I am at the end of myself.... again. I have been involved in some pretty big interactions lately where things didn't go the way I would have wanted them to go. People I am trying to love don't seem to see eye to eye with other people I am trying to love. I feel a little sorry for myself, sorry about myself... and tired. There seems to be a lot of loose ends, many that I have created, many that I haven't, and some that I can't even imagine what resolution looks like. I say that on this format mainly to try to figure out what's going on inside of me and to solicit any of those reading to pray for me.
I am asking the Lord to rescue me from many things. I need Him to rescue me from the place of shame and insecurity that I tend to stumble into. Also, I want Him to rescue me from the place of me playing the martyr... where i seek affirmation and people on 'my side' to the point of me not being honest about my addiction to and contribution towards the chaos around me and in me. I need to be rescued from my 'fix it yourself' mentality and my 'shut down and act paralyzed' mentality all at the same time!
Pray for me that I would find my affirmation in God, that I would trust Him, and that I would find true direction, take healthy responsibility, and live out of real repentance right now!
Now for an anecdotal story... I offer a situation I faced last week that seems to define how things are going.
I returned home the other day to see a lady resting on our porch and talking with my wife, Delta. We have had many interactions with her over the last 4 years. She is mentally ill and is the butt of many jokes as well as mistreatment in our neighborhood. She is highly emotional and suffers from many severe mood swings, often in the middle of the same conversation. We have never had any disagreements with her. We thought we had always treated her kind and with dignity.
The conversation started nice enough. We caught up a bit, Delta responded to her requests for food and some finger nail polish (don't ask, I couldn't do the scene justice!) then she looked at me and yelled, "Give me some money for a whopper!" It was kind of funny. I told her she was welcome to eat with us but that I didn't have any money on me for a whopper. She then said, "You never give out money!" That is actually kind of true. That's a long conversation on what actually helps and what doesn't. She then said, "You are supposed to give from the heart!" What a loaded accusation.... And according to who said it, what they meant, who received it, and what one might be thinking it is challenging! It's like throwing out a political talking point, or a racially charged statement that lands hard.
What can you do with a tough accusation like this? "You never give out money... And you are supposed to give from the heart?" It is connecting two truths... Yet can be true or not according to the day, the person, the motive, the situation, etc. It is complicated! As she made the accusation, I began to justify myself in my head, recounting all the things we had done for her, especially when all of her own family had not done so. I then thought about the people that I refuse money to EVERY day that ask for it up and down our community streets.
She then dropped her second bomb: " What you think I am going to do, smoke it up or drink it up?" That's exactly what I thought, honestly. There was good reason to think it. I had seen her at the crack houses on many occasions. It all comes flooding in... stereotypes, real life history, odds, prejudices, pride, confusion, frustration, inability to know what's right in the moment, more pride, selfishness, inconvenience, did I mention pride?
She then began to spew out rants as she made her way up the block. "y'all just think you can move into our neighborhood and post up on our block! Y'all wouldn't stand for us to come live in your neighborhoods! You are either a drug dealer or the police! We don't want y'all here. White people! Who you think you are?!?!"
In hindsight... it hit me.
I hate being accused of anything. I hate not knowing what to do. I hate defaulting into not doing anything while justifications flood my mind. I hate the feelings of frustration and insecurity. In those moments I really want to be sure, and to be affirmed. I often forget that God did not call me to Himself and here to feed off the reactions and opinions of others whether positive or negative. Events like this and the ones I have been going through lately really flush out my motives.
Frustration, for me, comes when things don't get fixed... when I don't get fixed. I have had to trust the Lord in the middle if my neighbors rants, in the middle of conflict among my brothers and sisters, and in the middle of my failures and tensions.
God must really love me to use these things to bring me back to this point: What does He really think about me, and why am I doing what I do?"
Am I his son, and am I doing this for the glory of God and for the love of people, or do I have other motives? I smiled yesterday and the weight lifted as I was enabled to remember the truth.
God is good!
(here is his blog address : http://web.me.com/cgmal/Site/Bryans_Blog/Bryans_Blog.html)