Now that my children are in school most of the day, I have time to invest in really being with people. I spend a lot of time at 'my office' (also known as Starbucks) bonding with various women over caffeine. As a result of these chats, I have become keenly aware of the pain most folks are carrying around.
Many of the stories I hear are tragic and heavy. This season of my life is marked by walking through tough things with hurting people. And it has taken its toll. I have spent a lot of time in recent months feeling burdened, tired and sad. It has distracted me from my 'healthy' friends and to some degree my husband and children.
I realized a couple of weeks ago that somewhere along the way I have gotten my role wrong. I am trying to be Messiah rather than Messenger. I am attempting to be Savior, when I am called to be Salt & Light. I am trying to Fix people and their circumstances rather than pointing them to their Father.
I have been exhausted and overwhelmed because I am bearing burdens that are far too heavy for my mortal shoulders.
As I have been praying and pondering, I have realized that my struggle lies in my take on the Good Samaritan. I don't ever want to be the one who crosses the street in order to avoid getting involved. I don't want to be afraid of getting messy. I don't want to piously pat someone on the shoulder with a promise to pray rather than being hands and feet. I don't mind getting down in the ditch with messed up people--because I have been largely shaped by people doing that for me. I feel closest to God when serving because it is in those moments that I realize the great lengths He has gone in pursuit of humanity. There is nothing like serious brokenness to humbly remind me of our desperate need for Him.
And yet, I am realizing that I need to be more prayerful about how involved God wants me in each situation. I need to really search my heart and examine my motives in each case. Is it God moving me--or my prideful belief that I can fix something God cannot or will not.
When I act out of my flesh rather than from God's leading, I will sin. It is quite possible I am trying to rescue people from situation and/or circumstance God would have them walk through for their sanctification. It is akin to someone showing up to my work out group midway through and telling us to quit early because they have brought milkshakes. It probably made them feel better to 'rescue' people in pain, but it is the resistance and the challenge of the work out is exactly what is being used to make us stronger. Their 'rescue' was short term.
So, I am praying for wisdom to know how to love people practically, yet in a way that points back to their Savior. I am also praying for the courage to really examine my heart motives and the discernment to know when my efforts, however 'good' they seem are not godly.
And the funny thing is, I already feel lighter, healthier and more joyful. God's grace IS sufficient when I am walking in the light of HIS Will rather than my own.