I am coming to believe that God has moved me to a different physical state to move me to a different spiritual state. This move is forcing me to extend myself beyond my comfort zone, to risk myself, and to be vulnerable. Searching for a new church home, new relationships, new schools, new bible studies, new neighbors, etc. has been a process that has been a good one and a scary one at the same time.
One of my Psychology professors once said, "Begin how you want to end in any relationship." What she meant was to not set a precedence in the beginning of the relationships that you were not able to maintain over time. This advice, in my opinion, has been one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. I have thought about this advice a lot as I have started to reach out to people or meet new people here. I don't want to show my best self in the beginning of a relationship only to later reveal my true self. I don't want to be a huge giver in the beginning of a relationship only to later become a huge taker. I want to begin my relationships at the same level that I know I can honestly sustain them and hopefully grow them over time. I want the growth in the relationship to look like an upward line on a line graph, not a downward line.
I want to be real with people and show them my true self,
but I am fearful people will not like what they see.
I want to invite people over with no expectation of being invited over to their house in return,
but I am afraid of rejection.
I want to trust what people say,
but experience has taught me that not all people are trustworthy.
I want to give to those in need,
but sometimes I am selfish with my time and my money.
I want to compliment and build other people up,
but I am afraid I will be ridiculed for sharing my true feelings.
I want to open my house to bless others,
but I am afraid of being vulnerable.
I want to build up people and not tear them down,
but sometimes my mouth works faster than my brain and my heart.
I want to speak honestly and openly about my faith to believers and non-believers alike,
but I am afraid of persecution.
Fear of judgement or what people think should not be my motivation, but unfortunately sometimes it is. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." What God is trying to teach me right now is that it doesn't matter. As long as I move forward in honesty, love, and truly a spirit of giving, I will be moving more toward who He wants me to be. Even if I am rejected by people, I am accepted with Him. Even if I am unloved by some, I am loved by Him. Even if my feelings get hurt, I am comforted by Him.
Literally hours after I began praying about writing this blog about relationships, I watched the Royal Wedding on DVR. Rt. Rev. Richard Charles, the Bishop of London, said, "Spiritual life grows as love finds it's center beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this. The more we give of self, the richer we become in soul. The more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed." Again, confirmation. A confirmation that it is truly better to give than to receive.
I want you to know how amazing it is to me to see how God is working and confirming the subjects I write about on this blog. I sometimes wonder if the subjects are strictly for my growth as a Christian or as a blessing to those who read it. In the words of Forrest Gump, "I think maybe it's both. Maybe both are happening at the same time." I certainly hope and pray that it is.
"If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men."