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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was afraid to reach out to others. Out of that fear, she wrote a farewell letter in her heart:

Dear Compassion,

I’m afraid it’s time for me to move on. You see, I have too much to do to waste any time with you. I can’t slow down to listen to you if I want to get any work done. Besides, listening to you only brings me more misery. I have enough pain of my own, and you want me to add even more to my burdens by taking on others’ hurt? It’s much more productive to focus on my own worries and troubles.

How do I know these people even want my help? I’d probably only make things worse. What if I say the wrong thing? Reach out to them only to have them reject me in return? Or worse, draw them away from God?

No, no. I think everyone would be far better off if I just said goodbye to you, Compassion. You take me out of my comfort zone, and you make me feel things that I can do nothing about. Not everyone can make a difference. I certainly can’t. The only thing you bring me is more pain-pain that I can’t fix. It’s time for me to protect my heart.

Farewell, Compassion. I hope you understand-it’s easier on everyone this way.

 

But God wasn’t ready to give up on the girl. One day, He spoke to her through a song:

After listening to the song, the tears flowed down her face. With shame, she realized just how hard her heart had become, and she wrote a prayer pleading with God to bring compassion back into her life:

 

Help me see tragedy, and

Break me out of complacency,

So I can help the poor and needy.

 

Take away the umbrella,

So I can feel the rain,

And take away the soul’s ibuprofen,

So I can feel the pain.

 

Give me arms to hug and heal,

Give me knees that bend and kneel.

Give me a heart sensitive to your Word,

Help me set the captives free as a bird.

Give me calloused hands and skinned knees,

Oh, Father, please!

Give me tears that cry for change,

Put room in my heart, rearrange,

Break me, pour me out;

Oh, love’s what life’s about.

 

Put me in the ICU with the mom holding her son’s hand,

And place me in the impoverished land.

Let me feel the burning hunger of another,

And taste the stinging tears of my fellow brother.

Put me in the trench where the fear and blood is thick,

And in the child whose body is so sick.

Give me a heart tender and compassionate,

Oh, Lord, I want to be sent.

 

Jesus placed his feet on sinner’s land,

Accepted our hurt with an open hand.

Got his hands dirty and made a stand,

Touched and healed the leper’s hand.

Took on our sickness and pain,

Washed us anew in Heaven’s rain.

Walked into our darkness and gave us the light,

Took on our blindness and gave us sight.

Took our wounds and healed our souls,

Became broken so we became whole.

 

Became a prisoner so we could be free,

Walked through the fire with me.

Left heaven’s throne,

So I would never be alone.

 

‘Twas love that led him up to Calvary,

And ’tis love that says, “Take up your cross and follow me.”

My eyes, once blind, now see-

With perfect love comes bravery.

 

God honored that girl’s prayer, and for the first time in a long while she noticed the starving children on her television, and felt the tears stream down her cheeks. She noticed the sadness hiding behind her friend’s eyes, and remembered there were many who lived in darkness, just longing for the light. Light she could share with them.

The girl began to pray more, speak out more, and even cry more. But instead of adding to her burdens, it made her feel alive and free-as if a part of her had been re-awakened. And things around her began to change.

She has more purpose in her step now, more joy within her heart. For she realized that when you are loving is when you’re truly living. And she realized what the devil had been lying to her about for years, and it was this: that she could make a difference.

Now she lives in the truth, and the truth has set her free.

Once upon a time there was a girl, and that girl was me.

 

 

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I See Courage in You

A woman who made a mistake,

Gave your body away, feeling like your heart will break.

So many dreams, plans you had in store,

But decide for your baby a chance at so much more.

Pressure from friends, “Just get an abortion,”

But choosing instead life and adoption.

Nothing left, you say you’re through,

But I see something called courage in you.

 

An alcoholic drowning life away,

Gets on his knees to pray.

Ashamed and disgusted with the man in the reflection,

Begging God to pardon this transgression.

Inadequate, and clumsy in life’s dance,

He decides again to give AA a chance.

Nothing left, you say you’re through,

But I see something called courage in you.

 

The singer tries just one more audition,

The producer says, “We’ll give you a listen.”

The rejection comes, they slam the door,

And the singer says, “I’ll try once more.”

Nothing left, you say you’re through,

But I see something called courage in you.

 

A shepherd boy playing his harp and singing,

Spending his days with sheep, and with his older brothers in the evening.

God said, “You may feel small and insignificant,

But to Goliath, you will be sent.

You may be doubtful this is true,

But I see something called courage in you.”

 

You may feel small, weak and afraid,

But on Jesus your burden has eternally been laid.

For courage is having fear, yet acting anyway,

And if I could, this would be my prayer for you today:

That after everything and all that you’ve been through,

You’ll see it all-the courage that I see in you.

