What God has been teaching me so far- 13/06/2014
This is a short blog, I promise!
So the other night as I was trying to sleep, God decided it was time to have a chat. Obviously I informed Him that now was not a good time and could we please have this chat in the morning. He rightly told me that I would not have time in the morning and that now was the most available time and the time that He wanted to chat. God has a habit with timing and it being for me, the wrong time! So what was so urgent that it could not wait until the morning? Well God wanted to run through some lessons that He has taught me since I have been in Colombia (5 months tomorrow). So I thought I'd share them with all of you seeing as God shared them with me.
Lesson 1- It's not for me, it's for those who receive; you don't have to enjoy it to do it.
As I've started work and started getting into a routine, I've been doing a lot of serving (making coffee, helping to cook lunch, admin stuff and teaching English). All these things don't come that naturally to me especially teaching English, which I'm still undecided as to how much I enjoy doing it. I often think that I should be enjoying what I'm doing, as an incentive to continue doing it, I mean that's why we do our jobs right? Well, wrong on some part. God reminded me of Jesus and of all the stuff that happened to him, and which he endured for US, yes US so that we would have the free gift of eternal life, if we accept him into our lives and accept that he died for us. Jesus did so much for the people, healed them, gave them hope, listened to them, taught them…the list continues and how did they treat him? Well, they ran him out of his home town, they accused him of blasphemy, they threatened him, they beat him, kicked him, whipped him, denied him, betrayed him and finally crucified him. Before the crucifixion, Jesus still endured some of the stuff before, but that didn't stop him. Did he enjoy being threatened, accused, etc? I doubt it, yet he continued to serve the people, he continued to heal them, teach them and love them. He didn't stop just because he wasn't enjoying it. So, as God reminded me of this, I realised that I wasn't sent here to enjoy every moment, may not even enjoy all that much of what I'm doing, but I was sent here to serve; to serve my God, to serve His people, and to serve those that want to receive what I can give them. So what can I give these people who are receiving, well coffee, lunch, help in the office and a new language. When I remember that it's not about me, but about those who receive; that brings me joy, and an element of enjoyment. What is the reward? There may not be one, but for me to see someone understand something new, to see someone understand that little bit more about the English language and realise that they do understand and that they have the potential to learn; well that's the reward, that's the enjoyment. So just remember, the next time you're doing something you don't enjoy, think if there is anyone who might enjoy receiving what you're doing.
Lesson 2- To be, not to always do.
So those of you, who know me well, know that my life in England was mental and hectic. I was always doing something, never resting or very rarely and even when I was 'resting' I could be found to be doing something! I didn't know how to just 'be', how to just stop and relax, unless I was literally exhausted that I didn't have a choice. Anyway here in Colombia, I don't have that much to do and at first this was hard because I was bored and I was thinking about how I could occupy my time more. But God has spoken to other people to and said not to push Him, just to let it be. So, whilst I was trying to sleep, with God having other ideas, He said that He wants me to just 'be'. Not to worry that I'm not doing lots of stuff, but to take this time to learn how to stop, relax and enjoy the time. He didn't say that He wants me to spend all this free time with Him, but to just enjoy it. If that means watching the television, so be it, if it means reading, so be it, if it means praying, that's simply grand. I was reading in Luke and was reminded that even Jesus stopped 'doing' things to go and spend time with his Father in Heaven or just have some time out. Luke 5:15-16 says "Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sickness. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed". This doesn't mean that Jesus didn't care, but he knew the importance to spending time with God and having time to himself. If the Son of God can have time out, I think we can to! I think sometimes, as Christians, we get into our head that we need to 'do, do, do', but actually God says that He wants us, He wants a relationship with us, which means that we need to 'be, be, be' with Him. Of course we need to do the 'do' stuff to, but we also need to recognise the importance of just 'being'. So have I figured this out? No, not yet, but I am in the process of learning how to 'be' and very much enjoying it.
Lesson 3- Patience, Grace and Mercy.
So these three came together and I'm still figuring this out a bit, but I'll write about it anyway, as it's a good process to continue with the learning. I'm not the most patient of people and like things to be done promptly, and I like people to understand exactly what I mean right away, before I've even explained it. Yes I make a very good teacher! I like my space, my independence and my time, which in Colombia is very difficult to have, so I have to learn how to deal with this. I feel that these three come together because with patience comes grace, and with grace comes mercy (please correct me if you think differently, I'm more tolerant these days J). Anyway, I'm learning to be forgiving when I don't have my space, I'm learning to be gracious when things don't turn out quite how I would like or how I expected and I'm learning to have mercy towards the people who cause my patience to be tested. I believe though that this is an ongoing process and a lesson that I will continually need reminding of. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 it gives a description of love and the first thing that it says is "Love is patient". So there you go; it's pretty clear what I need to do to show the love that I actually do have in my heart for the people that test my patience. I'm very much learning to breathe deeply and ask God for the help and strength to smile and be accepting.
So there you go; a little update of my time with God. I'm under no illusion that I will learn more lessons, be reminded of these ones on a regular basis and have chats with God whilst I'm trying to sleep again. Even though I've struggled being here and continue to do so, I doubt I would have learnt these lessons so quickly had I stayed in England. This makes those hard times seem worth it, and the good times even better.
Be interested to hear your thoughts,
Lots of love,