. I think I have always felt that as an open book, I couldn't ever be hurt because I wasn't hiding anything from anyone. There are no surprises. What you see is what you get.

Lately, I have wondered about the word "Friendship". I have struggled with knowing people with all their faults, knowing they may hurt me, and loving them anyway. I fear that I am becoming less trusting, less willing to let people in. Tired of being the one that everyone turns to for strength and goodness, and then being disappointed when they don't reciprocate. And yet, here was Jesus, knowing he was about to die, by someone he trusted, mentored and supported so willingly. Someone who he had "let in". It's remarkable to me. To be able to watch it unfold. By the time he was crucified, he knew that he would be betrayed, denied 3 times, rejected, and more. And yet, he loved them anyway.

Should we expect more from the people that we embrace? Or should we simply give as God requests of us, without expectation? While Jesus let him in, he certainly didn't trust him as he knew he was going to betrayed. Is it possible to love someone, include them and yet not trust them? For me, they go hand in hand. Trust has to be a part of the equation. Doesn't it?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ephesians 4:15 Speak the Truth in love

Today a friend of mine that I felt was becoming a good friend let me down. First she lied to me about something so unnecessary which caused me to doubt her sincerity, and then today she laughed about a situation at work and when I disagreed with the behavior she became childish and almost demanding, finally walking away and saying "Whatever". I so badly wanted the last word, I was angry, frustrated and she was blowing me off. I knew I was right and when I took it to God I was still angry and was seeking his guidance on how to handle it. But I wasn't willing to let it go. I wanted to be heard, to be listened to. I was mad. Very mad. I simply couldn't understand how someone who was standing there with a full time job, after I had just been given part time status could laugh at the thought no one in the company was volunteering to take on extra work to get us through a tough time. How could anyone who cared about their job, the customers, the company think that not wanting to help, that being difficult would be funny? And how could the company choose that attitude of a person over me?

To add fuel to the fire, rather than coming in to talk it through she pleasantly said goodnight, and left a little note of encouragement on my desk with some scripture she found that she thought would help me through this hurtful time. In addition, she went to my boss and told her that perhaps I was hurting and not taking it very well. Arrrgh, I think I am still angry.

This all led to a fight with my husband for not being sensitive, and finally a long tearful drive towards the river where I could sit, listen to music and hear God. Only he wasn't speaking too loudly and my anger was drowning him out. But he stayed with me, comforted me and reminded me that he is always with me. He I can count on.

So right now I am not really sure what this is all about. I know I was lied to, and I know that while her intention was not to harm, she did hurt me. She broke my trust in what I thought we were building. And perhaps that is where the hurt is.

I am trying to figure out how to handle this one, and in my bible study tonight God lea me to Ephesians 4:15. Speak the truth in love. That requires us to speak directly to people. Not go around them to others, but to approach them with the truth and with love. I am not quite there yet. I struggle with the desire to want to speak my peace. Wanting her to apologize without me having to take the first step. Wanting her to be the one who grows in the process and perhaps teaches me. Not take the cowardly way out by writing words rather than meeting me head on face to face so we can talk it out. I know that sounds selfish, but aren't we all at times? I know that by following God's plan, doing his will, I will grow in the process and most of the time, that makes it all okay. But sometimes its hard to do the right thing, be the better person. Sometimes I feel out of place. I wonder if my thoughts are correct. And then I am reminded of Jesus and how out of place he must have felt. And I wonder how he could keep one of his disciples in his group knowing that he would betray him. I don't think it was in line with "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer" strategy that many of us learn in business. I think it was because he saw the bigger picture. He let go and let God not caring what others thought or saw or determined, but caring about what his father thought. Can you imagine knowing that you are going to be betrayed, and letting it play out as God intended?

My prayer tonight: Heavenly Father, Lord God. Thank you for letting me be human. For giving me the space for anger, hurt, doubt and disappointment. You have a plan for me and right not its bigger than I can see. I trust you Lord and I know that this is all part of your plan. Help me Lord to grow stronger from this, show me how you want me to respond, and let me do it with love and truth.

I want to be obedient to you Lord, and will do what you ask of me in your time, not mine. Amen

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Being Humble...Having Character...even while Hurting Job 39 1-30

Well, the part time status of my job begins April 15th, and its sometimes hard to not let my hurt feelings show. I want to shout "Why me God? What did I do to earn this difficult lesson?" I do have peace about it, but sometimes that little niggling thought enters my head and I find myself obsessing about the unfairness of it all. Today I am at our annual convention. I will come in contact with the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors - those people that are aware of my fate. I want, maybe even expect them to understand how valuable an employee I am and to tell the President "This was a BIG MISTAKE, GET HER BACK!" and then on the other hand I want to see what God does with this. The reality is that no one will probably say anything. Most people would rather believe that everything is okay, that I am okay with it, even when I know I am not okay with it all the time. That is the human side of me and GOD understands. Which makes it that much more peaceful. To me sometimes it seems like a dichotomy. The negative thoughts that sometimes creep up, the insecurity, the Why mes??? compared to the sense of Peace, Joy and Inspiration that comes from this blind space that I am standing on right now getting ready to take God's lead.

This morning I happened on to the The Lord's Challenge to Job. "Who gave the horse its strength, he commands? Did you give the locust the ability to leap forward? Are you the one who makes the hawk soar, and spread its wings to the south?" He asks. Who am I to question the almighty God just because things don't go my way? Rather than complain I need to consider how much he loves me. Complaining blocks out the sight and sound of God, it leaves no room for him to reveal his greater purposes for me. My challenge is recognizing that it may unfold during the course of my life and not at the moment I desire.

I am reminded of a verse from a song by Casting Crowns:

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I don't have all the answers. And when I spend my time looking for them on my own, rather than seeking God's direction, I become wrapped up in a "poor me" mentality and in that place I accomplish nothing.

Lord, I want to seek you in all I do. I am going into an uncomfortable place this week where people know my situation and to my face will act as though everything is right. Help me to honor you in my actions, words and deeds. To think positively and in anticipation of the purpose you have for me and the growth that will come from my submission to your will.

I love you God.