Sunday, April 17, 2011

Keep Me From Judgement, Bring Me Patience, and Grant Me Peace...

I often wonder what it would be like to be someone else... to have someone else's thoughts and dreams and life and goals.  It is so strange to me that not everyone wants exactly what I want and that they do not think exactly like I do.  Is it egotistical?  I don't think so, because I do not know another way.  I love hearing why people think like they do and why they want what they want.  I think it would be egotistical if I heard what they think and why they do what they do, and then walked away completely disregarding everything they just said as invalid because my way is best.  Believe it or not, I know people like that - I am sure someone came to your mind as well.  

It always fascinates me to hear someone who has been through what I have been through 30 years prior, to hear a teenagers limited understanding who has no idea what they are entering into, to hear my siblings perspectives on anything I am going through, and to hear an elderly view point that knows it all and carries so much wisdom.  To consider other people's approaches to life is important, even though I cannot necessarily relate to their individual methods of living.  Regardless of whether you respect someone or not, God created them with a unique perspective and they have valid thoughts and emotions and they are worth your time.  I think the moment someone is marked as "not worth my time" is when we have failed.  Everyone is worth everything in God's eyes and if this life is truly about learning to become more like Christ, they should be treated as such.

Over the past few days I find myself aiming to put myself in other peoples shoes.  It is not as easy as I want it to be.  I used to think I was extremely understanding and I could understand where almost everyone was coming from, but I have been finding that I cannot rationalize away some behavior.  It is easier for me to understand where my friends come from who are working through things and aiming to grow and change and succeed in life - and not only in professional senses, but in the sense that they want to become the best people they can be.  My recent (and consistent) personality conflicts come from those who are aware of the way they treat others and the way they value inanimate wealth, yet choose to continue to either alienate themselves or spend their time and attention trying to attain things, knowing full well that these things will not increase their happiness.  How do I reach these people?  I often feel that by being happy around them actually makes them resent me more.  It does not necessarily make them want to find what I have found.  

I feel like I am constantly re-visiting this topic, but genuinely selfish people baffle me.  I do not think that selfishness is natural, I think it is just as much of a choice as selflessness.  I want so badly to believe that people choose to be selfish, but their natural inclination is to serve others, but I also know that that is not true.  Where does this leave us?  Somewhere between wanting to serve others while considering our own selfish needs?  I know I have asked this before, but is genuine selflessness unattainable?  Is it possible to just meet our needs and want for nothing else?  Why do I find myself reaching after this so drastically?  Extravagance does not appeal to me, but I want things that work and are nice... Is that OK? 

Honestly, I lose sleep over this topic.  God, grant me rest.  It wrenches my heart to come face-to-face with Christian selfishness.  It brings me to a breaking point.  I know people on the fence to Christianity, and they do not come to the other side because they see so many Christians living in such a selfish way.  Living in denial is no better than living in awareness and not doing anything about it.  Is praying that they become aware of their frame of mind judgmental?  A wise man told me this weekend to judge and to be judgmental are 2 different things.  We must run everything through our moral compass.  I pray God keeps me from judgement, brings me patience for those I come in contact with who are on a different part of their journey than I am, and grants me peace that he has his hand in every situation - not just the ones that bring blessing.

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