Sunday, June 15, 2008

In the wake of a letdown...

This has been an incredible season- of pruning and its sweet pain!

I’ve survived many a letdown and what amazes me is not that I did survive, but that my response to them has evolved over time- from a “You too Brutus?” loaded with bitter accusation, to “Why does it happen to me?” dripping with self pity, to the present “Why not forgive and move on?”

The beauty of the last response lies in the fact that I realize that I’m just a sinful human and my self- righteousness is as good as filthy rags and I’m only banging my head against the wall of impossibility, trying to forgive and move on in my own strength! It brings me to my knees to acknowledge that I’m not an easy person to start with, and since I’ve had the luxury of being forgiven by God and people who love me, I have no reason, whatsoever, not to forgive another!

But the story is far from over…the next level I need to reach is, “I would love you and stick by you, even if you were to let me down a million times over!”

Just when I thought the buck stopped there, God gently nudged me and said, “Baby, the level I want you to reach is even higher…and that is, “I love you till there is no pride left in me to feel let down…I love you the way God loves you…beyond any rhyme or reason…I love you because I love you!”

I shook my head and threw my hands up in the air in sheer haplessness. The farthest I could go was to forgive once and keep a distance! But here’s God wanting me to stick by the people who hurt me at the risk of being hurt again and love them through it all….and at some point in the process, I must learn to love with God’s love and rise above being affected by what others do to me!

Well, this looks particularly difficult for me ‘cos in my dictionary of phrases there’s no thing called “second chance”! I don’t give myself a second chance, let alone others! As has been preached down my being several times already, I can’t give what I don’t have! It all had to start with and in me!

There were areas I had messed up beyond redemption and chosen to bury the hurts within me, and decided to move on, not taking a glance back. What proceeds that is predictable. Later, when similar situations come up, the buried wound opens up, and starts to hurt with double the intensity! Then I go back and examine the past and bandage the wounds, hoping they would heal some day…

And I wake up one morning to the rude fact that, that some day has never come!

The reason for that was evident- I never let God do the total cycle of healing which ends with resilience! Resilience that comes from daring to hit head on with the same/similar situation with a grit to deal with it differently! Healing is never complete without second chances! It has never been about escapism! It is never over, if you get over the hurt only to an extent that equips you to be cautious to avoid similar hurts. All’s well for a while… the days are bright and you hear the birds chirp sweet nothings and life is beautiful…till you fall and sink nose deep into the same situation at unawares, while strutting cautiously around it! Self pity sets in at the opportune moment- “duhhhh! Again!! I’m forever gonna get into the same mess and feel as miserable! I’m a certified Miss. Goof- ups!”

The key is to be intentional about facing similar instances, with the confidence that the earlier hurts are done with and I’d apply the lessons learnt from them to do things right this time! It’s about being kind to myself and giving myself a second chance…It’s about not beating myself up every time I fail at the same thing…It’s about dealing with myself the way God deals with me- gently, patiently, lovingly…so that I may be healed…and may deal with others the same way! Does it mean that I keep doing the same mistakes end number of times? As Joyce Meyer says, “I’ve been around the same mountain many times now…it’s time I did something about it!” When you are patient with yourself and lean on to God’s strength rather than your own, when you become intentional about change…well, you wouldn’t need to go around the same mountain again and again! You’d be out of the circle before you know it! Take heart! There would be a day when you would testify saying, “I used to have a very harsh tongue!” or “I used to not trust people!” and so on.

Extend the same philosophy to the others…give them a second chance… a third, and a fourth, and a fifth, well… how many ever it takes…it’s not for nothing Jesus instructed us to forgive seven seventy times!

The easiest checkpoint would be: Am I following the greatest commandment? Am I walkin’ in love?

Love is patient. It tells you not to give up on yourself or others!

Love is kind. It asks of you to be gentle!

Love does not boast. It wouldn’t let you talk about the umpteen number of times you have forgiven others!

Love is not proud. It leaves no ‘self’ behind to be hurt/let down!

Love is not rude. It would keep you from exploding and speaking unkind words when things go beserk!

Love is not self seeking. It removes the “Fragile: Handle with care” tag from you and puts it on to others!

Love is not easily angered. It smoothens out your touchy edges!

Love keeps no record of wrongs. It wouldn’t remind you of all the others times you’ve been wronged!

Love rejoices with the truth. It enables you to wear your face and not your mask!

Loves ALWAYS protects…ALWAYS trusts…ALWAYS hopes…ALWAYS perseveres!

At the end of this long introspection, I'm left with the simplest of prayers, “Lord, reduce me to love!”