I think I’m just simply here to say that I want to Love well. I don’t want an opportunity to Love to pass me by. I want those in my life to know that I Love them, without doubt. I don’t want fear, laziness, or selfishness to ever hinder my Love. I want to take a chance. I want to put myself out there. I want to simply…Love well.
I thought about these areas and wondered, in how many of them I have reached “Status Quo” and just stopped because isn’t status quo sufficient? The truth is, I had and I have more to give, so why stop?
In 2 Timothy, Paul writes about his suffering and chains and how everyone in Asia had deserted him. He then tells about a man named Onesiphorus, for which he has great thanks. “May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me.” ~2 Timothy 1:16-17
“OFTEN” and “UNTIL” – Two unmistakably powerful words in this scripture. Onesiphorus went above and beyond to care for a man who most people are ashamed of. You see, it wasn’t about what he didn’t do. We can all ignore something or people, or even keep our judgements to ourselves, and pat ourselves on the back for that. But Onesiphorus OFTEN REFRESHED Paul. He searched hard for Paul UNTIL he actually found him.
If anything, this gratefulness Paul has for Onesiphorus is a great example of the word, truth, grace, and love coming to Life and being poured out. When Onesiphorus looked outside himself, status quo no longer existed. It wasn’t about what he did being sufficient, or looking good to others, or evening earning recognition, but it was about Paul who was in need. Onesiphorus saw Paul and knew he had something to give.That is how I want to Live in all areas of my life!
When status quo is insufficient, when we actually go above and beyond, Life happens.
Why hold back? Go for it, Live…
I had an interesting conversation with a good friend of mine today about unrequited love and how that affects the heart. I think there have been times when we all faced this dilemma at some point in our lives. We can remember the way it felt and can even recall the declarations we made to protect our hearts from such a Love. We would rather choose to put on our running shoes than to feel that again. But what if we just stopped…stopped running…stopped living in old habits, and faced whatever we need to face. What if we get hurt again, which is a part of life… but does that change the character of God or diminish His power? Does it strip away any of our worth? No. I think of Lucia, who time after time pushed me away in fear. But everyday I sat with her. I didn’t leave, but simply sat with her. I could have given up, it was obvious she wanted nothing from me, but as much as it hurt, I couldn’t stop loving her. If anything to show her a glimpse of Love that doesn’t take. And eventually she took my hand. Even if she didn’t, the Love I have for her wouldn’t waiver. Was it difficult? Absolutely! It wasn’t easy. But it was real.
Can I say now, that I always Love like this? No. But I’m learning. And now I need to stop, stop running, stop thinking, and stop looking at the clock. It’s 1:39. I need to sleep, to rest, for tomorrow is another day…
Change of plans. Originally I had been thinking about sharing some thoughts on self-discipline. After studying a bit of 2 Timothy, it is something I have been thinking about. But that will come later.
The truth is, I just want to talk about relationships! I felt compelled to reread the beginning few verses and got a glimpse of the relationship between Paul had Timothy. How many times do we skip over the introductions to these letters when actually, it sets the tone for the letters, taking it from just words of encouragement, teaching, or correction, and placing it in the context of relationship.
“Every time I say your name in prayer—which is practically all the time—I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion.” ~2 Timothy 1:3-4 (Message)
….and his letter continues…
There is a sincere relationship here! He is communicating with a friend. You see, there is a difference in speaking WITH someone and really building and encouraging that relationship compared to simply talking AT someone. I know this is simple truth! I know we have heard this before. In fact, this isn’t just a one time reference…Relationship continues and is seen and is exemplified throughout the Bible, throughout Life…
But until we begin to grasp what relationship is, then what we have is simply a list of rules, or a book of words!
“For us, there can be no future and there is safety in that.” ~ A Good Year
It is such a feared word. Just the thought of it can make people run the other way. It can make people question and doubt. Soon, commitment is eventually avoided and then we find ways to reassure ourselves that we are better off just the way we are. Instead of taking a risk and moving forward in something that potentially could be better than we can imagine, we think of all the ways it could fail before we even take that next step forward. We don’t even give it a chance.
I’m not talking strictly about romantic relationships, but friendships, job changes, life changes, commitment in general really…
Why are we so scared of failure, when honestly, we have all survived it before? Why do we not choose to see potential along with our negative thoughts of what could happen? Yes, along with greatness comes challenges. Yes, it takes effort. Yes, it could totally fail, but then again, it could be more than we ever imagined.
You might be wondering why I am writing about this. The truth is, I’m moving forward in some opportunities. Taking a risk and facing the unknown doesn’t scare me. And I’m looking for a team to join me.
Commitment, is essential. I’m looking for someone or a few people to embrace the unknown, to stay committed during the challenging times, and to rejoice in the moments of hope, appreciating and learning from each step taken. I’m looking for creativity, for integrity, and for passion, along with the ability to help me think logistically and realistically. If you can encourage me and challenge me, join me.
Andrew once shared a great ad that was placed in the London Times by Ernest Shackleton…
And the men came willing and ready.
I’m looking for that. I don’t really know what the future holds and I don’t have it all figured out, but I know with an open mind and heart, great things are possible.
And those are the ones who I want to be standing next to.
Maybe that’s you…
A month has past, and I have yet to write. Henry David Thoreau once stated, “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” I hope that is what my writing shares in some way, Truth as it is lived out. In it’s simplicity, my words shared reveal a window to something much deeper, my heart.
With moving forward in the vision for a community center, in opportunities of working with children, in making decisions that allow me the freedom and courage to move forward, I can’t at all help but see how far He has brought me.
My heart has been aching for my family lately. I do long to surprise them with dinner, sit with Grace and Tyler for one of our movie nights, to hear them laugh, to actually be in their presence. We all can relate to moments like these. And there is a thankfulness that my Love for them continues to grow.
And now…now I sit outside hearing the laughter of those who are in my community now, thankful for where I am and who I am. Because that is how I want to live, standing with open arms in confidence of who I am and not who I was or thought I was…standing tall, moving forward in the passions He has placed within me, and courageously taking step by step, giving it all and Living Life.
Remember those choose your own adventure books? At the end of each chapter you had to make a decision which would take you on a different adventure. Life is very similar isn’t it? Maybe there won’t come a day where we have a choice to go slay a dragon or answer the question of a riddling troll. But we do make decisions. For Life is decisions simply Lived out. I had to make a decision to either stay in the States and work at a wonderful job that I enjoyed, living near my family who I love, etc. Or move to Spain to work along side my family here. It is an adventure to say the least, lessons learned, joy in abundance, and family.
It is my story, with Christ in me and the guidance of the Spirit, it is being written and Lived out to completion…
What’s your story? What people and characters are you meeting along the way? What are you learning?
Maybe our stories will intertwine once again. Until then, I will write more, give and share more, and would enjoy knowing more of…You.
Jennifer Maile Estrella