Life has a funny way of producing twists and changes. They are often unexpected, and in that these curve balls and surprises create a change within the heart that’s undeniable. You often see if life hardens or softens a person, and it’s not just in the elderly. It’s a reality that is open to all of us in this day and age.
I am living a life myself that is the result of taking a path so different from where I thought I would be. My career, where I live, my community — all of that radically changed in the last few months. If you would have talked to me even just a year ago, I would have never thought my life would end up where it is now. I chose to listen to God’s voice, make decisions that went against my own will in favor of His, and yet I am in a place in life that couldn’t be more perfect for me. Don’t get me wrong: my life is not perfect. I’m simply being held in the tension that I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is where God wants me to be. I couldn’t love these circumstances more. They are messy, foreign, and beautiful. And I am ready to plant my roots.
It was during an August a couple summers ago that I made a decision. I committed deep within my heart to live authentically, holding no love back, and to open up my arms to whatever lay ahead of me. I was tired of living cautiously and according to how I thought I should live life. These last two years changed me tremendously because a decision like that can’t help but transform you.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
I’m still in the midst of that transformation: impossibly imperfect suspended in the balance of awaiting eternal perfection. It’s quite a ride. I’m constantly reminded of my humanity within a refining fire. It hurts at times to be face to face with my imperfections, but that doesn’t even compare to the freedom and glory of living life with a God that loves me no matter what. A God who chooses grace, yearns to be with us, and makes restoration his kingly work.
I am confronted with how it’s easier to judge a person on something that’s quite frankly… ridiculous. Instead, I’m gently led to know a person’s story, to hear their heart, to see them in the midst of ministry. That’s how we can take our walls down of judgment and insecurity to see a stunning story unfold, one that if we are willing to be real and dive into, we can weave into it. If we can put our humanity aside and pray to see a person how Jesus sees them, then compassion can reign. A person’s mistakes and weaknesses are put into the context of our own depravity, and we realize we are no better or different. Then, we have the opportunity to extend grace exactly how we would want it in that situation.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8
Love. We are to love our brothers and sisters. For if we are loved with a limitless and radical grace by our own God, then the least we can do is see others not through their own sins but through the lens of love. Love as you have been loved, and do no less. Your life will be changed.
Life is a hard journey, but what if we did this: live each day letting God pour his love into our hearts and then sharing it. Even when it’s hard. Even when our flesh wants to control us. Even when hatred is the easier path. Even when another person or group serves as a perfect target for our anger and toxicity. Even when comfort and complacency tempt us. Even when this choice to love will rock our boat a little… or a lot.