Yesterday, I sort of lied to everyone in the blog. I was going to continue to write about my favorite things, but, something more important seemed to happen today and I have to write about it.
Yesterday, I had a leadership meeting at church with other leaders of various committees and all and though it was good, it left me feeling that because I have had some failures in some of the roles I have tried to take on, that I really just need to quit. I felt heavy-hearted, like I’ve let everyone down, especially my pastor who I sort of look up to. That’s the way I saw things. I was listening to the negative voices in my head that have taunted me all my life and said, “You’re not good enough. You can’t do that. You don’t have what it takes.” Not only was I listening, I was believing them.
After a restless night last night, when I woke up, God lifted my burdens. I don’t know how else to describe it, but I felt a weight lifted from me and I was full of joy. I made a decision to believe that God loves me, that I won’t know if I can do something until I try, and that risking failure is better than doing nothing. It was an important breakthrough for me.
I went to church feeling happy, happier than I’ve been in awhile. I talked to my pastor about how I was feeling and we prayed. We had a great service. The choir knocked it out of the park with our song, “Revelation 19.” It sounded awesome, and I really was feeling the words, “Hallelujah, salvation and glory, honor and power unto the Lord our God, for the Lord our God is mighty and the Lord our God is omnipotent. The Lord our God is wonderful.” The music to this song is absolutely gorgeous.
To top it off, a great friend was at church today. I hadn’t seen her in a few months because she works a lot. It was a wonderful joy to see her and I was reminded of how much I like her. Then, the pastor preached, and boy, did she preach!
She spoke about the portion of Matthew 5, where Jesus is teaching that his followers need to turn the other cheek and to love their enemies, asking, (and I paraphrase) “If you only love those who love you, what does that prove? Anyone can do that.” The pastor talked about how unnatural it is for people to forgive enemies and to love them. It’s impossible, and Jesus knew that no human being could do something like that without divine help and divine love. Instead of seeing people as the enemy, she said, Jesus wants us to see all of them as brothers and sisters and friends, not enemies. She talked about how Jesus changed the world by letting people kill him. He laid down his life in response to hate, and he was raised by the power of love. What he did, by refusing to fight hatred with violence, and instead, conquering it with love, was a miracle. But, Christians can do that too, if we really want to follow him.
I realized that I have failed so many times at seeing people through God’s eyes, and not loving them no matter what. I have often let my pride get the better of me, and taken offense to things people have said or written to me, and responded in unloving ways. It really shouldn’t matter what anyone says or does to me. I will love them, hoping for the best for them, praying for them and remembering what Christ did for me. Remembering that helped really energize me and I’m thankful for the reminder.
Later, because it was our church’s turn to host a community meal at Christ Episcopal Church downtown for homeless and needy people, a bunch of us went there and worked together to feed many people. It was a blessing to serve side by side with such fun, loving folks.
After that, I went to visit my friend Louise at Rolling Hills and her son and his dog Jane were there visiting as well. It was wonderful to see Louise because I’d been prevented from going for awhile and I missed her.
I got home late and tired but happy. So, maybe I didn’t lie exactly. I am writing about one of my favorite things, it’s just that it has nothing to do with TV shows or books. I love Jesus, and he is more than a favorite pastime to me. He is a necessity, a real savior who keeps changing me and helping me grow and heal more every day. I feel like I can transcend the pain and sorrow of this world, and the struggles I have with fear, low self esteem and all the other garbage that I have let hold me down for so long.
So, there you have it. My favorite thing in this world is Jesus because he makes it possible for me to enjoy all of my other favorite things without the baggage that tends to get in the way of real joy and happiness. Maybe tomorrow I’ll write about TV shows or books.