Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, "Make me feel important."

(Mary Kay Ash)

While I sit here, feeling sorry for myself, there is a ceramic box on my desk. The top has a poppy with a bee drinking its pollen. Inside the box it says "Today is your day to bloom!"

Sounds like something you'd give to someone to encourage them, right? Confession: I bought it for myself, to encourage me.

There's a book, it's called The Five Love Languages. And in it, it talks about what different ways we receive and give love. Well, gifts are one of my love languages. A card in the mail? A flower? A book I already own (my copy, actually) wrapped and put in a gift bag? I love these things.

My sister's love language (from what I can tell) is time. And when we spend time on the phone, or dinner when she's home, it's great. Another one of her love languages is encouragement.

And all this information is good--but if you don't use it for anything but to say, "My family doesn't understand me, my mother didn't buy me the right wireless mouse" it becomes this grouchy selfish cry at my own tea party. I can't change my mom. I wouldn't want anyone but her. But I can't get everything I need from her. Or from my sister. Or my dad. I need other people in my life.

Now turn that around. Switch it up...and it becomes, other people need me in their lives. Switch it to this: I like encouragement, but I love encouraging others. I like getting gifts but I also love giving things to other people.

This morning I decided not to go to church, because even though I know that you can't get my shingles unless you lick me, shingles is a big word and I'm new at my church and I don't want to have to explain all that. It might have been a mistake...because now I'm feeling incredibly isolated, which is what I've been a lot of this week since I was diagnosed on Monday.

Yesterday I ate breakfast in my special chair. It's a black faux leather chair that I rescued from the curb in Greenfield a few years ago. It faces my bookcases. And on the top shelf of one of the bookcases, I have three devotional books: My Utmost for His Highest, God Calling, and Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much. (Is there one for Women who watch too much Ugly Betty?)

Yesterday, and again today, I read from My Utmost. Yesterday's devo was about how Jesus' first obedience was to the Father, not the needs of man. That if we only worry about humanity, we will get exhausted. "If I am devoted to the cause of humanity only, I will soon get exhausted and come to the place where my love will falter; but if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity though men treat me as a door-mat." (Chambers, 171)

Today's message was stronger. Or maybe just hit me that way. The scripture is "And the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends." (Job 42:10) The rest of the verse is that then God restored and doubled what Job lost.

But you know what, I just want restoration! I want my captivity turned! But more than that, I want to love my friends. I want to stop this me me me sickness. And so this morning, for the first time in way too long, I prayed for my friends. I've been spending so much time saying, there's not enough for me, I need, I need, I am broken, fix ME.

I'm a work in progress. So is this thought. What do you think? I really want to know. I do.


Sarah Louise said...

My Utmost...Oswald Chambers

Helen said...

I have a lot to say on that topic, but don't think I could do it in this little box! I think of Mother Teresa who served mankind with all her being, EXCEPT when the bell rang for mass. Everything was dropped for prayer time. Do you have a spiritual director SL? I have been seeing one (a Franciscan friar) for about a year. I think sometimes we need for someone to help us find the themes in our lives and where God is calling us. I feel like your theme is just barely hidden and just needs to be teased out. You are something special, you know...