I was driving along my merry way to work yesterday having my usual talk with God and saying hello to the creatures that I pass on my commute. There's this little brown shaggy stray dog who hangs around near the stop sign at the base of the hill. He's always sitting there keeping guard over the neighborhood, wagging his tail as we head off on our daily missions. I've named him "Mayor" - since he is the leader of our little community. Then there are the cows on Hwy 115... if I'm driving with my windows down, I'll moo at them... they never seem to notice but I do it anyways.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Anyways... I was talking to God and musing over some of my usual issues and complaints. He was listening patiently as He always does while I whined and criticized His creations... me... some others who cross my path routinely... and I told Him how weary it makes me to be around toxic people. I felt His voice speaking to me as He gently reminded me that He put me in their path, not so that I could become toxic too, but so that I could do a little toxic waste clean up. He has suited me up with the armor of His word... and has promised to never leave me or forsake me. He has taught me who I am in Him and if I keep my eyes on Him, I won't be drowned in a sea of negativity.
I have the power to influence my world. Lately my world has become very small as I struggle to earn a living, keep a home and live with chronic - sometimes debilitating - pain. However, it is at times like living in a retreat of sorts. I don't have a lot of distractions. I have a lot of time for reflection and meditation (haha... I almost typed that as "medication" ... which is true too!). I have the opportunity to sort of bask in the glow of the first act of my life and rest and restore my soul for what lies ahead. But because I have that sort of time available, I am uniquely situated to love the few people who cross my path daily VERY well. I have the spiritual energy to love better than I am loved, in some cases, because I am so well loved by God and others.
I spent my youth trying to assimilate and blend in with the crowd and my adulthood figuring out who I really am. I remember as a younger woman really dreading those milestone birthdays and the passing years but I realize now how much sweeter life gets when you grow a little deeper and give up the shallowness of youth. I realize how much more precious life can be when it's surrounded by memories and enduring friendships and relationships that have seasoned over decades. I embrace the uniqueness of me.
I've always been a bit of a square peg in a round hole. I was the only girl out of five kids. I was a little less privileged than my friends growing up. I got married - and pregnant - very young, so I was the youngest mom of Ryan's peers. I had unusual pregnancies with Cody and Austin. I didn't drive until I was in my late twenties. I was (am) the parent of a child who is differently abled. I was the only lady at church without her husband for a time. And then I was a single mother. I didn't go to college. I am a evangelical Christian whose best friend is a gay man. I am deeply spiritual but not religious. I am dirt poor but cultured. I appreciate the finer things in life but I am not wasteful. I seem to sort of be on the outside of most groups and... the truth is, I don't mind it. I enjoy being slightly quirky, slightly difficult to label, slightly unpredictable.
But in between talking to the stray dog and the cows and chatting with God, He reminded me that I have been placed in places where I don't fit in so that I can be - not so much of an example - but maybe just a sample, a little (not so little) trial size of how life can be just a little bit different. The people who seem toxic to me are the people who need a clean up and I'm the one, in some cases, ok - maybe in all cases - that God has called to do it. And the great thing about it is that He has uniquely created me to have the emotional strength to do it... and He has given me a tender heart toward people who might otherwise not be loved, or at least not loved well. And for those who are already loved well, He has given me the ability to love differently - to stand out in the crowd - to be a little more forgiving (I hope) and a little more forebearing and to allow the past to stay in the past and to move forward with hope.
He has given me the ability to hate the sin but love the sinner. He has given me a burden to pray for others so that even when I can't go and do what I want, I know that He is there. Yesterday He reminded me that I'm put in uncomfortable places where I don't quite fit, not so that I can get comfortable, but so that I can bring comfort to others and bridge gaps that others might not know how to cross. Ultimately, at the end of the day, whatever anyone does to me, is not added to my guilt or shame, it is added to theirs. So then I can live freely and love freely and not fear the consequences.
Now it's Wednesday and the week is speeding along quite nicely. I have had fewer episodes of tachycardia over the past 24 hours (but am having one now and it's quite distracting so if some of this doesn't make sense, that's why)... but I am having absolutely drenching sweats... I have been absolutely soaked to the skin a few times while in air conditioning... I had lunch at Waffle House yesterday because it's the coldest place in town and I still, although chilled to the extent of goosebumps, was sweating like I had run a marathon. Sweating is a definite side effect of one of the meds I'm taking, it's a symptom of a couple of possible disorders or "life changes" but it is RIDICULOUS and it feels like adding insult to injury. Literally.
But life goes on... my prayer for you today is that you have the courage to be who you are... whether you're designed to blend in and be one of the crowd, or if you're destined to be different... know that God's creation is perfect and you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Have a great day, y'all.
Posted by Heather at 5:37 AM