Monday, November 21, 2011

I really enjoy being patient. I like the calmness that comes over my heart. I like exercising a sense of peace.

It is healthy to nurture our ability to wait. Being able to wait for someone to understand, wait for a behavior to change, wait for good timing.

I like being patient because I feel like I am serving others. I suppose, in this way, patience is love. When I am tutoring a challenging student and I need to be extra patient, I find a great satisfaction in it, because I am doing it for someone else.

Maybe it is more difficult to be patient when we are selfish. How can we wait for others if we put ourselves first?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Death of Self

“There was a day when I died; died to self, my opinions, preferences, tastes and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren or friends; and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God." ~ George Mueller

This is not a statement to make lightly.

Mueller speaks of the death of the self. This comes through intense suffering. We don't wake up one day and simply "die to self" because we "want" to.... The self never wants to die.... That is why its death is so painful, why we lose so much over the course of our lives, why it's so hard to let go.

Faith is a constant practice. It must be maintained through a lifetime, just like a good diet or exercise. The death of self might occur... but that doesn't mean it can't slip in again. It is a narrow path.

My prayer when I was younger was for God to let me suffer so others didn't have to. Now I pray for the strength to survive; the strength to shoulder my own suffering, never mind that of my neighbor. Life is a lot harder as an adult than as a child; the faith that was so easy to maintain when I was young and sheltered is now challenged almost daily. It is not challenged by thought, but by action -- am I generous enough, patient enough, caring enough to my fellow man? Or am I becoming like everyone else, terrified, focused only on survival, too tired and frustrated to pay attention. This is a new faith I am learning; a faith that must come from the inside, no matter what the circumstances. A faith that must extend to include others; to embrace others as they are, without demanding change or perfection. God didn't make us to be perfect, but He did make us to love.