I didn’t get to this age of thirty without a lot of lessons, and I’m sure there’s still more to come. I planned on doing a birthday blog of an entirely different nature than this is about to be. As the clock struck 7:00 PM I was once again confronted with a feeling I’ve become intimate with over the years, one can be surrounded by a crowd but totally alone.
In my thirty years I’ve learned how to keep people at arm’s length when necessary, which sadly happens to be more often than not. Now forgive me, at this point I may go off on a tangent or two…
Humble Service in the Body of Christ
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love in Action
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited. (Romans 12: 3 – 16 NIV)
A few years ago I sat in a bible study on Spiritual Gifts and as the above mentioned scripture was read a thought came forcefully to me. Since we are expected to be good stewards of our resources (money, time, etc.) as a service to God, and good stewards of our spiritual gifts so as to edify the body, how does it translate to those who are gifted with kindness, mercy, encouragement, serving, giving? I examined myself, as I often do when confronted with the word of God, and realized that I was not indeed being a good steward. I was allowing some people in my life to take advantage of, abuse even, precious gifts that God gave me. Unfortunately for me that resulted in keeping people at arm’s length.
Trusting that people genuinely love you, and spend time with you, out of the purest heart with no motive can be difficult. Compounded with numerous experiences of being lied to, taken advantage of, and forgotten, I admit I now struggle with the ability to allow many people close to me. Sadly, as I admitted to someone recently, a majority of people who think they’re close to me could not be any further from the truth. I’ve had to fight to know my worth and now fight to live it out. I can no longer afford to allow anyone to take advantage of me or any of my gifts (even those gifts that I’ve yet to acknowledge or grasp). I have to be a good steward. I can’t keep giving without much thought to it because in so doing I’m enabling some crippling behaviors in others. I can’t keep serving outside of my assignment because then those who are assigned to those tasks will never stand up. I can’t keep being kind without wisdom and leave myself open to selfish persons.
Fortified with that resolution I now keep most people at arm’s length. What that leaves me with is this overwhelming realization, on my 30th birthday, that there doesn’t seem to be even a handful of people who genuinely have my best at heart. Sure, I’ve come to know that there are those that admire some things that God does through me, but sadly there are people who envy those very things (I honestly wish they’d realize I don’t even know my abilities so I tend to rely on God to complete whatever He has me doing at any given moment, plus I rather sit in the back quietly away from any attention). Quite a few seem to think I live some kind of super-busy fabulous life, and others think I’m a social butterfly. LOL…smh think what you may I guess. The truth is, I am fortified by a great relationship with the always faithful God, the support of my parents, and a realization that this fearfully and wonderfully made woman does not need to make everyone else the priority. I am fortified, and I pray that by God’s power, with His wisdom, I’ll be fortified that much more and strengthened to live through the disappointments of humans. Until then, I look forward to carving out a door for those who genuinely care about Camille and what’s best for her, not necessarily convenient to them…after all, no sense being stuck behind these fortified walls alone till death.