Anxiety, Bible, Church, Depression, family, Friends, friendship, god, happiness, insecurity, jesus, Life, Love, Uncategorized

Unwanted

Have you ever felt unloved? Unwanted? Part of the out crowd, never to be invited in.

If you have, you’re not alone. I have felt that feeling so many times that I’m still surprised at myself that I’ve allowed myself to feel hurt, disillusioned, and disappointed yet again. I mean…for cryin’ out loud…didn’t I see it coming?

I even get it. I see many of their points of view. Sometimes life is easier not including someone. But…does that make it right?

It’s always most surprising when it’s in the Church, though. Isn’t it? When you’re not invited to the thing; when you’re edged out; when someone has arrived only to leave you behind; when there’s a circle and there is no entry point.

It’s surprising because that’s our safe place. Right? The sanctuary…a place of refuge.

When you think of church, you think of a place you’re eager to get to. One might picture free-falling back into a 3-foot-deep floor made of pillows and all of their stress floating away like a feather on the wind as they finally make it to their refuge.

Unfortunately, in this case, the Church is full of fallible people just like you and just like me; and that often means our sanctuary can – at times – feel like a battleground at worst and a floor of eggshells not to be broken at the least.

People often get caught up in themselves, their own hurts, their own misconceptions, and even their own agendas – no matter how well meaning – even in church.

They often forget that we are commanded to love. We’re even told that all other commandments hinge upon the Greatest Commandment and it’s second…

Yet, how easily we slip into our Church roles and forget the main objective He assigned us.

We rush to our greeter station only to ignore the elderly woman on the back row. We exclude the mediocre but it’s okay because we were sure to praise their strengths before the aforementioned exclusion. We disregard this commandment because clearly that person doesn’t want me to love them as hateful as they behave. And the excuses go on and on.

I’m not saying it’s an easy assignment. We all know people that are hard to love. But…we’re not given allowances for whom or how we are to love.

There’s two things we must remember here:

1. We can’t change others, only how we respond to them. And…though we may be hurt it’s best that we remain humble and keep our eyes on Christ because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. “All” includes you and I both. It’s also a reminder that while someone may seem perfect on Facebook they are just as imperfect as you and I, they are just as sinful. We should show them the grace that our Heavenly Father undeservingly shows us day after day or we are no better than those we cast judgment upon.

2. People, nor the Church, are our refuge. God is.

You see we’ve forgotten that the church isn’t our refuge, He is. We don’t need the group’s acceptance. We need His love, mercy, and grace… which all are accompanied by His acceptance. We don’t need to be a part of the in-crowd here because He desires that we attain being a part of His crowd up there.

God is the ultimate inclusive friend. He doesn’t care who you are, where you come from, what you’ve done. Every time you run to His word, and seek solace within it, He provides. He is the fountain that never runs dry – a fountain of friendship, love, and guidance. He has everything you’re looking for in the people around you… and it’s just waiting for you, He is just waiting for you.

Find your refuge in Christ, today, and become all you’re meant to be when you’ve laid all distractions aside

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Anxiety, Bible, Depression, family, Friends, friendship, Holiday, Love

Are you at the wrong party?

I’m Southern. So, it’s safe to say I know a good bit about playing host. After all, the term “Southern Hospitality” didn’t spring out of nowhere. It’s still alive and well, here, I assure you; and, it’s a serious affair. It can make or break relationships. The lack of it can sever ties and hurt immeasurably, while the honesty and beauty of supplying it can restore hearts. God, Himself, is referred to as the “Lord of hosts,” 261 times just in the Old Testament as a matter of fact. Now, it doesn’t actually mean the Lord of all “persons who receives or entertains other people as guests” here but I’m kind of using a play on words. Regardless, He is supposed to be the model of all that we strive to be. But, we’ll circle back around to that.

Fact: Some people may not want you in their lives. I know. It stinks. It hurts. That’s okay, though. And…you know what? It may very well be you and not them. You may be the reason they don’t want to play host to you. Yes, I said it.

You may be the reason they don’t want to play host to you. Yes, I said it.

You may be too real, too sweet, too honest, not rich enough, not in the “in” crowd. They may see you as not as spiritual as they certainly are. They may not want you close because they see your past. You may not be able to do anything for them. Now, if you’ve gained some perspective from my pointing out the very things that God would actually find pleasing…Because see God appreciates your kindness, your lack of gossip, your honesty, your lack of desire to have money other than to pour it back into the world. He sees to your very heart and doesn’t care if you regularly say the Christian catchphrases that He finds hollow because they’re spoken by a generation who regurgitates what they’ve heard, not the truth that they’ve learned. He sees your past but only pays attention to the new creation you are now.

He sees your past and sees TESTIMONY.

And…God doesn’t need you to do anything for Him or anyone else. He wants to do for you because He loves you, and so that maybe you’ll feel that love so much that you’ll voluntarily want to share Him with others spilling out upon the world like salt and light. So, remember this:

“And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.‭‭” Matthew‬ ‭10:14

This holds true for everyone. Yes, even your family – whether in Christ or by blood. Christ never stuck around where He was not welcome, even His hometown. He moved on to be useful elsewhere. Yes, I know you just want to be accepted there. You want their love. But consider this: you may be the person called to reach out to another that has absolutely no one, let alone even someone to not appreciate them. While you are rejected, you may be the cornerstone to a new construction. While you see yourself as the outcast, God is positioning you to be the den mother or father to a new pack.

Did you ever wonder how wolf packs are started? After all, they can’t just continue as they are – they’d die out. (I know it feels like I’m digressing but run with me here.)

“The social structure of the wolf pack changes from year to year. Wolves in the pack move up and down in the ‘pecking order’ or hierarchy. A wolf lower down in the pecking order may challenge an alpha wolf… If the alpha wolf loses this challenge, it will likely go off on its own… and start a new pack. Wolves very low in the pecking order (that are constantly picked on by the other pack members) may also leave the pack. They become lone wolves until they either form their own pack or on rare occasions join an existing wolf pack.”¹

So… if you feel neglected or cast aside, dust your feet off and recognize that you have a calling now to start your own pack or move on to another. You have a talent or knowledge needed elsewhere. You may become a “lone wolf” for a season as you gather tools from the Father; but, you have a pack – either to start or to compliment.

Now, circling back to God being the Lord of hosts…

The Lord of hosts is a mighty leader. He is just that – the Lord of all hosts. There is no greater example. He leads with grace and mercy. He loves through self-sacrifice and unending love. He intervenes and intercedes. He is available, readily so, to hear His people. At the risk of mixing my analogies, if the “pack” your desperately trying so hard to cling to is not exhibiting the very traits that define the ultimate Lord of hosts, what kind of “hosts” are they? To whom are they catering, and what is the point of their “party?”

Maybe it’s time you focused on God’s plan, the Lord of all hosts’ plan. Maybe it’s time you lead a new pack with grace and mercy, being readily available (and desiring to do so) to intervene and intercede for them. Maybe that love you’re desiring to share with the unwelcoming pack is meant to be given endlessly to those who truly need you and want you in their lives.

Rest your battered heart, and listen to God’s calling…

1. Scholastic