Living to learn… For me it is all about growing up in my identity and relationship with Jesus Christ. He’s alive on the inside of me, active in my heart, my soul and every single aspect of my existence. I cannot escape Him. If the truth is revealed, I really don’t want to escape. I am captivated by the Ransomer of my heart.
Some things that I am living to learn in 2013 keep my attention these days:
- What it means to truly live unoffended. Living my life with a heart that does not respond to the wounds of offense, a heart choosing to overlook the misdeeds and hurtful or destructive behavior of others, and rather seek to know why their heart responds in this way to their circumstances and the people around them. Not blind tolerance, but gracious love – love that walks beside not ahead or above. Unoffended.
Todd White taught at our home church in November. He said something there that Monday night after Thanksgiving that would rock my world and become one of the things I am learning in 2013. He said, “I am unoffendable.” He went on to say he is tired of hearing ministers saying they are protecting people, exercising boundaries, and deeming some people unreachable. He said he chooses to live by God’s love and chooses not to get offended. He said, “Just love people.”
- My husband is a hero.
Two nights ago my husband and I were sitting in a local restaurant, enjoying our Asian entrees and laughing over fortune cookies. He spotted a couple who live in the house neighboring his parents home here in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metropolitan area. This family and Scott’s family are close. They have spent the years watching each others kids grow up and sharing neighborhood block parties at one another’s homes. They have done life together for more than 20 years. As we left, Scott stopped at their table and said hello. We were greeted with warmth and kindness and glad handshakes-even hugs. Then Ron, the gentleman, he said, “Scott we were just talking about you.”
My “never-seeks-attention” husband looked surprised. So Karen continues, “Yes, we were. We were remembering the year you and Melissa pulled… (our 2 year old) out of the pool. You and Melissa.”
Scott looked confused at first, all in a days work as a teenager I suppose. Then the recognition moved slowly across his face the way light breaks as a cloud passed before the sun. He nodded, “At Sonja’s house.”
“Yes. Yes. None of us saw her fall in, but you and Melissa and you just jumped in and got her out.”
I listened quietly admiring this man I’ve known for more than fifteen years. Marveling that he had never told me this story. I felt a bit lost in it if I am completely frank about the revelation. I looked at him, and spoke something I’ve known all this time in my heart. “You are a hero.”
He laughed. Shrugged his shoulders and smiled that sweet crooked smile that he gets when he doesn’t know whether to agree or be embarrassed by what I’ve said.
Karen then said, “Yes.”
And Ron agreed. “He is a hero. To us he is.”
My husband is a hero. He saved someone’s life.
- Letting go is hard.
In learning to live my life with an unoffended heart, I’m learning that sometimes there are things I’m not even aware that I am holding onto. Letting go is hard. Old patterns and habits do indeed, as the cliche acknowledges, “die hard.” And sometimes the struggle within me feels violent and leaves me overwhelmed and raw.
Still, something very freeing occurs when the struggle ends. These days the feelings with that long held thing I had to wrestle free fro my heart are gone. The pain doesn’t stir when the person enters the room or the memory of something that happened between us beckons my heart to dwell in the pain. I am not constantly trying to “fix” things all the time, and peace comes very quickly as I ask God to help me deal with feelings stirring in my own heart rather than focus on what the “offender” may have meant or intended by what was said or done. It takes all the angst and turmoil out of relationships when you live in a way that keeps you doing justice in your own heart and listening to the hearts of others seeking mercy and grace in your relationship. It also relieves me of the horrible need I’ve carried to justify, defend and prove myself right.
These are the things I’ve been learning these last few months. I’m so grateful His mercies are made new every morning and no matter how far down the road I am there is more of Him that He wants to grow in me.
These things I’m living to learn. Completely given over to His love.