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20:34:00 Karen Li 0 Comments

 Have I gone about it the wrong way? Have I always made the wrong decision?

I have always believed that when I am the problem, I can fix the problem by taking myself out of the equation. Or if being in a particular situation compromises me, I should remove myself.

I initially started to serve in leadership roles because there was a need for me to serve, I had the burden and there was the opportunity. I started out serving for my love of God. I served out of love for my brothers and sisters in Christ. I soon felt that pride was consuming me. I enjoyed the praise of those around me telling me I was doing a good job or the authority over others telling them to do this or that. I felt guilty for having this type of attitude. So I removed myself from the role as soon as I found a replacement and served quietly in the sidelines instead. I now happily serve in the sidelines and help out where I can.

There have been a few times in relationships where I have removed myself from the situation. I removed myself from a long term relationship with a guy because of the type of person I became in the relationship. I was becoming such a horrible person. I was taking the other person for granted but they never once spoke up to tell me to change and let me continue to be impulsive and run my life into a mess. At that point in time, I was stressed, studying a ridiculous load at university while working several jobs throughout the week and on weekends, serving in various positions at church and being involved in various clubs and societies. I took my stress out on the poor soul and he never told me just to stop and reconsider what I was doing~ how I was behaving. I WAS THE PROBLEM. So I thought that as long as I can take myself out of the situation, it would save everyone a lot of suffering. And that is exactly what I did. And I know for that particular relationship, it was the right thing to do because this man is now happily married to a loving wife. Thanks be to God who provides for his children.

In another case, I had developed mutual affection for a particular guy. He was quite reserved and we were happy to be really really good friends, but not quite to the point of becoming lovers. Then a friend told me that she had developed feelings for this particular guy but was afraid that he liked someone else. I again recognized that I WAS THE PROBLEM, so I took myself out of the equation. I did not want to be the type of person that would prevent someone's happiness. I didn't want to be a bitter person either. I'm not sure I made the most appropriate decision at the time because he too took himself out of the equation. Reflecting now, I think I should have committed myself more to prayer and to seek God's guidance.

It has been years and much personal and spiritual growth since these events have taken place.  Through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, I have become a better person. I am filled with joy. Thankfulness. Praise. Love. Hope. The way I relate to people feels so different that I am always reminded that I don't want to be the person I once was. And I want to be more and more like Christ each and everyday. And so I have tried to protect myself by keeping myself away from situations that might trigger my old self from coming up.

So it come to a more recent situation. I have become rather close with someone. He was someone I could share my thoughts, feelings, ambitions with. And in return, I was trusted with his burdens. People around me started to notice that I have become happier lately, less stressed, I sing more and smile more. But as we began to become best friends, I found that old me tried to resurface. I was accidently saying things that would upset this dear friend. Although the actions aren't there, I have cognition that disturb me. I would feel "used" and thoughts of jealousy? It's very silly considering we are only friends, but these thoughts were disturbing to me. I couldn't pin-point why I felt this way; but I wanted to stop whatever I was doing so I don't fall into old traps. I have been praying and praying about a solution. About what to do. I thought God's answer was for me to cut this particular person away from my life. And I had taken steps to detach myself emotionally from this friend. And I have cut so many people out of my life with such decisiveness, that makes me regret it now.

So I discussed this with the particular person and my family; this strategy I have been using to handle such problems. This friend helped me understand that there are also potential problems with my solution. By removing myself from service, I might be doing a dis-service to those I am serving. By removing myself from friendships, I might end up hurting people in the process. In a way, it is avoiding problems and this will impede my personal growth. It's ok to allow people to help me overcome these inadequacies. I am fundamentally flawed but not unfixable. Through Jesus, nothing is impossible. I was actually really blessed with a great conversation with my baby brother. We rarely have such heart to hearts. I shared with him my particular concerns about becoming the person I used to be. He listened intently, asked questions and gave me some advice. I am blessed to have such a close relationship with my brother now.

And so here are my main conclusions:
- It's never going to be ok to be that person I was. I was a sinful creature. I was hurtful to those around me. I wasn't growing spiritually. I wasn't being a good witness to Christ.

- If removing myself is my only solution to these problems in life, I will be living alone and serving alone. And that might not be God's intention for my life.

- Yes, these thoughts are warning signs and I should pause to reflect and change. With an emphasis on change. Taking myself out of the situation is like running away. I will never grow if I don't accept these challenges. And I need others around to remind me and help me make decisions.

- Instead of withdrawing myself, today's devotion stressed the importance of loving more and more. living in order to please God more and more. So, I might have made inappropriate decisions in the past, but it's never too late to turn back. Thank you Lord for loving me, despite my flaws and misunderstandings of your will!

1 Thessalonians 4
Living to Please God
 1 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more......
 9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Today is the day

  • Songwriters: Paul Joseph Baloche, Lincoln Lee Brewster
I'm casting my cares aside
I'm leaving my past behind
I'm setting my heart and mind
On You Jesus

I'm reaching my hands to Yours
Believing there's so much more
Knowing that all You have
In store for me is good, is good

Today is the day
You have made
I will rejoice and be glad in it

I won't worry 'bout tomorrow
I'm trustin' in what You say
Today is the day

Today is the day

I'm putting my fears aside
I'm leaving my doubts behind
I'm giving my hopes and dreams
To You, Jesus

I will stand upon Your truth
All my days, I'll live for You
I will stand upon Your truth
All my days I'll live for You

I won't worry 'bout tomorrow
Givin' You my fears and sorrows
Where You lead me, I will follow
I'm trustin' in what You say

Today is the day

I hope it's not too late to repair this particular friendship or to start serving in leadership positions again. But, even if we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains. 

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