Mindful is the word that would best describe this year, 2017. In the recent years, instead of a New Year’s resolution, I resolved to focus on one word at the start of the year. However, this year, mindfulness was that ONE WORD as circumstances dictated.
Are you a good person? Probably, you would say you are. We all like to think that we are basically good people. But good people can still be better, right? I mean, there is still something in us, attitude, or a habit that either needs a minor repair or a complete overhaul. If we are honest with ourselves and with God, we all have that one thing we need to change.
The journey towards becoming a better person started early this year. I have always been a very frank, straightforward person. Challenging people is one of my ways to encourage people to take their next step, whether in their personal lives or their spiritual journey.
However, my recent attempt to encourage and challenge people was not well-received. In fact, I was the recipient of raised eyebrows, anger, and misinterpretation. My motives were misconstrued and judged falsely.
Even though I had the opportunity to clarify things and ask for forgiveness if I had caused unintentionally pain, I could sense that some still hold on to their previous judgment. Unfortunately, I could no longer change that.
Their response made me feel so betrayed. I sobbed like a child. It hurt me to the core. I hated myself and felt so horrible. My weakness got the best of me. I even had the audacity to ask the Lord, “Is this what I get for serving you?” If my motives will be questioned again, I don’t want to serve anymore. I quit!”
That arrogance didn’t last long. I sought forgiveness from the Lord for questioning him. Then, I was reminded that Jesus himself was betrayed by his friends. He was also misinterpreted, misunderstood, and judged. But he never quit. He finished his task until his death and resurrection.
The incident left me emotionally and spiritually drained. So, I decided to lay low on certain regular activities. I had a seesaw of emotions too that’s why I always sought prayers from friends. I had forgiven the people who have added drama in my life but the pain is still there. Only the Lord can remove the pain or carry me through the pain.
In my solitude, I asked the Lord why He allowed me to experience this. I thought I was doing okay and that all was good, that I was good. But the Lord wanted me to become better.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
The first good thing that came out of it is having a greater sense of self-awareness. It led me to be more introspective and more mindful about how I think, speak, and act. It was not easy but maybe this was the lesson that the Lord wanted me to learn. Most of the time when the Lord wants to make something great out of us, He has to break us first. And he did break me, big time.
I realized too that we are all different and we perceive things differently. Some people take things as it is, how it was said. While others easily get offended even if there was no intent to cause that. Also, I shouldn’t expect people to be truthful and frank like me.
During my season of soul-searching, I even took a personality test just to understand myself more. I need to know why I’m drawn to a specific group of people and why I’m appalled at a certain group.
The test revealed that I am an introvert. Can you believe that? I may be funny or find humor in everything but as my co-introverted friend says, “We only use humor to balance things out, to get comfortable. But we really are introverts!”
So, what did I learn from all these?
We live in a broken world. And that we are all broken inside. No matter how spiritual you think you are, you are still broken inside. Nobody can fix your broken soul but Jesus himself.
Because we live in a broken world, people can be cruel. You and I can be cruel too. Extend kindness and grace even if others don’t deserve it. Jesus extends his grace and mercy towards us too.
When God allows us to experience pain, it is always for our good. We may not see or feel the goodness while we are crying, He knows that something good will come out of a horrible experience. Instead of fighting with God, why not trust him and trust the process He allows us to go through.
On a lighter note, I really, really hope there will be less soap opera scenes in my life this coming new year. Happy new year!
How about you? What word would describe your 2017?