Wednesday, October 03, 2012

I Don't Do People Very Well

Some of the reasons I write this blog to begin with include helping me process and understand what happens in my life and thoughts, and having a place where I have the accountability of putting what I say "out there" for hypothetical readers, because I know this requires me to be honest with myself. But another reason I write is so that later I can go back and read what I said at a certain time, remembering what was going on at that certain time, and hopefully at that later point I can have a better understanding of all the pieces of living because, as Kierkegaard said, life must be lived forward but can only be understood backwards.

So, I write now in hopes of better understanding later. Or at least in hopes of chuckling to myself about how silly I used to be.

They say that when you draw close to the Lord you are able to see more clearly how much junk you have in your life. Well, it seems the Lord is busy drawing me close to Him. I am starting to realize that although I have certain kinds of sensitivity to spiritual things, to connections with truth, to seeing spiritual patterns, I am a dullard when it comes to people. To use a phrase that my husband over-uses to the point of irritation, I can be like a bull in a china shop. No wonder I make my daughter cry when we work on academic stuff, and no wonder I frustrate my fun-loving son to the point of tears sometimes. Sometimes I have all the finesse of an axe-wielder.

I have made my way through life by forcing myself up over obstacles, plowing ahead, clearing a path generally, not carefully. I suppose someone has to do that sort of thing, and to me it has been necessary, because I had debilitating passivity and depression standing in my way for years. But I realize now that many situations simply do not call for this approach. Many situations require delicate handling, patient endurance, a gentle hand and a calm approach. These are not characteristics that rush to mind when one would describe me, if one knew what one were talking about.

And so I see how much I need to learn from those who are not like me. And I see how much I need those who are not like me. And I see how I have to acknowledge that the entire world is not my nail to pound in my hammerness. And I see how much I need to go before the Lord each day and ask what He would have me do, and for His way of doing it, rather than presuming that just because I want it a certain way that it is wise to have it that way.

It is true that God has been teaching me for 20 years to be myself. But now I see that being myself means that I am needy, incomplete, a part of a whole, interdependent with others, and totally dependent upon God, who loves me despite my boorishness.

As I allow myself to soak in God's love, perhaps I will lose more boorish edges. I think that soaking really boils down not to an emotional experience but to a conscious awareness -- faith, in other words -- in God's love and mercy. If I stay aware of God's mercy towards me, then I will soften my approach to others, aware that it is His mercy flowing through me, not some emotional concoction I can whip up on my own. Because that's all I can bank on, really. The Lord, I am sure of. Me, I know I'm not reliable, except perhaps as a chaff dispenser. So each day I must pray, Jesus, love these people through me. Not my way with them, Lord, but yours.

Otherwise, what does it mean to belong to Him?

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