29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31
My kindred spirit Helena and I were recently together discussing similar situations we were in. We were both seeking wisdom for how in the process to protect our hearts yet still bless and love others, trusting God with His plans. We were reminded of a situation many years back when God told our pastor it was time for him to move on. This man of God was very loved and respected but it was quite shocking to a lot of people. Our hearts were exposed through our reactions and in our flesh we desired to follow where our shepherd was going. God said no.
In the aftermath, God’s healing and years following, we learned some very valuable lessons.
- God’s plans are Always the best.
- Prayer is vital.
- Sometimes our loyalties need to be exposed.
- If we hold onto something or someone too tightly, God will, in His infinite wisdom, shake it loose somehow.
- Shaking of white knuckle grips are painful.
- No matter how something is executed there will always be critics.
- We are way too quick to judge something we don’t understand.
- We may never see the whole picture of someone’s obedience.
- It is ok to grieve change.
- As we submit our hearts to God He shows us how to walk through, to forgive and heal and move forward.
- Obedience can be painful at first but the outcome is God’s best for you.
- We are only responsible for own heart response.
- The church body is not one congregation.
- We are the church, not just the pastor, nor any leader, nor the building. We Are.
- It can be just as painful for the one God gave the revelation to, change is challenging.
- God desires all of our heart and devotion.
- Imagining yourself in someone else’s position goes a long way.
- Being right is Highly overrated.
- Keeping your mouth shut sometimes is not.
- If you must speak, encourage.
- Our unrealistic expectations of people have to potential to wound us.
- Hold the things and ones you love lightly.
- Be careful what you speak, bless and do not curse.
- Love, love and love some more.
- Trust God.
I am sure these are not the only valuable lessons we gleaned from our circumstances and similar ones over the years but it’s a start. The older I get the less I speak (another valuable lesson) and the more I listen. We miss people’s hearts so often when we are so busy explaining our own. As in the verse above ultimately God commands us to love Him first and out of that we can love others. When we are full of His love we can adjust better to changes whether they are expected or not.
I love what Ann Voskamp said when things happen that aren’t the way we expected, “Grieving how plans change – is part of the plan to change us.” Enough said. Go God.