I Dare YOU

Hello beautiful people!

I would like to start this post off by saying that I think that I am a loving person. I have gotten this far into my twenties and deep into some really awesome sister circles by following the Golden Rule that we all were overexposed to during childhood, probably on at least one Garfield poster:

 

garfieldIronic that Garfield is being used as the moral authority.

 

The rule, otherwise known as the ethic of reciprocity, is simply to treat others the way that you want to be treated. The hard truth, however, is that people are fickle. We have the best of intentions (sometimes), but we are only human, and we battle against things such as anger, resentment, jealousy, busyness, pride, and so much more. The hard truth is that sometimes we come across someone who challenges the freeness and openness with which we thought we loved. This person may be a friend who loves you with all of your heart. It may be a spouse or significant other who arouses all of that JUNK in you, the not feeling good enough, the wanting to know their every waking move for fear that they’ve found a better option–all those things that you thought that you were done with and healed from. Whoever it is, use them when they are presented. Use them as an opportunity to refine your love and make it more Christlike. I dare you.

For me, my person is my mentee. This is us:

sisses.jpg Check out my expression. I am IMPOSSIBLY cool.

Like I said before, I would consider myself, for lack of a more adult adjective: NICE. I think I am generous. I believe deeply in family and in friendships that value quality over quantity. I was never that girl that needed everyone to know her name. I prefer meaningful interactions, heartfelt words, and creative gestures. I revel in the random and the just because. Mentee here has often been the recipient of that. Everything that I have learned in 29 years, I pour into her 20 so that she hopefully can skip some of my aches and pains.

That girl up there? She is warm, and she is funny with an infectious laugh. She is principled, and she is open hearted. She is smart.

But does she challenge the way I love? Absolutely.

She does things that leave me scratching my head. She gives people a 1000th chance who have messed her over 999 times. She makes decisions that I honestly don’t follow. And lately, this relationship has been the one that challenges my insecurity, with whispers along the lines of ‘girl, you thought you were doing something? Pssh. You’ve made no difference whatsoever.’ And its times like that where my love for her can be misconstrued and filtered through all of the crap that she has had to deal with and it comes out feeling to her like she is being attacked and judged and put down. It is then that I have to take a deep breath, step back, normally cry to my own mentors, and…inevitably, I square back up. I rejoin the fight. I remember that when I did the foolishness that I did, God welcomed me back and He didn’t even ask for an explanation of my stupidity. I show her grace, and I do so remembering that there is no way and no minion in hell that can keep me from loving her. It reminds me of a post I saw on Facebook that I related to my students at first:

kidslove

We all need to be loved. The strength and the ferocity of that love might differ from person to person, but the Bible clearly states that we are in need of some love that manifests in the fruits of the spirit.

This week, I dare you to be reckless with your love. I dare you to love on somebody that is making it increasingly difficult and to stick with them through their storm if for no other reason than the fact that Christ loved us at our most unloveable  and we can come to Him time and time again bruised, broken down and dirty from the weight of the sins that we still choose to partake in while claiming to love Him–and in return, He offers us redeeming love. Grace.

I dare you to go out of your way for somebody. To love on someone that can’t offer anything in return, not even their heart. Love on someone who is so downtrodden that love itself sometimes seems like the most hopeless of causes, and feel free to come looking for me if the very power of your reckless love doesn’t make them bloom, however slowly.

I dare you to love using the fruits of the Spirit:

I dare you to be JOYFUL.

I dare you to be PEACEFUL right in the middle of an emotional Nor’Easter.

I dare you to show FORBEARANCE–in other words, be patient when they resist. And they WILL resist. Its what hurt people do.

I dare you to be KIND and GOOD to people this week.

I dare you to be FAITHFUL and stay in those trenches when everyone else has said “this is too much” and leaves shaking their head.

I dare you to be GENTLE–with both the person you are loving on AND with yourself. Baby, you deserve to be loved and understood with just as much of a soft touch as they do.

And I dare you to exercise some SELF CONTROL–to not snap when they snap at you, to not give up on them when things look grim, and to wait for the glorious unfolding that happens when someone feels secure in the calm waters of you.

Let me know how it goes, darlings. I’ll be waiting.

Be blessed,

StephTheScribe

 

Heart Check

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Hello beautiful people,

I am coming off of one of the most spiritually strenuous periods that I have had in awhile, and I am walking a fine line between 1Peter 4:8 (which encourages us to cover each other–and our lapses in judgment–in love) and Luke 8:39 (where the healed man was told to go home and tell of the great things that the Lord has done)

First, a moment of transparency. One of the things that I have fought the hardest against is the pothole of insecurity. There are some people who have never had second thoughts about what other people think of them or whether their current situation is all their fault, I am not one of those people, and after a lot of prayer and long roads, I can say that I don’t envy those people at all. I embrace the fact that it has taken me a while to learn to love myself warts and all because I believe that within that lies my spiritual gift: seeing other people currently entrenched in that struggle, encouraging them, and walking them through it. I am here on Earth to remind the masses that God loves them, that He has gone before them into every circumstance and that they were created for a purpose. Little did I realize how close to home that those conversations would get.

