I am becoming more and more of a recluse it seems.
I am content to be alone.
I am content to not get calls, text messages, hear my doorbell ringing.
I am fine with no letters or cards on my birthday or the holidays.
I don’t need to attend or be invited to gatherings.
But, sometimes you must go. You must attend. You are expected to show up at some very important events or intimate or personal gatherings.
Sometimes, it can not be about you.
Sometimes it is perfectly human and the right thing to do, to accept an invitation. Sometimes, you don’t get to be the jerk, that deep down, you feel you are…at times.
I knew our Christmas gathering at one of our children’s homes, was going to be just like that. One of those times. Not that I didn’t want to be there, but more how I was not looking forward to how it made me feel inside. I am better with one on one or a small gathering.
I decided, this year, NO MORE of having these weird, antagonistic feelings towards others in a room. It must be different. I was sick of making this all about ME!
At this gathering, I wanted to carry a spirit of joyfulness, thankfulness and generosity, and encouragement. I wanted to show love.
I didn’t want to be self-conscious about how I looked, or worry about what I would say. I wanted to listen more and talk less but not feel bitterness about restraining myself.
I had spent time in the book of James for a long time now and have been learning many things about how a Christ-follower should act. Yet, I have known these things and what I am supposed to be and do and act like for a long time. It made no difference.
I would still feel the same around groups gathered. Sometimes, even with one person, I felt insecurity creep in on me and I would put up my defenses.
The way I have been living is a sick and sad way to live. It has been a curse on my life for a long time and although Jesus is in my life, I don’t know how to shake off this selfishness still in my heart.
I had to go to the source of LOVE for HELP!
Today, I told myself, only Jesus can help me. I would make a point to pray. All morning as I was getting ready, choosing my outfit, doing my makeup, and even curling my hair, I was praying. “God, please help me to love my family.”
I recalled all the Bible verses about taming the tongue. “Please dear Jesus help me to listen more today and speak less.”
I at first thought, let’s be late, then I won’t have to spend as much time at the gathering. Then I prayed, ” Dear God, (and got down on my knees…locking the door so my husband would not find me this way) please help me in these things. I don’t want to be jealous or mean or bitter. Please take away any wicked thoughts in my mind. Help me to love. Help me, Jesus. Please help me to love everyone at this gathering.”
“Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. (James 1:19)
We went to the gathering, and although the last to arrive, we were not that late (we had to stop and get the big order of fried chicken we ordered from the grocery store nearby). I was happy to be there and see all the grandchildren and their parents who we didn’t have to wait for.
It was so nice I didn’t have to spend the day before or morning preparing the house for guests and gathering all the plates, utensils, glasses, and serving dishes needed for the meal. I was rested.
I made my rounds and said hello to everyone in the room and gave out hugs as I typically do. I knew what to say to each one. Words to lift others up or show interest in their lives came easily.
I had personal interaction and dialog that seemed to come easily with each family member. I spent most of my time with the children but was not annoyed by the adult conversations as I usually seem to get. I took no time to be critical (even if I thought it in my head, silently) of words, actions, or what someone was wearing even or how they looked.
Seriously, an analytical mind can take a person anywhere and I won’t bore you with the details. When you have that mixed with some emotional things and the spiritual conflict with the enemy, I am sure the devil and his demons have a lot of fun with me. I fall many times into their trap.
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
It seems that no matter how much I read my Bible (although it is the sword of the spirit), nothing seems to help me more than prayer when it comes to the most difficult situations I have. If I didn’t have a personal relationship with the Saviour my prayers may not be as effective. It is when my heart is the most contrite (sincere, humble, yearning), that God comes through for me.
The answer may not always be what I want when I recollect other times I prayed with such earnestness. One thing is always the same though. I have peace that transcends all human understanding and also, there is a breakthrough and the enemy leaves me alone for a period of time.
We will always go through trials especially if we are Christians drawing near to our Lord. These trials help us grow and mature in our walk with Jesus until the day he takes us home to be with him.
“Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4