A Life that was Changed

As I’ve been at home sick the last couple of days, it is  appropriate for me to write about what I think it means to live my life for others and to live for a greater cause, while appreciating sacrifices others have made for me. If there is one thing I’ve learned while being newly married, it’s that I no longer do nor want to do things just for myself anymore. Pre-marriage I was doing things like working for myself, laundry for myself, meal prepping for myself, planning the day for myself, etc. But now I’m learning to put myself aside and put anything that has to do with his well-being as a priority.

And while I’ve been sick,  my husband has made his own sacrifices (like getting out of bed to drive me to Target at 10:30 at night to get pill-form medicine since I’m too picky to swallow the liquid stuff).

And lately I’ve been starting to see the shift in my own self-centeredness to being more, well, self-less.

I think a common misconception about selflessness is that selfless people are passive and weak, while other people feel they need to be self-centered and selfish, making ‘ME’ a priority in order to look strong and independent

I can recall few advertisements where helping others before helping yourself was the main theme, while I can clearly recall commercials, billboards, television shows, and magazines where self-centeredness is dominant.

Okay,okay the point of this blog is not for social commentary, so I’ll end that here. The real point I want to get at is the change I noticed in myself.

Another thing I want to note is that to me, putting his needs as my priority doesn’t make me “lose” myself or my own needs. His happiness is my happiness.  Others’ happiness is my happiness.

A few months ago, I was asked to take over a class at my church on the mornings before church service and, naturally, I was eager to say ‘no’.

Oh no, I thought. I’m afraid to commit, and I don’t know how to teach!

Fear already started to plant itself in my mind, but I’m learning not to make quick decisions if I don’t have to, and am learning to really think, pray, and meditate on any decisions that I need to make.

So I prayed about making the right decision every day after I was asked, and kept reciting in my prayers:

Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.

That’s pretty scary-committing to something you don’t want to do for the sake of helping others… That idea is kind of foreign to me. I’ve grown accustomed to just doing what’s comfortable for me, myself, and I.

I’m trying not to think that way anymore. Any skill or talent I have, I want to use it to bring other people to truth, not to glorify myself

 

Whoa, that’s crazy! I never thought those words would come out of my hand. In the past, all I ever wanted to do with YouTube, music, or writing was to make ME the center, to make myself the highlight of any project.

What a difference, now. Now I want to be a blessing to others, to help other people, even in the smallest of ways.

During the week I was praying about the decision to teach the class, I got an urge to listen to old worship songs my mom would play for me and my sister as kids. As the songs started playing, memories flooded my mind. But when one particular song came on, the beauty of the lyrics touched me so deep, I started crying. Right then I knew what my decision needed to be.

The song was about all the people who were touched by the sacrifices one person made, touched so much that their entire lives were changed.

My sister and I performed that same song at our old church a long,long time ago, but I never truly appreciated the words until now. It’s amazing how God works.

And then later in my studies I read:

The plant does not germinate, grow, or bring forth fruit for itself, but to ‘give seed to the sower and bread to the eater.’  So no man is to live unto himself. The Christian is in the world as a representative of Christ, for the salvation of other souls.

There can be no growth or fruitfulness in a life that is centered in self.

What a change I need to make. Thinking of only myself can no longer be a thing anymore. I meant to publish this post weeks ago, but timing is everything. Being sick at home allowed me to see selflessness in others, and allowed me to listen to programs during the day that just happened to be talking about how important it is for representatives of Christ to use their talents and share their knowledge of truth with others.

I have been teaching the class alone for the last two weeks and it has reassured me that I’ve made the right choice.

We have been blessed to be a blessing, and I pray that God can use me to reach these young people, especially since high school is or soon will be a reality for them and they are going to make choices that will shape who they will become.

 

Em

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It’s Too Late to Apologize

Well, as I’m thinking about writing this post I’m almost sure a ton of emotions will instantly flood my mind and body. Even though I’m afraid of revisiting those times and emotions, I think it’s good to release some of those feelings and figure out ways to gain control of them, and better yet, to fix the problem.

So what sparked this blog post was something I read the other night:

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” And that passage lead me to read this:

“Healing includes the healing of relationships , which is why we are exhorted: ‘confess your sins to one another,’ meaning those we have wronged. That is, if you have wronged or offended others, confess to them.”

Hmmm…the healing of relationships…

Hmmm…confess your sins to one another…

After reading that, I naturally thought and asked the question to my husband, “ Is there anyone you have wronged?”

While he thought about it, I thought about the people I have wronged and the relationships I hurt. I hurt them so much, that I begged and begged for their forgiveness, and even after they forgave me, it took me years to forgive myself.

It’s not a pleasant feeling, thinking about the pain I caused. The heart-wrenching betrayal and hurt I caused by selfish decisions made. I’d like to blame it entirely on maturity, but I think my actions in the past resulted in the absence of God.

There is a parable in the Bible where Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother who had sinned against him, and Jesus responds with what basically means, there is no set amount of times, you keep forgiving.

Whaaattt?? You’re saying I have to KEEP FORGIVING?? UGHHHH.

What gets me the most about this parable is that we must forgive a person who has wronged us in order to be truly changed at heart: it is commanded.

Love one another.

A few months ago, I think I was reading the same passage about forgiveness (James 5) and I instantly thought about a person I never, ever thought I could forgive. And even though years had passed since the wrong-doing (yes, I wronged her, too), I would continue to say such vile things about this person.

And then I thought, hmm, should I really go and find this person and make things right? I had already tried it once before, and the relationship ended up turning sour again, but is that enough reason not to try again, this time more sincere?

And THEN, a good friend whom I would always talk trash to about this girl said she had been seeing the girl around town a lot lately.

Coincidence?? I think not…

And THEN my husband saw her at a local grocery store within the same week my friend saw her…

Coincidence?? I think not…

So I asked my bff, hey, should we like, make things straight with this girl?

And to my surprise, she actually considered it, too.

But then I forgot about it, and forgot about fixing things with the girl.

Until now.

Can I forgive her? Should I forgive her? Should I ask her to forgive me? The answers to those questions should be a resounding ‘yes,’ but holy guacamole, how do I even BEGIN to do that, especially since I don’t trust her anymore?

“Fervent prayer avails much…”

So pray I shall.

And if you’re reading this right now, can you think of someone you have wronged?

Be honest, of course you can 😉

So why not think about mending bridges, or at least saying your sorry? It doesn’t mean you have to rebuild that relationship, but at least you know you made your peace.

Until next time,

Em

p.s ( can you even p.s. yourself? and in a blog post to boot? lol)

In previous blogs I managed to be a little ambiguous about the mentioning of God, purely because I only have a few blogs up and I didn’t want readers to instantly turn their eyes away  at the mere mentioning of a deity.

But, it is what it is, and I’ll gladly go with it.

And, dear reader, I hope that you keep reading. Atheist, agnostic, or whatever you may be, I think we can all learn from each other.