Developing World, Schmeveloping World
“My friend is a barber, and he has a sign in his place, a beautiful sign, one of my favorite things I’ve seen. You know what it says? ‘Don’t tell me your life story.'” The man threw back his head and laughed, and then his face grew confused when I didn’t join him.
“I don’t like that. I like hearing people’s stories. Everyone has one.”
The man scoffed. “Not many have one worth hearing.”
“Now, when we think that way, then people don’t feel like people anymore,” I tried to explain to him. “We need to listen to people. What if they haven’t got anyone who will listen to them?”
He clearly didn’t want to talk to me anymore and said simply, “Everybody’s different.”
Think about this. When you have good times, don’t you like to tell people, and are happy when they celebrate with you? When you have bad times, doesn’t it feel good when someone listens to you, hugs you, and shows that they care? Do you like it when you get to talk about yourself? It’s a little scary sometimes, but it makes you feel good.
It’s a little harder when you’re not talking though, and you’re the one listening. You don’t always know how to respond, or how to help, or what to do…but listening is the best thing you can do. Showing that you care.
Whether it’s some smelly homeless guy, a stranger in line at the store, your brother you’re annoyed with, your enemy, or your best friend…we cannot make them out to be nothing special. We need to encourage, to smile, to make people feel loved, and not just ignored.
God created all of us, and we each have gifts and talents and dreams. Sometimes these things are not even realized until they are encouraged out of someone. That they see they are someone special.
Jesus didn’t just die for the “good people” or the people who are good at stuff, who have jobs, who make smart decisions. After all, we are ALL sinners. He died for all of us and wants us to see our identity in Him: that we are loved, that in following Him we are set free from our struggles, our addictions, our downfalls, that we have a role in His kingdom, that we were all created for a purpose by a Creator who loves us and wants so badly for us to turn to Him and let Him make something beautiful out of our junk.
I am not great at staying on topic, but here is what I say to you: Know who you are in Christ. Know who others are in Christ. Treat them like it, especially listening to them. You just may learn something.
For the last year, I have struggles with anxiety.
It has eaten me alive, affected my ability to make decisions, and has made me lose trust in myself and God.
It has paralyzed me.
I have been terrified to make the wrong decisions about my future; marriage, what to do, where to live. I just want to make the right choice, and I am terrified that I will somehow not hear God and not do His will.
But my dear best friend(who also happens to be my boyfriend)has been walking this journey with me every step. Being supportive, giving pep talks, reassuring me, and letting me cry and snot all over him…I am convinced that this relationship must be something of God because the boy has had this extreme patience and hope and love for me. That I will make it through this and God is there.
It is by him that I learned a new thing. Making big decisions starts out by making smaller decisions. When I feel anxious, choosing to pray and lift it up to the LORD. Waking up and choosing to love that boy as long as He gives him to me, and not being afraid of the what ifs. Deciding that feelings can be so fickle and true faith is stepping out toward the LORD and for something you want.
I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this. For a while I believed that to be true. But we are not called to be anxious; that is not of God. We are called to walk, to be moving, and to follow Him, trusting in His provision. We can’t always do it by taking one giant step for the future. It is daily, step by step, choosing to love, choosing not to worry, and choosing to live for Him.
Pray with me.
Lay those burdens down in front of Him. He’s got them; He’s not going anywhere. He’s not busy. You’d think, that as Almighty God of the Universe, He may have other appointments. That’s not true, and it’s the beauty of God. He is always there. No rush, no hurry. He wants to spend time with you. Yeah, you!
LORD, You are beautiful!
You are freedom, love, mercy, and justice.
“Tomorrow’s freedom is today’s surrender…”
Every day, there is no day but today. Why not begin? Why not have hope? Why not put your trust in Him?
LORD, You are holy.
You are beautiful. Your ways, Your self, Your creations, Your story, Your love, Your mercy…all of it and more.
Praise God, that we do not have to carry our burdens on our own! We can put our trust in Jesus Christ. He IS real, and His promises are true. When we believe in Him and confess with our mouths our sins and our need for Him as our LORD with our mouths, He SAVES US.
He saves us FROM sin and FOR heaven.
Times can be so, so hard. But as we lay these things down, our hearts remember that You are the only God.
Open our hearts and minds to see You and trust You and hear Your voice, so we can come running.
Sometimes it’s fun to look back on where you were a year ago, and think about where you are now.
A year ago, I was about to work at camp for the fall semester, and spend the spring semester in Nicaragua. I was impatiently waiting for the time to come when I would step on that plane and head back to the place I loved most, and hoping that through that trip, God would show me where He wanted me and what He wanted me to do.
Well, I went on that trip, and it was wonderful. It’s funny how things work out sometimes, because I’m not any closer to knowing what God wants me to do. I am hoping it’s in full time foreign missions, working with children in some way.
Right now though, I have NO idea what’s happening. I don’t have a direction, which is terrifying and teaching me how to depend on God, and desire His best for every part of my life, not just whatever opportunity presents itself.
It is weird and scary but I love Jesus and I know that there is a plan for my life according to His will, and I am going to keep walking with Him, trusting He’ll throw something out there as I continue to seek opportunities.
He’s leading, I’m following, and I know He will never leave me!
If you have contacts with a missions organization somewhere in the world who may need a willing worker for a while, please let me know! I’m interested in teaching, camping ministry, orphanage work…anything with kids! I’d love to be doing an internship exploratory thing…just to see what God may be gifting me in 🙂 thank you all for your love and support! God bless you!
“Okay, should I stay and help or should I just get out of your way? How can I best be a blessing to you?”
My boss is the executive director of the camp I work at. Today, he came into the kitchen where I was working and washing dishes. He jumped right in to help, which was WONDERFUL, because me and my two companions were feeling a little overwhelmed.
I don’t see my boss in his office a lot. When I do see him, he is mowing the lawn, talking to the ladies in the office, helping out wherever he can. This wasn’t the first time he came to help in the kitchen. A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were doing dishes by ourselves. That’s a big job for just two people! My boss jumped right in, staying with us and even taking out the trash! We went up to him to thank him profusely for helping us out, and he handed my boyfriend a twenty dollar bill and told us to go out and do something fun together.
I told my roommate that story and she grinned. “He was blessing you!”
It was not his job to help us today, or any other day. He certainly didn’t have to! He wasn’t doing it to impress anyone. He was doing it because he loved us and he wanted to bless us.
It makes me think about how God is the exact same day. Lately I’ve been kind of…eh. I haven’t been including God in my life as much as I should or have before, due to fear and my silly little human selfishness. But he just keeps blessing me, with people like Bob and other wonderful things in my life.
Thank you, Father. Please make me a blessing so I can love people the way You love me every day, whether I see it or not.