“Get over yourself. Seriously.” This phrase has been repeated over and over in my mind over the last few days as I get mildly angry at friends or strangers for the simplest things. For asking a question differently than I would ask it, for not understanding what I’m trying to communicate in broken Romanian or Russian, or for speaking English to me after I’ve mimed a question for the past five minutes. That was just embarrassing.
More often than not, I’m more concerned about whether or not people like me than if I’m valuing them more than myself. I’ve become complacent in my thinking, letting myself feel smug and superior for knowing a useless piece of trivia or knowing how to communicate in a different language. But I don’t want to be like that.
Recently I read an article about the love of authority versus the authority of love. The articles talks about Jesus’ transfiguration and how the disciples hear a voice from heaven saying, “This is my son, whom I love, listen to him.” The author points out that God doesn’t say, “This is my son, a very wise teacher.An expert in moral theology. Listen to him!” or, “This is my son and I’ll be hurt and sad if you don’t listen to him.” Instead he says, “Listen to my son because I love him.”
Because I’m leading two beautiful young women on a mission trip in a foreign country, this article got me thinking. How often do I expect them to follow my lead because I have experience and have done this before? How often do I want them to take my personal advice because I’m older and wiser and have read more books than them? Or do I expect them to listen to me simply because I was appointed to the position I’m in by someone else? (The answers to those questions are currently “all the time” and “yes.”)
It shouldn’t be that way. God gave everything so that I could know that I’m loved for free, and so I can love others for free too. More often than not though, I’m stuck in my own insecurity and doubt, forgetting that I am loved without reserve and that I have the freedom to love everyone with the same abandon. While I imagine it’s going to be the journey of a lifetime, I want to learn to love others without fear and without expectation of anything in return. Even as I write this, the hope that someone will read it and think “She’s so cool and honest and I really like her,” rears its ugly head. I cannot fight myself for very long. But I hope that somehow, God will do away with my ugliness and replace it with something better. Maybe somewhere down the road, I’ll know what it means when it says, “For God so loved the world…”
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19