I have always thought I was a people-hater. Extreme introvert. Lady hermit.
I never liked crowds, I'm not a huge fan of parties, large groups make me nervous, and actually, a tad bit panicky. "Oh man, so many people...deep breath...don't make a fool out of yourself. (Inwardly hyperventilates)."
Therefore, I must just hate people altogether, right?
Way, way wrong.
Throughout my entire teenager-hood, I firmly stuck to this belief with uncharacteristic, stone faced stubbornness. I am an introvert, guys. I just don't like people. Go away. I like my own company best. Or a book. A book is good. End. Of. Story.
Except not really.
True, I dislike small talk, pettiness, superficial behavior, flirting, immaturity, and overall fake-ness.
But people. I love people.
I shocked myself when I faced up to this. Introversion was the screen I hid behind because getting to know people is painful. It is ridden with sin. It
I wrote this last spring, and when I went back a read it recently, it rang so true with what I am realizing now:
"I am so selfish. I don't care enough about other people and I am very unhappy with that fact. I feel very guilty about it.
Most of the time, when I show concern or care for others, it is not out of real, true honest care for them. It is because I want that attention and care directed back to me. As non-sociable as I may seem, I still have that very human desire to be loved, cared about and held dear, precious. To be wanted. And that selfish, sometimes desperate craving pushes its way, slyly, into how I treat others. I have concern for someone, only so they will show concern back. This can be on the shallow levels of having conversations with coworkers about humdrum life, to deeper interactions with my family.
Love..it's unconditional. It does not pretend to be all concerned about someones suffering, just so that that concern will be retaliated later. That's not love. That's not the love that God has for us, that I now wish to have for others.
I want to look at others and instead of thinking:
"I wonder if they like me?"
"I hope they thought I was funny"
"Do they really care?"
"Did I impress them?"
"Do they think I am being stupid?"
I put my mind on a much better path. That one is not going to get me anywhere. I want to find the best in people, and, having as much love as God does, forgive the worst.*
I have the desire to look at another person and enjoy them to the full, their personality quirks, the things that makes them, them. to be amazed at talent, not jealous. To find little habits that are cute or funny. To appreciate anothers sensitivity or intelligence. When I observe another person, I want to remember that they are a fallen, sinful human being, just like me, who struggle with gargantuan human error. Why do I always judge them instead of connecting, with the fact that we are both just terrible people without God?
I 1 Corinthians 14, it says to pursue love. You have to work for it, try for it, pick it up, make it a habit, make a painful continuous effort to love. Instead, we all just want to meet up with all the people that we relate to, decide who we like, usually for selfish reasons, and call it friendship or love.
That is just not what I am going to settle for. With Gods help, I am going to pursue love. And I am not talking about romantic love.
I am saying I want too love people because God loved them, and are worth something to Him.
He gave some of them great senses of humor; talent simple tingles in others.
He gave some a naturally sweet and caring demeanor.
Some have great beauty, some amazing intelligence.
He made some able to care for others and others, the ability to create pretty mind blowing things.
I want to clap my hands as I watch it all and delight in others. Purely, cleanly, with nothing more behind it than that I really am in awe of so many wonderful ways a person can be unique.
I am going to open up a long shut, sensitive door and be concerned when another is hurting, to feel their pain with them. Because that's what Christ does, and I want to be more like Him.
I want my love to be raw and open, susceptible to hurt** because I care SO MUCH about others. I'll say it again..loving like God. And I think I am finding out how that love works. How much more in-comprehensive Gods love is.
I want to be able to unselfishly stay up all night with a brother or sister who is hurting, not because I feel morally obligated or it will impress others when I complain about it later, but because I want that person to be comforted, to not be lonely. I want to be able to disregard "me time" because there is someone out there who needs a hand and I know with all my heart that God sees them as precious and special, noteworthy and important. I don't want to give it second thought when someone asks me to give of my time and energy. I want menial, simple tasks to be the greatest joy and fulfillment and privilege, because looking good or being popular, impressing others, is not going to fill that void. I pray this is a step closer to woman God wants me to be."
When I wonder why I bother to get up, to make an effort, to keep going...I must remember.
I must remember that there are over six billion people out there right now, every single one of them in need of love and forgiveness...in need of God. They need care and a friendly smile, they need light and encouragement and help. How on earth could I get bored with life and wonder what the point is?
If I look beyond my own little world, which, granted, has plenty of ups and downs and frustrations and struggles, I will see that those struggles don't have to consume me.
I must pull past those struggles and pains, show others that I am a flailing mess too, take their hand, and say, "lets get through this together, the way God created it to be. I will fall, I will sin, I will forget about you, but I will stand back up, confess that I did it wrong, and remember you again."
And again and again and again.
There are over six billion people. There are over six billion ways to share this love and strength and struggle.
Pick a few methods. Pick a few people. Stick to them. Pick more, the older you get, never get bored.
1 Cor 13. Matthew 22:38-39: This is my manifesto.
I will never run out of reasons to get up. Or reasons to give up, either.
*I know there are several issues connected with this, such as correcting a brother...that loving him is to chastise him. That we cannot look over a fellow believers sin, because that would not be true love. That is another subject that I must tackle for myself, but one thing at a time. Remember the waterfall?
**This is not to say that I just trust anyone, tell them everything. Sin is rampant, and I must be careful. But I must not hate people...I must hate the sin.