Sunday, February 24, 2008

"Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it."

I'm not a J.K. Rowling fan, and I confess I've never read any of her books, but this quote seemed fitting for the mood I find myself in today.

It's been a couple of weeks in the making. If you're any kind of cook you'll know that the longer a soup sits and is allowed to simmer, the better it ends up tasting. I believe the correct term is that you want your ingredients to "marry". I guess God wanted me to really taste the flavors He's been cooking up for me. He's been adding a pinch of this and a touch of that; conversations, circumstances, etc. to the pot and slowly stirring.

Earlier today I sat in our church service listening to a sermon that I'm convinced the pastor spoke just for my ears to hear. It seemed to be the dollop that topped the whole thing off.

God is an excellent cook.

Our sermon this morning was about giving. And our attitude when we give. And lately, mine has been more than sour. He spoke of how we can't live our life holding back what we're supposed to be giving all because we feel like we're not being given to in return.

For many listening to him this sermon might have been about money. But that's not what I heard. I heard how I've been selfish in many of my relationships lately. And that's not me. Not that I'm trying to be a braggart or anything.

Lately I've been holding on to things I know I should be giving away, and I've become fearful. And fear makes you hold on to anything and everything, doesn't it? I'm fearful that if I give you all that I have that you won't give all that you have to me in return. I want and need these friendships so badly that I'm fearful to allow myself to get too close to you. Because you might hurt me. It wasn't until I had that exact conversation with someone that I realized how dumb that really sounds. The expression, "It's better to have loved and lost than to never have had loved at all." came to mind.

And along with being fearful I've become a counter. I've been counting the cost of giving. I've been counting what others have been giving me. And in the process, I've allowed myself to become numb. I don't want to be hurt, so I numb the potential hurt. And in that process I've hurt others.

I'm sorry if you were one of them.

The moment of clarity hit with these words -- "What did you give to Christ before he gave his LIFE for you?"

Hmm. What did I give Christ before he died for me?

Not a thing.

But he gave his life anyway.

That's the kind of giving we're called to be doing. Every day. He gave his life for me and wasn't EVER concerned with what I would give him in return. So why the heck am I doing that? Why am I looking to the relationships in my life as if we were on the playground exchanging our toys? "I'll give you my BEST pencil if you give me your. . . "

I've come to the conclusion that I haven't been myself. I've heard this from three people in my life in the last month. "Jamie, you're not acting right." "Jamie, what's wrong with you? You're just not the same." "Jamie, what's going on? You're so preoccupied."

Well girls, there's the truth. I've been selfish. I was in that horrible place of insecurity yet again. I was waiting to see which of your best pencils you would give to me before I anteed up my own.

And I realize how wrong I've been. I want to be the kind of person who gives you all I have. I want to be the friend who really would give my life for yours. And I can't be that person if I'm trying to hang on to any shred of pride or selfishness.

My Jesus didn't hang on to his pride or his selfishness. And he could have. But he didn't. And because he didn't I'm assured a life that will never end. A life that will never hold sorrow. A life of never-ending worship. All because he's my friend. He gave me his best pencil, then turned and walked away. He didn't even want to see what I had in my hand behind my back.

So, I will try my best to reset my focus. To be the kind of friend that gives without condition. That gives without fear. That gives without limits. Because my Jesus did it first.


Steph said...

That is beautiful Jamie! I am so glad Jesus spoke to you this week. Really, you have so much to give and who cares if you don't get back in return what you gave. Your Heavenly Father sees what you do in secret and will reward you (Matt. 6:4).

Anonymous said...

I love you! Mom