earlier this year, my discipler, sharon, sat us down and asked us how we wanted to grow in 2006. i wrote that i wanted to be challenged to do more things.
at the time, my idea of “challenged to do more things” was along the lines of getting involved in more church activities or playing a bigger part in cf. i joined the ushering team, sent people to and from church, and did “more things“. pretty good, no?
then, at cf, the theme for this year was “repent, revive and restore“. the original idea was for a revival at cf, for rekindling of the spirit to serve God even in university and not shove Him into the category of “weekend activities“. for that to happen, we felt we had to repent and be humble before God. my idea of repenting at the time was acknowledging the things i was doing wrong and feeling genuinely sorry for them before asking God for forgiveness. sounds good, no?
but that wasn’t what God had in mind.
as it turns out, i was challenged to not just love people i found “difficult” or make myself more available to doing things that would require some kind of sacrifice…i was challenged to do whatever i could in the best of my limited abilities and then recognise exactly how limited they are, how there are things that can only be done by the grace of God, how foolish it would be to think otherwise.
what i had to repent was not for things like choosing a friend’s bday party over saturday night service, lying to my parents about where i was going, or gossiping. i had to repent for being so proud that i thought i didn’t need God and need not pay Him anything but lip service.
two posts ago, i included a quote that said: “we need to come before God with alot more respect and, yes, some fear and trembling. we miss so much of what He wants to teach us because we approach Him as if we were just buddies.“
of the four quotes on that post, that one caught me in my tracks. i have been far too casual about my relationship with God, thinking that it was built by how much stuff i’m doing, how loud i sing during praise&worship, how well i ushered people through the church doors. even if i were involved in every single christmas activity my church has organised, it would mean nothing to God because my heart was in the wrong place; it was up on the pedestal that should be reserved for Him only.
i was losing out on the valuable lessons to be learnt because i had such narrow vision that i couldn’t see how small i am and how big God is.
this morning, the domestic help (whom i am very grateful for), sheepishly came up to me and confessed that she ruined a top i just bought on sunday and had only worn once. i was understandably upset, so much so that i refused to listen to her profuse apologies and ate my breakfast in silence.
while she stepped cautiously around my fuming self as she went about doing her chores, i found myself praying, “Lord, please give me the grace to forgive her. i am unable to do so by myself, but with Your grace, Lord, i will forgive her.“
i can have a horrible temper if i want to (my friends and ex-roomies can testify to that) and i was certainly upset enough to blow up at her. however, somehow i managed to explain to her in a calm voice that i forgive her because i know she didn’t mean to do it and she’s sorry for it. i didn’t hide the fact that i was unhappy, but i let her know that i hold no grudge against her.
as i was driving, i thought back at the situation and realised exactly how unlike “me” that was. i would have normally been unreasonably worked up and move on to whinebitchmoan to any living thing in sight but, really by God’s grace (there’s no other reason for it), i handled it all without bursting a vein.
it’s the end of the year now, and we had the annual “reflection and thanksgiving” edition of cf today. we were each handed a card with three questions on it. one of the questions was: “how have you changed this semester?”
the lesson might have come a little late but i knew exactly what to share.