It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home, for this is where our love for each other must start.
– Mother Teresa
Have you seen the new Bible study blog by Antique Mommy and her friend Jennifer? What a great idea. The theme of it, “What happens when women say yes to God, ” got me thinking about a lesson I learned early on in the conversion process that I still struggle with implementing.
The simple lesson was this: surrendering your life to God starts right here, right now.
This is probably an incredibly obvious statement to those of you who are lifelong believers, but to me it actually wasn’t. You see, I thought of renouncing my own will and putting my life in God’s hand as an entirely future-oriented proposition. “It will be so exciting to see what God will call me to do!” I would think, and promptly pour tons of mental energy into trying to discern what adventure God would send me on in the future…and then someone would interrupt my concentration and I’d snap at them and get angry.
I eventually came to the painful realization that, while it’s true that God would likely call me to make radical changes in the future, the biggest and most difficult thing I could do in terms of living for God would be to start by dealing gracefully with those little daily frustrations that were in front of me right now. Gulp. That’s not fun. It has none of the exhilaration of discerning that you might be called to do something exotic like go be a missionary in another country, none of the thrill being called to do something radical like start a new charity.
And, as I quickly found, it’s hard. Really hard.
It only took about a day of trying this to realize that I’d rather volunteer in a soup kitchen for ten weekends then respond with humility when a relative gives me pointed unsolicited advice about parenting; I’d rather write fifty articles about dying to self than gracefully accept an unexpected pregnancy; I’d rather go on a grueling mission to a third-world country than not wallow in anger about the person driving slow in the left lane in front of me.
One afternoon when I found myself shifting uncomfortably an inwardly rolling my eyes when a neighbor was talking my ear off during the time I had planned to go read the Bible and see what God’s will was for me, something finally clicked: I had felt like God’s will for me would be something big and dramatic; I was right about that, though the details were not what I would have ever imagined. The biggest, most dramatic thing I could do would be to simply shine the light of Christ to the world around me, starting in the immediate, mundane circumstances of being caught on my front porch with a loquacious neighbor. Real surrender, I realized, is not something that only begins after a lengthy discernment process. It starts right here, right now.
- It’s easy to love people far away
- Start by carrying the crosses you already have
- Setting YOUR world on fire @ First Comes Love
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