Monday, October 21, 2013

How To Get Dressed

The morning air hung cold, as I hurried down the narrow sidewalk. Trees line up like wooden soldiers, wrapped in late autumn rays of sun. Every beautiful leaf seems to cling to the life-giving vine, with deep hues of garnet, flaxen golds and silk-spun colors. I was under-dressed for the changing weather. A warm jacket and some gloves would have been a good idea, but I didn't plan that far ahead before running out the door.

The day was already passing me by.

Getting up in the black of dawn, had not helped these feeling of being behind.

Walking up to the desk, the woman said warmly,

"Hi! Do you know it's Tuesday?"

I smiled and nodded.

She pressed on, "You are suppose to come on Wednesday."

"Wow," accompanied with a blank stare, is the only reply I could muster.

To get here on time, I had ran out of the house in the middle of a project, leaving one-hundred regular tasks of undone dishes, cluttered rooms, laundry and deadlines. Driving to town, I had driven more aggressive than I should, sped through two yellow lights, became annoyed with drivers, all to arrive, where I wasn't. even. suppose. to. be.

Yes. Wow.

Driving slowly away, I wondered if it was my mind I was loosing or if I am just too busy. Some of it is lack of administration on my part. There is a piece of me that should just say no sometimes. So this week I've been processing the things I put my hand to, what I want to really accomplish and how to live out these days I have left.

This is all I know.

On this day, I had come to town to spend time with a child that I only know by her first name. I have no idea if the time we spend together will make any real difference in her world. I had requested Tuesday's, but was assigned Wednesday and I need a better system to manage the hours in my days.

As messy as I am, I just want to love on people.

I want to reflect Light in a dark world.

Colossians 3:12 shed some insight on how I can live this out.

"....chosen by God for this new life of love,
dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline."

How do you live this in the real , everyday, crazy-of-life?

I heard Andy Stanley explain some of the words like this:

Compassion: To feel what other people are feeling.

Kindness: To loan your strength to someone. To extend to people what they need.

Humility: Seeing everyone equally. Not better. Not less.

Gentleness: To respond to a person on their level of strength.

Discipline: Restraint.

For some of the years, I have known Jesus, all I saw were religious people, making rules, trying to keep rules and tearing down people who didn't.

Church people, sitting in church, talking about churchy things, but in the Monday through Saturday life, not living much different than anyone else.

I just could not get it figured out.

But the thing I'm learning is that Jesus only asked me to follow Him, not other people.

Love, is to distinguish me from all of the rest of the world, as unnatural and hard as that may be.

What comes natural is to be harsh, unfeeling, selfish, prideful, lazy and unloving.

These things no one had to teach me. They are like breathing.

When someone cuts me off in traffic, pushes in front of me in line, lies about me, leaves me out, hurts my family  -the easiest thing in the world is to react in an unloving way.

But when I pause and let my behavior be marked by the One I love, my life somehow reflects His love.

It is like someone turns on floodlights in a dark room.

This is not a denial of the problem, a running from reality or being a whimp. In fact it takes great restraint, courage and strength to love those who are unloving toward you.

It's all up-side-down and in-side-out.

Extending unmerited kindness in real life situations. That's mercy.
Dealing with people different than they might deserve. That's grace.

In his book, "The Mercy Prayer," Robert Gelinas says, "Mercy precedes grace."

That is what Jesus came to do for us.

Unmerited kindness to people who didn't deserve it.

These are not just a list of fluffy words.
They are not just nouns and verbs and adjectives.
They weave together with the overreaching concept of love to help us live a different way.

When it happens, let me assure you, that it's not because I'm such a nice person and I have it all figured out.

It's because Jesus is living in me and through me.

I'm always asking for more wisdom so I can see past the actions and faces to the hearts of people in my path.

Oh, that the stamp of my behavior, should not be rushing through life, but rushing to people.

That I'm not overloaded, but overflowing with the good things He gives me to do for His glory.

This probably means, I will continue to look a little crazy. It will probably mean I will continue to get up early, stay up late, and multitask often.

But may I wear these glorious tokens of grace: Love, compassion, humility, kindness, quiet strength and restraint.

For these things will never go out of style.

Counting blessings here:

#1242, #1243, #1244 
My daughters. Each a sweet unique gift.

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