We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14
Last Thursdays post was all about my 2016 word; Imperfection. I was pretty confident with the direction he was sending me with my word and I was all about recognizing my imperfections and inviting him to let me see him work through them. All of my thought was centered on my own imperfections which didn’t puzzle me because after all, it was my word. But then…he changed the plan and added a whole new dimension to my word.
The seed was planted as I was looking at the Nativity set. I realized my set is not perfect, it’s not fancy or beautiful, it’s a little on the plain side but I like it and then I thought about the fact that the whole circumstance of Jesus’ birth was far from perfect. It wasn’t at all what the world expected. It wasn’t at all what I thought God would have arranged for his Son the Prince of Peace but if I accept Jesus into my heart that means I accept all the imperfections that came with his arrival. The lackluster accommodations, the lack of celebration befitting the King of the Universe, the lack of comforts deserved by a Mother during the most uncomfortable event of childbirth…none of it was perfect. However, to accept HIM means to accept the story and its worldly imperfections.
Through his imperfect beginning, perfection was achieved. I got the overwhelming sense that my word was a big ‘ole throw down challenge from my Father to accept the imperfection of others and love them because of them. I sat staring at that manger scene for quite a long time thinking about all the times I had allowed the imperfections of others to frustrate, irritate or inconvenience me. I suppose the biggest thump to the forehead was when he allowed me to realize how many times I’d been bugged by someone else’s imperfection only to discover I have the same one. Boy oh boy is this ever a power-packed word! Maybe he’s calling me to invite him into my responses.
What would it hurt to repeat something even if I think the person I was speaking with should have had perfect hearing the first time I said it? What would it hurt to re-assure a worried soul even though I think they should just trust more and stop worrying so much? What would it hurt to let the impatient person take the parking spot I think I deserve? What would it hurt to offer prayers and loving support to the teenager who’s in trouble instead of passing judgement on their ability to make better choices? What would it hurt to smile first, hold open the door or let someone go ahead in line? Is my life so perfectly orchestrated and timed to the second that I don’t have time to help with a task that’s clearly not mine? Is my life so perfectly ordered that I feel like I can run a highlight reel of people’s mistakes in my head? Is it so important to be first, have the best and be honored that I can’t recognize greatness in others? I will need sweetness, understanding, patience and humility to do this well. I suppose a big dose of all those things is a good idea.
I was so sure this was about me and God but it’s clear that he’s asking me to make it about everyone he puts in my path. He’s inviting me to love others and see his work in the middle of their imperfections. He’s asking me to be as gentle and loving and patient with them in their imperfection as he is with me in mine. Thank you Father for the challenge; it’s a toughie but I asked for a word that could change my life and if I get this right, that’s exactly what will happen!
A Seed To Plant: As this new year begins to settle in around us, what is God calling you to do that will change your relationship with him…go ahead, ask him!
Blessings on your day!
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