 

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A while back I attended a training to volunteer at my local Pregnancy Resource Center, and what I learned completely revolutionized my way of thinking about emotions. I realized that people in general (myself included) are afraid of big emotions like shame, grief, and anger.

It made me wonder: why so much fear? I think we’re afraid of emotions because we don’t know how to fix them. If we give way to the feelings, will we be overcome? If we allow ourselves to crack a little, will we completely crumble?

Not only do I think emotions are important, but I also think they can destroy our lives and those around us if they are not handled properly. So today I’d like to look at three different ways we can learn to cope with our emotions in a healthy manner. Next week I will look at how we can be better friends and listeners to those who are hurting.

For starters,

1) Allow yourself to have big emotions.

The first step to accepting big emotions in others is allowing them in yourself. Emotions are not a bad thing! God created us to have them. We were made to have feelings and to react to things not just physically, but emotionally as well. In fact, God Himself shows some pretty big emotions in Scripture. After seeing his friend Mary weep for her dead brother, John 11:35 says, “Jesus wept.”

Jesus wept? Jesus already knew the outcome. He knew Lazarus wouldn’t always be dead. Yet Jesus didn’t consider it below Himself to share in the overwhelming grief around Him.

In Matthew 21:12, Jesus actually, “entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.”

Overturning tables? That’s a pretty intense emotion!

For myself, at least, I have a pretty hard time allowing emotions. I always think, They don’t solve anything, so what’s the point? I definitely have the outlook that if I let myself give way a little, I might cave. But verses like the one above make me wonder.

Jesus was a man’s man. He worked with His hands and wasn’t afraid to get dirty. Yet, even as a man, He publicly cried. If even God allowed emotion in His own life, then what am I doing avoiding it all costs?

In controlled doses, emotions can actually be very beneficial and healing. But how do we tell between what’s healthy and unhealthy? Well, that leads me to the next step:

2) Limit your emotional intake.

It’s okay to have emotions. But you cannot dwell on a certain emotion, or you risk it taking over your life. There are healthy emotions, which help you grow and heal, and then there are unhealthy emotions which pull you down and hold you back. Like a piece of fruit, emotions can start out great and quickly turn rotten.

Here is a quick checklist to help you decide if your emotion is still in the healthy stage, or if it has progressed to being unhealthy:

A healthy emotion will:

  • Help you grow and change
  • Help you to heal
  • Help you move on

Healthy emotions are ones that do not disrupt your life on a continual basis. They’re temporary. They draw you to God, and not away from Him. People are more receptive to hearing about your emotion because you’re not constantly dwelling on it.

An unhealthy emotion will:

  • Keep you stuck
  • Draw you away from God
  • Keep you self-centered

Unhealthy emotions are hard to get away from. They keep you in the same mood for a prolonged amount of time, with little to no change. People around you may want to avoid you because the only thing you can focus on is that emotion.

3) Find someone you can trust.

Sometimes venting can be the first step towards healing, because we’re accepting the emotion and trying to make sense of it. It is so, so important to both allow the emotion, and then have a friend whom you can talk to about it.

Don’t share your emotions with someone whom you know has not reacted well to them in the past. The verbal telling of your emotion is critical in being able to move past it, and you need someone who is going to take the information you give them and hug you. Not someone who is going to look down on you, help you wallow in the same emotion forever, or gossip about you.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a stereotype about Christians and emotions. Do you know which one I’m talking about? There’s a deep sense of guilt when Christians struggle with depression or exhaustion or anxiety, because “everything works toward the good of those who love him.” That’s true, but if we’re not careful, we can use it in a judgmental sort of way.

It is possible to be a Christian and be depressed. Don’t add guilt to your already weighty emotion of depression. If you’re clinically depressed, you have absolutely no way of controlling that emotion. Just as a diabetic needs insulin, so you might just need an antidepressant.

You don’t have to be guilty of any emotion. By allowing it, you’re allowing yourself to move on and heal. It’s dangerous to dwell on it, but it’s even more dangerous to keep it inside; if you do, you’ll never find the healing you need and risk being cut through from within.

Emotions can either help you on your journey to healing, or they can hinder. Work with your emotions rather than against them. Like the sensors in your hand that tell you when something is hot, so, too, are emotions. They warn you about something in your life you should be paying attention to.

Emotions can be like plants. I once thought the idea was to obliterate them and keep them from growing. I have since learned the idea is to let them grow while keeping them contained so they can blossom into something entirely new and beautiful. If we can learn to do that, anger can become forgiveness; sorrow, joy; and despair, hope.

Weep. Gnash your teeth. Throw your hands into the air. Feel your emotion. Only then can you experience what it feels like to be free.

 

 

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