Tag Archives: relationship

Never be Left Out

It’s hard to feel left out no matter how old you are, especially when things like work and church start to feel more like social clubs. We even feel left out of things we wouldn’t even be interested in if we were invited. Somehow we think we should be invited regardless of our level of interest.

I remember when I was a kid, and I would want to invite every person in my class to my birthday party so nobody was left out. My parents would usually set a limit on how many people I could invite, and then my mom would tell me not to talk about the party at school because it might make someone feel left out. Let’s face it, we are going to have times when we are left out and it’s okay. We might be left out of a work meeting, a wedding celebration, or a big decision. While we might consider being left out of these things a disappointment, we should celebrate being left out of other things that our colleagues, friends, family, and neighbors have to deal with. No one ever said, “Wow! God didn’t even think of me when that person was diagnosed with cancer. How dare him!”

Instead of looking at the “what” we were left out of, let’s look at the “why.” The only why we need to consider is that it just wasn’t God’s will. You got left out of a promotion. It wasn’t the right job, the right time, the right boss. You got left out of a group get-together with your fellow church members. You were meant to spend alone time with God or maybe God prevented you from getting in a car accident. Maybe God knew you wouldn’t have a good time.

I recently heard a sermon that convicted me of feeling bitter when God does not live up to my expectations for him. The message was taken from Luke 7:18-35. John the Baptist is in prison, and sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is in fact “the one who is to come.” The pastor explained that John had more evidence that Jesus was the Messiah than any other living person, and yet he questioned Jesus because perhaps Jesus did not live up to John’s expectations for him. Maybe he expected Jesus to break him out of jail, or any number of other expectations.

Does God not care about you because you get left out? Does he plan on you being alone forever? Does he plan on you making minimum wage forever? Does he want you to feel lonely, rejected, and even unwanted? No. He wants you to feel closer to him than ever before. He wants you to fill up on his love to share it with others. He wants you to share about a time when you were lonely with someone who is feeling lonely or left out now. What you are going through is just a season, and seasons have an end, a transition. Seasons also help nourish the earth in some way, and they will nourish your soul just the same. You will come out of this season of feeling left out with a stronger faith, a more moving testimony, and a whole lot of new friends. People will be drawn to the love of Jesus you reflect after spending all that time with him. No promotion, party, outing, or meeting can create the relationship you grow from one-on-one with the Lord.

One last word of advice, if you feel left out, try inviting people to do things often and accepting invites whenever possible if the invites are to do something that interests you. If you haven’t been invited, perhaps it’s because you’re not around to invite or maybe you are hard to reach. No matter the reason, God is doing something in you during this time, and you need only trust in him to finish that work.

Don’t get left out! Comment, like, and follow for more good stuff.

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Family Feud-less

Fun with the family Labor Day weekend 2014

Fun with the family Labor Day weekend 2014

Anyone who has a family knows that family members can get on each other’s nerves. When I was younger I let every little annoyance drive me nuts. If something was going the way I had imagined then it wasn’t worth taking part. As I’ve become older, and hopefully more mature, I’ve come to realize that if anything is guaranteed, it’s that almost nothing will go the way I imagined because my imagination is like a mainstream Hollywood movie where everything falls gently into place. The fact is, people who know each other as well as most families know each other have moments of resentment, disgust, frustration, and the list goes on. Disagreement is a symptom and/or side effect of a close-knit relationship.

After spending one of the best three-day weekends with the family I recognize that my past frustration and annoyances were all about my intolerance of not getting my way. Once I was able to let that go (for the most part) I could really enjoy them no matter what their annoying habit, unorthodox opinion, or deafening TV volume. Maybe with maturity I have found that I have those same quirks within me that perhaps have a tendency to annoy others, but just as I have become comfortable with who I am and all my crazy quirks I have also become comfortable with several other people’s.

Before we took our little road trip up the coast for the weekend I went on the Google Play store to download some new music to add to our vacation playlist. As soon as I logged on I noticed Katy Perry’s entire latest CD was free. Normally I wouldn’t download a whole Katy Perry album, but it was FREE. It turns out there were only a few songs I really liked from the whole thing, but one in particular got my attention. The song is titled “Love Me”, and it’s about a girl who loses herself in fear of losing someone else. It seems we often compromise ourselves to gain relationship with others, or we neglect to compromise at all and lose relationship with others. This is tricky because we don’t want to compromise on the big stuff, but relationship, even among family members, calls for some compromise. Saturday I had a headache and all I wanted was to go back to the house and take a nap, but my mom wanted to take a hike. Instead of complaining I took a nap in the car while she hiked, and our day was so much more peaceful because of it. My mom got out her energy so she could sleep good that night, and I got to take some Advil and nap off some of my headache.

When I reflect on the New Testament I see images of Jesus, after a long day of healing and teaching in crowds of people all wanting his attention (he must have been exhausted), humbly healing one more or praying all night or going out on a boat to preach to a huge audience. And Jesus says that what you do to the least of these you have done for him. When you humble yourself to listen to one more banjo-filled folk song at full volume when all you want to hear is a good worship song, or you stop at Java Detour just so your loved one can get an extra-large oreo latte even though you are exhausted, you are doing this for Jesus because even these simple things are acts of humility and acceptance and love. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13)

So, when your son wakes you up at 4:00 a.m. with nightmares or your mom asks you to repeat yourself ten times or your sister fails to call you back, remember that love is patient, kind, and not self-seeking. Hope you learned as much from my three-day weekend as I did.

Just for kicks I’ve added Katy Perry’s song Love Me to this post. I think it has a positive message and a fun beat, and it was part of the inspiration for this post.

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Grace Unveiled

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In some cultures and religions if one were to convert to another religion they would be disowned by family or would even be persecuted. Today I was asked by a dear friend what I would do if one of my future children decided to convert to Islam from Christianity. My answer was very long. Like my friend who is of another religion I would accept my child because family is first. Not only would I accept my child, but my faith community, my church body would too. My friend asked how can a body of Christian faith possibly accept someone who was formerly Christian now Muslim.
My answer was this. Jesus gives us the great commandment. Love the Lord your God with your whole being, and love your neighbor as yourself. So basically, love God, love yourself, love your neighbor. If the greatest commandment is to love, which in some scripture is actually translated “grace”, then I am called to accept my child, my friend, my coworker whatever their faith.
How can one accept a family member or a friend that they have taken time nurturing in the Christian faith if they convert? It may seem like time wasted to some, but it can be accomplished. Even the most broken-hearted parent or friend can show grace through the power of the Holy Spirit who stirs up words of wisdom and encouragement, speaks truth in love, and heals broken relationships.
Is there someone in your life who has broken your heart by offending you and God? Maybe they were unfaithful, dishonest, deceiving, abusive. You can find a way to show mercy and grace through the Holy Spirits counsel.
If you need a starting point visit a website I have found very helpful, http://www.iamsecond.com. There are videos there on all topics. Once you watch the video reflect in silence or through journaling. You might want to write a letter to that person, and you may not even send it, but find healing in writing down your message of forgiveness and grace.
I hope you have found this post helpful. Please leave your comments and likes if you so desire.