|The person who lives in this house is just like me, with the same needs, hopes, and dreams.|
When I was in High School I went through a time period where people were changing and some of my friendships were breaking down. It was a very difficult time but a life changing time as well. I was driven to form friendships with people I formerly thought were too different from me to have any kind of relationship with. What I learned was that if I listened to someone's story for a long enough time, I would discover many points of reference that we had in common. I realized that given enough time, we would realize we were more alike than we were different. It didn't matter who it was.
Over the years, I have learned and re-learned this lesson. I am put in a situation where I think the person who's face I am staring into will never be someone I can relate to. But if I am willing to listen, long enough and closely enough, I will find what we share. Sometimes I must listen longer, sometimes I must get over myself and be uncomfortable long enough to get comfortable (does that make sense?).
Often when I am pursuing a new dream, many of the fears relate to walking into situations where I don't know a soul knowing I am there to dive in with help and hope.
Recently, I showed up at a stranger's door who needed a ride to the doctor. Oh, I was shaking in my boots and praying and singing worship songs all the way to that door. Out the same door walked...someone like me... Why was I afraid?
And I remember driving from the airport in Managua, Nicaragua to meet my four children...scared to DEATH! What if they don't like me? What if they don't want someone else to call "Mama"? But immediately one was always hugging me and telling me "I love you" (and I knew that really meant "I don't know you but how I love that there is someone who wants me to say "Mama" to her and who will BE "Mama") and another who would hold the back edge of my shirt as I made my way throughout the house. I was once a child who just wanted love and belonging and now there were four more who just wanted the same. And we were just alike. And even the ones who were scared to approach me and scared of what I might do, I thought about how I would feel and the fears that I had struggled through and I knew we were more the same than different.
As I think of my upcoming trip to Nicaragua in October, I am tempted to fear as I always do. But then I remind myself. We are the same. We are wrapped in different languages, different cultures, different experiences. But we all need hope and help and encouragement. We all need Jesus. We all fear. If I am willing to listen, I will hear the familiar.
If my present dream comes true, to reach out to the Spanish speaking people in my neighboring city and plant a Bible Study and come along side them with help and hope...I know there does not need to be fear. I know God will show me...that we are the same.
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love." ~1 John 4:18
The truth of this verse is that as I reach out in love I need not fear. The opposite of fear is not courage, but rather it is LOVE. Loving another over my own fears, caring more about helping than protecting myself. LOVE is the great secret.
I never go in alone. God's perfect love for me is what I am armed with. He forever loves me and protects me and guides me and sustains me. I need no other resource. I need no other Word but His.
"The Lord has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he waken--wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught." ~Isaiah 50:4