I slept terrible last night. There was a lot of tossing and turning and waking up and being uncomfortable. I woke up this morning already stressed and afraid. I am afraid that I messed something up at work, and now the event I am planning will fall to pieces. . .
So to divert my mind I entered another world for a while. I picked up a book and started reading. I love to get lost in the pages of a good book. Right now I am reading The Shack. My parents gave to me about four years ago, and strangely enough I never had the urge to read it until now. The Shack is the story of a man who meets God for the weekend. The whole Holy Trinity is there, in some most unsuspecting forms.
One of the things the main character, Mack, is enthralled with during his time with God, Jesus,and the Spirit, is how the three that are one interact with each other. The relationship is full of love, full of respect, full of fullness. He asks the age old question, who is in charge here? Obviously God is really the one who gives the orders right? And after some joking around They explain that this idea that someone has to be in charge for there to be order is a human thing. We feel that we need authority, rules, laws, and punishments to help contain our problems. We would not need a hierarchy to control us if we were able to love and live and build relationships as God does, as God intended for us.
After reading a few chapters that morning, I went to start my day with breakfast and devotions. When I asked God what I should read from His good book I got Philippians 2 in my head pretty quick. Now I have been struggling with knowing for sure if this is my head suggesting things, or if it is a leading from God. So as I saw one of the rainbows from my crystal dancing on the floor, I asked, kind of jokingly, “What about something with rainbows, so I know for sure?” Genesis 6 was the quick reply. So I turn there first. Oh look, the story of Noah and the flood. Okay, okay.
Imitating Christ’s Humility
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Hmm. Didn’t I just have a word picture painted for me on how Jesus behaves in a perfect relationship? If we would love and live this these verses describe, this is the kind of relationships that could live outside of order, power, or hierarchy.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility value others before yourselves. Huh, easier said than done for sure. But it is so crazy it just might work. You see, I recently realized that besides James, I have not been able to solidify for myself a truly close friendship since we moved here. In college I had my housemates and my best friends. I had plenty of people I could easily confide in. Here, I have been working on finding the perfect replacement. Everyone I hang out with goes under scrutiny, could they meet my needs? Are they as good as my last group of friends? Hmm, do they seem to “get” me and share common interests?
Now, you might already see how this is not working. I put myself first. I put myself on top. I was in charge and was holding tryouts. If I had changed my attitude, if I had worried more about how I could be a friend instead of trying to find a friend for me, maybe my relationships would have been more fulfilling for everyone involved.
Maybe we should try to give more in our relationships and take less. I might need to read this verse every couple of days to remind myself. It is time to start being a friend.