To be simply frank and frankly simple, I do not have better words than Mary DeMuth’s from chapter 3 of The Wall Around Your Heart. Lessons that I believe God has been teaching me for the past 6 months are verbalized throughout this chapter focusing on loving God and loving others. Permit me, then, to share just a few parts of the chapter that hit me hard, with my italicized two cents thrown in.
Mary: Loving others isn’t easy. And at times I don’t love well. I’d rather trumpet everyone else’s failures and barbs and minimize my own. I’d rather God forgive my mountain of sins than choose to forgive the molehill of sins that others have perpetrated against me. I’d rather bask in my self-righteous rightness than consider that I may be the perpetrator in need of others’ grace and forgiveness.
Janice: Ouch. At times I don’t love well. This hits so close to the heart.
Mary: If I’ve learned one thing on this earth, it’s this: people who live in gratitude toward God have the most joyful lives. Dare to be set free today by exercising that kind of praise. The roadblocks to growth and joy come when we forget the bigness of God and instead make people bigger than He is.
Janice: There it is. Gratitude toward God = joyful living. Wow.
Mary: It’s time we let go of people as idols. Not that we live fatalistically about others but that we realistically understand that God designed us to be filled up by Him first. If someone hurts us, we don’t need to be freaked out or surprised. In fact, we should be surprised when people don’t hurt us. This kind of letting go leads to freedom.
Janice: Going to God first for filling is hard to remember sometimes. But it helps me see how often I try to put something else ahead of God, in essence making it an idol.
Mary: We are not leeches meant to suck people dry for our happiness. We are people in need of a Savior. Even though we all try to be like Jesus, we can’t truly be Jesus to others, nor can they be Him to us. Let’s let Jesus be Jesus, place our expectations firmly on Him, and grant others the freedom to be human, to be blessedly themselves, to rid them of our expectations.
Janice: Let Jesus be Jesus. I can’t be Jesus to you and you can’t be Jesus to me. Word.
I can name relationships where I have drained others for my own happiness or what I thought would leave me happy. I am so sorry, dear ones.
Mary: How much do you trust God with your relationships? Do you believe He is good? Do you have faith that He knows what is best, particularly when He moves you into a new circle of friends? Do you cling to some friendships longer than you should because of fear or insecurity? To revere God—to hallow His name—is to trust Him at this foundational level. God is a God of relationship. And He has a sovereign plan even in your friendships.
Janice: How much do you trust God? Do you have faith that He knows what is best? Something to ask in your heart of hearts. Do you?
Look for more thoughts from The Wall Around Your Heart in the near future. The book is available to pre-order now and will be released on October 15, 2013.
I’m linking up with these online friends: