Why Me?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my Pastor’s sermon, Amaze Me, Lord, and how it had such an impact on me in that moment.  Well, that message has stayed with me this entire month, and today, I was once again caused to think a bit deeper.  Today’s sermon talked about God’s Amazing Grace.  Initially, my thoughts were really along the lines of…”That was a nice, short, sweet, to the point sermon…I appreciate it because I need to get ready for the game tonight”, but then out of the clear blue this thought hit me…I take my wonderful life for granted!  My life experience has become so normal to me that I often don’t realize that not everybody has a similar life experience.

On the phone with a friend earlier today, I was expressing my frustrations about people [whom I should want to help] lacking motivation and drive, being resistant to stepping out of their comfort zone, needing to mature a bit, not realizing that the world is bigger than the town they grew up in, and the list goes on.  As I was venting, my friend comments that there are a number of people who fall in these categories…she went on to say that it’s more normal than I realize and I have to learn to accept it.  And so, I decided to just let it go…I’m not going to force my beliefs or opinions on anyone because I can only help those who desire to be helped!  While in some ways this feels like giving up and throwing in the towel, it helped me to better understand my Pastor’s sermon and ask the question, “Why am I so deserving of God’s amazing grace?”

This question may not be significant to some, but it’s huge to me because my life has been spared of and blessed with so many things, and I know it’s only because of God’s grace.

I was blessed to receive a full scholarship to receive my undergraduate degree, I was blessed to go to my dream school and earn my graduate degree…I can remember saying I wanted to go to Johns Hopkins University, then doubting my intellectual abilities to succeed there, but I did it and it was only by God’s grace!  The reality is that some of my peers couldn’t go to college, or had to attend community college because they, nor their parents. could afford a 4 year university, but God was gracious to me!  My parents didn’t have to worry about the struggle of paying for me to attend college.

I grew up in a two-parent home, where things weren’t perfect, but my parents loved me, cared for me, and provided for me.  My parents didn’t necessarily always know how and if things were going to fall in place properly, but God was gracious to us!  We were able to take a few family vacations over the years, my Dad was able to open a construction company, my parents were able to build a home…not everyone had those opportunities.  Beyond that, I’m still blessed to have both of my parents alive and well.  They often can pluck my nerves, but I’m fortunate to have them, so many people close to me aren’t that fortunate, so every day, I’ll appreciate my folks a little more, I’ll love them a little more, and I’ll try to get frustrated with them a little less.

These are just 2 examples, the list goes on.  I’ve been able to travel to different places throughout the country and world, I’ve been fortunate enough to interact with and make friends with people from other cultures, I’ve had a chance to work in several different arenas, I’ve been blessed with job stability, I’ve had a chance to live an amazing life so far in these 32 years, and I’ve been blessed beyond measure.

Despite this, I’m guilty of failing to realize that everyone hasn’t shared a similar life experience.  So, rather than give up on people, I now realize that it’s my responsibility to be more patient, more kind, and more loving when dealing with these individuals.  It’s my responsibility to sow seeds in their lives because so many people have sowed into my life.  It’s my responsibility to recognize that God has been gracious to me; therefore, I am obligated to show grace and compassion to others…especially those who are in my circle.  I’ll be the first to admit it won’t be easy because frustration can get the best of me…but if underserving me has been fortunate enough to receive the gift of grace, then shame on me if I can’t share the same with someone else.

Until next time…


Amaze Me…

This week has started on an incredibly high note for me.  My Pastor preached the sermon, “Amaze Me, Lord” on Sunday morning and it hit me in an interesting way, sparking a fire deep within me.  The root of her message focused on how we live never expecting anything outside of normal to occur in our daily lives.  She stated that in many ways we have planned our lives out so much that God has no room to step in and do something amazing.  And, even if he did, many of us aren’t open to the spontaneous and unpredictable ways of God…we shut Him down and refuse to surrender our own personal agendas to follow God’s guidance.  This message struck me in an interesting way because I’m always trying to figure things out, I need everything to make sense, and I NEED life to unfold as planned!  On the one hand, I panic and experience anxiety when life seems out of control.  On the other hand, I sabotage my efforts whenever it seems like things aren’t going as they ought.  The idea of not putting forth effort, thus not getting expected results is much easier to accept than the idea of failure!  But Sunday’s sermon really made me think deep about my perspective and approach.  Perhaps continuing to do the things that I feel led to do, rather than sabotaging my efforts, would result in God doing something amazing in my life!

Earlier today, I posted the Holstee Manifesto…this is a great example of something amazing happening in the lives of people who took a step of faith.  The gist of the story is that a few individuals quit their job to start a company selling all natural tee shirts, which initially weren’t a big hit…somewhere along the line they posted the Holstee Manifesto, a personal mantra gone public, that went viral and gave the company a name.  Graphic designers made the statement visually appealing and this became the company’s most popular item…it wasn’t in the plan to sell it, but this amazing and perplexing thing happened simply because these individuals followed their heart and stayed the course.

In 2013, I want amazing and perplexing things to happen in my life!  This year I want to stay committed to following my heart and following my life dreams…I want to stay committed to conquering every challenge that I encounter.  Specifically, this year, I want to start figuring out how to move from my day job to my dream job…this year, I want to not just run a few 5k races, I want to set personal records and run farther without fear, I even want to complete a sprint triathlon…this year, I want to encourage others and let them know that those things that were once impossible can now be done…this year, I want to trust God more than ever before to start granting me the desires of my heart…this year, I want to give more to others than ever before.  And if some these things happen, then God will have amazed me and therein lies the beauty in all of this…God’s amazing grace!

It’s going to be an AMAZING 2013!