June 5, 2010

how to save a life

"GOD grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference." reinhold niebuhr

i've believed in GOD for as long as i can remember. my faith has always managed to grow, despite major tests and plateaus that have gotten in its path. i have always had a strong sense of conviction and purpose for my life. and it's because of this that i have forever had the innate need and love to help other people. to be a source of strength. to be a firm hand with a gentle touch. to be a guiding light that helps direct paths. to be an example and mentor while at the same time a sister and a friend.

in 22 years of living, i have seen my life touch other people. i've seen dark lives go from little purpose and meaning to a glorious light of mission. i've seen people who i thought might not be willing to change suddenly open themselves up to GOD and become new creations. and i have found that the one thing in this world that brings me the most joy is using my life to bring others to HIM.

but i have been humbled. in the past i thought that i was responsible for these changes. i thought i deserved credit for new souls and that they made me a spiritual person. i thought somehow i was good enough and godly enough that i was the source of the difference.

but through hard lessons of "failure" at changing lives, i learned it's not about me. and it never was. it's about GOD'S timing and a heart being willing to change. i learned that if a person doesn't truly want to change for himself or herself, he or she never will. and i learned that the only way to truly fail is to never try.

i learned that there is a time to share GOD'S truth with a person. a time to share life together. a time to expose your light. a time to reflect the very nature of GOD. a time to try to save a life.

then there is a time of reflection. a time to examine the progress. a time to determine whether you are bringing someone up or he or she is bringing you down. a time to consider if change is really taking place or if a careful facade has been created to fool you. a time to see someone for who he or she really is. and a time to decide if you can be more useful somewhere else.

and if the change isn't real and you're facing a facade, there is a time to surrender. a time to raise the white flag. a time to let go and let GOD. a time to throw your hands up in the air. a time to shake the dust of your feet. a time to punch your pillow. a time to let out a huge sigh of frustration. a time to let tears of sorrow flow. a time to let go. a time to truly move on. a time to say goodbye.

there's a time to realize that no one can heal but the GREAT PHYSICIAN. no one can save lives without HIS touch. we are merely HIS instruments. we may be able to hear a heart cry like a stethoscope. to ease pain like a medicine. to allow someone to lean on us like a crutch. but we are not the DOCTOR.

i realized that part of my value was being determined by whether i was successful at changing the life of another person. that my effort was becoming like a science project that was pass or fail, and if i failed, it would be my loss. but once again i realized that it's not about me and never was. i am merely GOD'S scalpel. that at the same time HE'S using me to refine someone else, HE'S using someone else to refine me.

i think mother teresa said it best when she said, "the success of love is in the loving - it is not in the result of loving. of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done."

the beautiful thing is that though my best efforts might have "failed," GOD'S not done working yet. and HE'S not done working on me yet. if anything, i have learned that all i can do is share my heart and my life with other people and hope that my light passes on. but the value is not in the result. it's not a win/lose or a pass/fail. it's a process. and it's not about me. and who knows what that little bit of light shared will become after years of growing. and who knows if that tiny ray broke the bed of darkness.

"if anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town." matthew 10:14

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