I had a conversation with a friend the other day about her women’s ministry. She lamented that her partner in crime, let’s call her Annie, passed away recently leaving a huge void. She tried to fill Annie’s shoes, but realized that her gifts in leadership were very different from her Annie’s gifts. Annie welcomed people with warmth like a mother hen gathering her chicks. People were drawn to Annie’s ability to exude love, comfort and support. On the other hand, my friend’s leadership gifts were best expressed in organization, managing tasks and bringing all the pieces together. Sadly, she did not see herself as exuding love….not like Annie.
Her way of loving others got the job done. People may not be immediately drawn to that gift of love but when they need some accomplished with passion and enthusiasm, then she would be their first call. For the past two days, I have been reflecting on the statement, “I am not here to make you comfortable. I am here to help you grow.” I think this is my gift of love to the world. I am very compassionate meaning I have the intense desire to see people Set Free from suffering.
From experience, I know that being Set Free is harder than choosing to stay where you are. Read Man’s Search for Meaning and you will see that even some of the people who survived the Holocaust did not survive after they were Set Free. To help explain, imagine that you are in a cage that you and others have helped create. You built the cage for protection and security from a harsh world and other people added to the structure while pushing you back inside if you tried to step out. You know every inch of that cage. Even though you feel cramped, there is a certain sense of comfort in knowing what to expect. You long for freedom and dream of what that would feel like, taste like, smell like. Then, one day the cage door opens. You step out and no one pushes you back inside. You walk farther but realize you have no idea where you are going. Nothing looks familiar. You have no instructions, no guidebook and very little experience to lean on for support. You look back, see the cage, and wonder if you should just go back.
Which one do you choose?
My love for myself will not let me go back.
I am not here to make myself comfortable. I am here to see me grow.