This is not going to sound nice but God has apparently given me the gift of being brutally honest so here goes.  I have people in my life who I like, but I must admit, I sometimes avoid.  It isn’t that they are jerks or unkind or even that they annoy me.  They are actually very nice and are usually some of the sweetest people I know.  The problem is they need.  They need and I don’t always want to give them what they need most; my time and my attention. Now you know why I am in ministry.  On account of my gifts of empathy and niceness. 

I realize this sounds terrible and is terrible to admit, but it is the reality of my busy and overloaded life.  Normally, I don’t give it much thought and if I do think about it, I am usually able to justify that 1) I am pleasant to everyone and 2) I cannot give my time to everyone (especially if they take a really long time to tell me what they need to tell me). But then today happened. Today, I heard that confounded voice in my head again.  Today, despite turning the radio up and trying to ignore it I heard a whisper saying, “blessed are the poor in spirit.”  After blogging about helping the needy just 24 hours it ago it was brought to my attention today that the needy aren’t just those in financial need.  They are those people with emotional needs that I am often, without usually thinking about it, avoiding.  Has anyone seen my Fat Tuesday earplugs?  I need them.

I have a friend who is gay who has been reading the Bible and meeting me every month since last fall (see my blog: “My Sin is Prettier than Your Rainbow Bumper Sticker”).  Something my friend said to me was that the more she was reading the Bible, the more she wanted to quit reading it.  She was beginning to realize that the more she knew about Jesus and God’s Word, the more she was accountable to what it said and she didn’t like that.  I am on her side on that one.  Sometimes I really just want to stick my head in the sand.  I don’t want to hear any more whispers in my head. God, I’m helping hungry people in Africa this weekend, is that not enough?    

“Dear Lord, Thank you (once again) for withholding the lightning strike that I may deserve for my less than godly candor.  Since I’m being honest, I should pray an honest prayer about my heart toward others. Lord, please help me to want to care more about everyone and not just people whose problems I can relate to or that don’t take up too much of my time.  Help me to want to genuinely listen and care for everyone because if you love them and died for them, they should matter to me too. Thank you for continuing to challenge me, especially in the area of trusting you with my time.  I have seen you somehow multiply my time when I am living in obedience to you.  Thank you that you call me to love, once again not on my terms with people who seem to have it all together and don’t require anything of me, but with people who are broken and hurting. Thank you that You and many others create that space and show that kind of love to me when I’m in a place of need and am humble enough to admit it. In Your Name, Amen.”
Author’s Note: Whenever I post a blog like this I get at least three people messaging me wondering if they are the person I am referencing.  Please know that no one person was on my mind when I wrote this; it was just a little general convicting the Spirit knew I needed.  XO, Laura