Thursday, August 31, 2006

Affirmer...I wish.

So I was at this thing last night that is part of the training for the Franklin Graham Festival.
I won't be here for the festival, but it's good stuff to listen to.
And we got a bunch of youth to come out as well.
It's good to talk with them a bit about sharing their faith.
And good to recognize how hard it can be sometimes.

One of the pieces the guy was talking about last night was how we can either be affirmers or evaluators.
That's a tricky one for me.
In fact, very contradictory.
I know that I am an affirmer.
In fact, I really think that encouraging others is something I do well.
Something I enjoy,
And maybe something that I would even call a gift.
The awkward part
is that as soon as he said what he did,
I felt very guilty for my evaluating.

Really, truly, I'm an evaluator.
I wish I could turn it off sometimes.
Not all the time,
because I know that evaluating and discerning are both good things.
Valuable and important.
When it comes to ideas and beliefs and understanding what the Truth really is.

However, when it comes to people,
being an affirmer is much more important.
And it's here that I run a little stuck.
I am incredibly judgmental.
And quick to criticize.
And to recognize areas where someone "doesn't measure up",
sometimes before I've really had a chance to get to know them.
And my pride stops me from offering grace when I know that's exactly what I'm being called to do.

I'm pretty sure I know which is the higher calling.
And certain, as well, that I've got a lot of work to get there.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The five people you meet on earth...

The last weeks of my holidays have come and gone, and there is indeed much to say about a trip to Iowa, to Holland, and then to camp. However, what I want to write about is one of the books I read on one of my inbetween days - "The Five People You Meet in Heaven."

Essentially, for those who haven't read it, it is the story of a man who, after he dies, meets five people whom he encountered at some point in his life. They explain different aspects of his life to him and help to make sense of details that put the "big picture" together. Pieces of it caught my attention in different ways, but needless to say, it's a good story.

And it got me to thinking.

Who are the random people that I meet or have met along the way who remember me for reasons or incidents that I have never thought twice about?

Who are the people in my life who have had an impact on who I am, but whom I've never told?

What are the little pieces of the puzzle that I have never fully understood, but just went along in stride, never knowing the "why"?

What are the little pieces of the picture that I didn't even know about, but happened along the way and contributed to who I am?

All very interesting things to think about.
I found out during my week in Holland how much I messed up my parents' plans.
I mean, I know I messed them up along the way.
And I know that plans are just plans and life has a way of never really going according to plan.
But apparently we were going to move to the States before I turned 10 and my dad had all these great plans to go back to university and then I got sick and their went the family finances.
And thus, there went the plans.
To be quite honest,
it kind of shook me up.
And I felt a little sick.
And then I read this book.
And I thought,
indeed, make the most of every opportunity.

Of all of them.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A foothold...

The truth is that it's time for a quick cat nap before leaving for Holland for a week.

The other truth is that I've been confronted by this concept of needing to be able to offer grace.
My own need for grace and the incredible gift of grace that I've been given has recently been played out in front of me quite blatantly.
And a number of times.
There may be a good reason.
It is engaged in a serious battle with my own ability to offer grace.
Somehow there is a big part of me that just can't.
It sounds ridiculous when I go over it in my head.
But part of my heart just isn't there.

I've been promised grace and forgiveness.
However, my need to extend that grace in return is crucial.
And I'm stopped in my tracks.
I can't.
I can pretend.
But my heart isn't there.
And so really,
I'm not sure that's grace at all.
And if I can't offer it,
why should it be offered to me?

I know the right answer to that question.
But that right answer is in my head.
And although that's a start,
it's not where that answer needs to be.

It's not an easy one.
But a tough reality.
And it humbles me
More than I like to be humbled.

It gets to the heart of what grace is really all about.
And it gets to my heart.
And it reminds me how skewed and selfish I am.
And stubborn.

And thus, in need of grace.
I just can't.
Not on my own.

I'm going to need a little help
to not make that foothold so easy.