I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, but I really like to beat myself up, tear myself down, and then kick myself while I'm down for good measure.
I guess we should be thankful I'm my main victim.
But recently God has been whispering to my poor heart, who is so terribly afraid to just be... me.
In chapel at work, our new theme is "Love." I'm going through some of the most famous passages about love from the Bible. And you know what, there's a reason they are famous. They are really powerful.
1 Corinthians 13? Don't roll your eyes and think you know what it says. Read it again. REALLY read it again.
Now translate that into your daily life. Love is patient, with your family, your friends, your co-workers, that guy who cut you off, the store clerk, the person who just doesn't get it, the person who hurt you. Love is kind, to the people you see every day, the people you take for granted, to people who are jerks, to the people hiding pain behind their fake smiles. Love does not envy, when all your friends are getting married and you are just getting older, when your friend gets the exact thing you wanted, when that girl over there looks good in ANYTHING, when someone has an amazing voice and is a talented singer and that's been your dream since you were little, but you can't carry a tune in a bucket. Love isn't about me. It's not about what I did today. It's not proving I'm better or I'm right. It's not tooting my own horn or seeking my own glory. It's not about setting people up to compliment me. Love doesn't tear down others, it doesn't call people names, or point out flaws in a crowd. Love doesn't laugh when people fall down, or get hurt or embarrassed. Love doesn't demand to be loved back. It's not conditional. It's not about "getting" something. It's not about what I get. It's not about me. Love looks at the other persons circumstances and leaves a HUGE learning curve before getting angry. Love accepts that we are all flawed and gives second chances. And thirds, and 77ths. Love doesn't keep a list of all the times you hurt me, like that time in the second grade.... Love doesn't get happy with violence, or others pain. Love doesn't approve of hate. Love supports and seeks after truth and justice. Love protects those around you, your children, others children, the old, the weak, the wounded, the confused, the backwards, the lost... Love trusts, in those you love, in God's control. Even when there is no evidence, love hopes. For the future, for others to find love, for Home. Love keeps going. When you are dead tired and have nothing left to give, when you are hurt and bleeding, when it seems like nothing ever changes, when everything's going good, when times are tough.
That's a big order to fill. Not just a big order, this is a feakin mountain! This is like trying to climb Mt. Everest with no supplies or training!
This is about the point where I look at myself and say, "might as well just crawl up in a ball and stay there because there's no way you are going to get this at all. Even if you get some of it today, you're gonna screw up tomorrow for sure. This is too hard. You are never going to make it."
Oh wait, Love trusts and hopes...
This doesn't just apply to others.
I need to Trust God. I need to have hope. Hope, huh? How I've hated that word. I hate hoping for things, because I'm usually disappointed. I hoped for a mum and a date for homecoming. I hoped for boyfriends. I hoped for surprise birthday parties and ice cream cakes. I hoped for a single red rose and holding hands with someone I like on a star lit night. And I was disappointed.
Opps. Wait a second. Love is not self-seeking... I guess the hope was a bit misplaced huh? It was all about me... And I became afraid to hope, assuming I wasn't worthy of having any of the things I hoped for. I placed my value on external things.
So I should Hope. For others, for the Life God covets for us all. For star lit nights with God. For chances to Love. Real Love.
But Love does not dishonor. Hmmm... When I beat myself up, I'm beating up someone God loves dearly. Ouch. Love is patient, even with yourself. Love is kind, even when you fall down. Love does not easily anger, even when you make the same mistake over and over again. Love is not self-seeking, but it's not self-defeating either.
I've heard that in gymnastics, learning how to be a stunt man, martial arts etc, the first thing you learn how to do is fall. Because you are guaranteed to fall. No matter how talented you are, YOU WILL FALL. And there are two ways to fall. You can fall correctly, relaxing, rolling into the fall, minimizing the damage. Or you call fall wrong, tensing up, twisting and turning so that you break bones or cause more damage than necessary.
We all fall. All the time. I like working with young kids, and I've learned when a kid falls down and hits his head or whatever, most of the time if you just help them up, they just get right back up and keep going. Half the time the fall doesn't faze them at all. And if I don't react negatively to their fall, they don't realize it's bad. You let them fall. And eventually they figure out how that whole balance thing works.
I'm still a kid. I'm still learning what love looks like. And I'm still falling. But I'm hoping to learn how to fall a little more gracefully.
And stop keeping records of the falls...
I like this video because it shows how love preservers. Even if you aren't a fan of Garth Brooks, the video is good.