I have someone in my life who is my family not by blood, but by time. When I met her, she was very young, barely a teenager, but she already had a major distrust of people, and a lot of anger as a result. Flash forward to this past weekend, and she emerged from a volatile situation with an ex-friend angry and distrustful again, and saying that she was better off doing life alone. Initially angry at being pulled into the chaos, I tried to pour into her all the lessons that I have learned about dealing with heartbreak. As I was talking to her, I had the thought that this might be beneficial to someone else, so here we go.

Lesson One: We Have GOT To Deal With Our Pain.
Many of us are walking around with serious wounds from our pasts. Father/mother drama, assault, abuse, constant strife, and even pervasive and extreme poverty can leave us with scars that can’t be seen but that can definitely be felt. What often happens though, is that we don’t/won’t put in the footwork to see these issues through to complete healing for whatever reason, and instead we do what I described to my sister as a “Shawshank Healing”. If you have ever seen the Shawshank Redemption, then you know that Andy Dufresne escaped from prison by painstakingly digging a hole to the outside and covering it with a pinup poster. Similarly, a lot of us are not truly packing our issues, we are just covering them. It may not be with a poster, but it CAN be with money. Power. Notoriety. Sex. Relationships. Drugs. Just like the warden found the hole when he aimed a rock at the poster and it tore right through, stress or heartache or missed opportunities can expose the yawning hole in our spirits if we aren’t careful. How do we deal with the pain? You know what’s coming!! Revelations 21:5 says “He who was seated on the throne says ‘Behold, I am making all things new. Also He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'” When we surrender these hurts to God, in its place we are given a freedom beyond compare.

Lesson Two: What We Think, We Create
One of the things that I spoke to my sister about was her desire to never open up to people because people had hurt her in the past. I spoke to her about being angry and resentful in the past; most don’t believe me when I say that I used to have a mouth like a sailor on shore leave. I began cursing my freshman year in high school, and despite many attempts to stop, the habit continued well into my mid-twenties. What this meant was that my love of cussing, fussing, and kicking up dirt made people who also enjoyed these things attractive. We enjoyed being raucous and dramatic–but what I found was that as I came back to Christ, a process called sanctification took place seemingly without my help. Some of the things, people, and places that I used to enjoy began to not only lose their value, but they made me downright uncomfortable. When I wouldn’t release these things and people that weren’t aligned with the changes taking place in my life, often some really upsetting event would take place to leave no doubt in my mind that this person had to GO. The job that was stressing me out would start feeling unbearable or an argument/blowup would start with the person I’d been tiptoeing around and not wanting to formally detach from. However, I started noticing that I wanted to be around genuinely joyful people–in fact, I craved it. There was nothing in me that wanted to spend time around people that did my soul no good. What I told my sister is that life is a process of taking people one interaction at a time, and that the more that her heart heals, the more that she’ll find her self being willing to step out on faith and meet other healed people. 1Peter 3:8 encourages us to be like-minded, sympathetic, compassionate, and humble. What we are, we attract.

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Lesson Three: We Can’t Nourish Others When We Are Starving
One of the final things that we talked about during her refusal to open up was about how important it is to have your own heart in triage and being take care of before you go looking for others to rescue. My sister has burst fully grown into the adult world of job hunting, and she is finding that the process can be difficult. Being a jobless young adult can often mean that your pockets are not at the level that you would want them to be, so I explained this walk of healing as an emotional bank account. A lot of us are walking around with overdrawn emotional bank accounts perpetrating like ballers. We are trying to load other people onto a back that is bruised and broken, and sooner or later, the bough breaks. I asked her “what happens if your account is -1000.00 and you get a check in the mail for $1000.00?” to which she replied,
“if you put it in, the bank is going to take it all!” I said, “that’s true, but what is your balance now?”
Her: “it’s ZERO!!!”

She had this look of confusion on her face, because who wants a bank account with a balance of zero, but what I wanted her to understand is that this is the process of healing. We go from having this abyss of shame and anger and hurt, and then Christ comes in, and with our permission (because Christ won’t change our hearts if we resist Him too hard) He wipes that clean.

She was still looking at me in utter bemusement, so I decided to take it a step further. “Ok”, I said, “so your account is at zero, but what happens if you get a $2000.00 check in the mail now?” She said, after some thought “Now I have $2000.00!”

Exactly love, now you have 2000 dollars. Take away the concreteness of money, and replace it with a spirit and feelings. God has taken away the bad stuff and left us clean so that when we have positive interactions with hope, with peace, with joy, and with salvation, they aren’t eaten alive by the negativity that reigned in our lives for so long. We have MORE now. And how about this: what reigns supreme in your life now is double or MORE what you had to give up and let die.

Final thought: I asked her “what can you do with money that you couldn’t have done before?” Being the recent post-teenager that she is, she excitedly said “SHOP!”…to which I asked “only for yourself?” Off to the races, she said ” nah I can buy stuff for you and Jord–ohhh! I get it!”

Yup, sis. Now you get it. Not only are you filled up, but you have the joy, actually the responsibility, to go spend it on others. Don’t keep all that love to yourself: we serve a God that fills us to overflowing, so we can pour out as we are poured. Psalms 23:6 says that He anoints our heads with oil and our cups run over.

It is never easy to get a heart check, loves, but I promise you that what He reveals in your wilderness season is exactly what someone needs to hear. I learned that all over again this past weekend, and I pray that what I told my sister can also help you.

Be blessed,

StephTheScribe

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