Since my plane landed back in May, since the day that everything started to make sense in a way like never before… nothing has been the same. I don’t see myself the same, I don’t see other people the same, I don’t see the world the same. In conversations with others I have spoken many times about this difference, how it’s almost like there’s just this… weight, this burden that is along for the ride now. It’s not anything bad or anything that I think that needs to completely disappear – I think much more it’s about learning how to most effectively carry it with me as I walk through life.
The gift of perspective has brought along with it many other incredible and beautiful gifts, and one of them has been the ability to have eyes for the hurting and the broken. I’m still learning all that this means, including what it means to use this to my advantage rather than let it rule me and paralyze me. I’m still learning how to move from having eyes for those who are hurting to how I can most effectively be motivated to create action and change. But ever since my journey and years of pain started to make sense in light of the bigger picture of my life and even the grand picture of God’s story, I’ve had this view of life that very few others have. I see the world in ways that most people do not. That is in no way to ever cast a judgement on the way that I choose to walk through life versus how someone else operates – please hear me on that. I would never want to judge whether or not someone’s walk has “enough faith” or “enough works” – that is never, ever my place. All I can worry about is myself and how I answer God’s call to love the world each and every day.
This perspective, this view, this burden… it can get very heavy, especially because so few others operate the same way. I mean, I think we’ve all heard the phrase “hurt people hurt people”. Because of the road that I have walked up until now, I’ve learned just how much this is true and just how much life is messy and not perfect and so often backwards. So many people have shown me grace over the years, though, and so I can’t imagine living my life in any other way.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
This passage from Galatians (Galatians 5:13-14) can help describe why I do all that I can to carry myself in such a way that keeps my eyes open to what is around me. Not only is it just so helpful and healing to take our perspective off of ourselves and then move that energy towards helping someone else, but scripture tells us to do this very thing… and it tells us WHY it’s so important to live this way.
As I mentioned yesterday, it is so hard to love someone else well if we’re uncomfortable with ourselves or if we’re harboring self hatred and self judgement. When we’re able to internalize and live our lives in light of the cross, though, our ability to be a good friend and partner grows exponentially – after all, at that point we have Christ in us in a brand new way. So in keeping in mind the passage from Galatians, I think the same could be said here. When we truly realize the freedom that we have – the freedom that we have had all along through Christ and His death and resurrection – we live our lives each and every day with this new freedom and lightness about it. A deep understanding of this freedom also allows us to see other people the way God sees them… someone who is valuable, someone who is loved. Someone who, particularly if they are acting in a way that it is destructive and hurtful towards others, is really just hurting and lost and in need of a Savior.
A piece of my personality that has become more and more apparent in 2019 is that it really takes a lot to genuinely upset me, to “knock me off my rocker” so to speak. When it does happen, there’s typically an element of injustice involved – that’s often a big trigger for me. But even in the rare cases when this happens, it doesn’t take me long to come back to center, to start seeing people that are just hurting and broken and who need Jesus.
I don’t share all of this as a “look at me and how good I am”. That’s never my intention, and besides – it’s not even true. I see my need for Jesus more and more every moment of every day! Rather, I share things like this to talk more about how God has just brought about so much beauty from the ashes of my life the last seven or so years. And I mean, when your life operates in this way, you stick out from the rest of the world even MORE – subjecting you that much more to isolation and loneliness and even persecution because others are unable to relate.
But as with everything else of the last seven years, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I really wouldn’t. I can’t imagine viewing and carrying myself through life in any other way, and I know that I would not have any of the gifts I’ve been discussing if it were not for the pain and strife that has surrounded me for so long… the heartache, the hopelessness, the seemingly constant state of living on the edge of death for so long.
It’s left me with a lot of scars, yes. Some of the scars I will be dealing with and sorting through for many years to come. But the beauty, the moments of closeness with God, the deep understanding of what it means to be loved and forgiven by a Creator God who died to know you… I wouldn’t give that up for anything.
Be blessed today, my friends.
And may you know just how loved you are… just how loved you have always been.