Sunday, July 22, 2012

Motives

Life sometimes can get me down. People let me down, but I have to choose where I'm going to place my trust. It's not always that people intentionally hurt you; it just happens. We all get busy with our own lives. We forget to remember others. It hurts to be forgotten and left behind, but it doesn't change who we are. God called me worthy.

"We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins."

Colossians 1:9-14

To some people, friends are more important than any blood relation you could have. To others, family means the most. If you're wise, neither should get before your relationship with God. Not always easy though, right?

We often desire someone we can see to meet our needs. We know God is there, however, it can feel like He's very far away at times. There are times when you need a friend to be there physically for you. To watch your kids. To help out with a project. To watch a movie. To just spend time with you... being there.

I've recently been a little discouraged by the actions and choices of those around me. Earlier this week God shed a little light on the subject for me. I found it extremely helpful, and wanted to share it with you.

Maybe you've had those same feelings of disappointment and hurt. The feeling of being let down, or taken advantage of. The feeling that people don't "get" you, or they just don't care. It hurts. In the words of my 4 year old, "That really hurt my heart."

A couple weeks ago, I paid a visit to the Goodwill store. My favorite! I always find the greatest things there for a fraction of what they are worth. Some people might eat when they're upset; I look for secondhand things. It's my weakness. This trip however, was planned for fun with my kids. I have passed on my love of "treasure hunting" to my children. We were having a use what you buy day. I love these days. Each of us gets 2 or 3 dollars to spend on whatever we want. Then we spend the rest of the day playing. We buy books, toys, movies, games. It's so much fun!

On this particular day, I found the entire BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) version of all of Jane Austen's books. An entire set! 6 movies in all! Talk about a prize! Some of these movies are very old; made as early as 1971. Many of these movies were televised series lasting as long as 5 hours. We're talking hours of entertainment.

Goodwill sells their DVDs for $3 apiece. However, I made a friend that day, and he sold them to me for $2 each. God is always good!

Back to my point that I'm trying to make. The first movie I made it through was Northanger Abby. Do you realize God can speak to us through movies? If you listen, you can hear His voice everywhere.

Northanger Abby by Jane Austen BBC dvd

To give you some background, the picture above is of a young lady, Isabella, who is engaged to be married. She has just found out her fiancé doesn't have as much money as she would have liked, and it appears that she's on the lookout for a new man. We can only assume this is her motive. A militia man comes over and asks her to dance. One might think being an engaged woman, she would refuse the offer. As you can see from the picture, she seems more than willing to oblige him. Maybe even too willing...

Across the room, there is a judgment made between another couple. The woman, Catherine Morland, is the sister of the poor fiancé. And the man, Henry Tilney, is the brother of the militia man who asked the woman to dance.

Here is the conversation that struck me. Miss Morland, the sister, is speaking, "I suppose your brother saw Isabella sitting down, and fancied she must wish for a partner."

To which Mr. Tilney replies, "How little trouble it costs you to understand other people's motives."

"What do you mean?" a confused Miss Morland.

"Well, with you it isn't what would make so-and-so behave in such a way, it's what would make me behave in such a way."

This line made such a big impression on me. In the movie, Miss Morland, very naively believes the friend could not dance with the man for any reason but one with the purest intentions. It's what she would have done in the situation. However, the truth of the situation was, Isabella broke off her engagement to find a more suitable husband for herself, one with more wealth.

We always see things with our own eyes, through our own point of view. It's so hard to step outside of that. I am constantly reminded of this fact, and I love to hear it said in a variety of ways. I need the refresher.

So many times we feel slighted by a friend because we know our own intentions. We are only seeing the situation from our own motives. We know what would cause us to act a certain way, so we put that onto others.

Everyone has been raised so uniquely different. None of us are the same. Even those of us from the same family are different and have been brought up with separate feelings.

Something that seems huge in our minds maybe be small in others. I'll give an example for what I mean. To me, commitment is one of the biggest priorities in my life. I was taught growing up that a yes meant yes, and a no meant no. If you said yes, no matter how much sacrifice and dedication it took, you would follow through. For me to not follow through on something that I say would mean the absolute worst has come about. Nothing would keep me from it, unless I was feeling extremely malicious. You would not believe how many commitments I have kept even in the midst of anger. My word can be bondage, an obsession to say the least.

So on the flip side of that, if someone breaks a commitment to me, I feel as if death is upon me. I see if from my point of view. How could that person stab me in the back? It doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. To some it's just a word. It's like a maybe or a probably. There is room for negotiation.

We all understand and interpret our world differently. We cannot possibly assume that we all will react in the same way to everything.

So the next time that you feel slighted or treated badly, stop and think about it from all possible perspectives. For the most part, your friends and family are all doing their very best to love you. Their idea of love may be different than yours. We all have different weaknesses and temptations. While it might feel like it's done very intentionally and purposefully, that may not be the case for the person. We have to stop feeling from our own perspective.

"There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears." Philippians 1:6

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