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It’s been a while since I’ve been on this thing and I figured it’s time to dust off the cobwebs. This summer I feel like God has really been teaching me the value of patience and learning to show others grace especially through my relationships with my family. This spring semester was probably one of the roughest and busiest of my life between academics, extracurriculars and serving and there’s no way I could’ve gotten through it without God. I remember being so happy when I took my last final and was on the way home. I told myself that when I got home, that it was going to be time for myself, my “off season”. This would be the time where I could focus only on myself and have time to relax and de-stress and not worry about anything or anyone. I wanted “me” time and just time to be mindless. Whenever anyone (specifically my parents) interrupted that time, I got really frustrated and bitter. I was so selfish and tired that I not only neglected my relationship with my parents, but my relationship with God.

In my case, I was unwilling to give up my time. I thought that serving at school was enough and that I had deserved this time off and I was entitled to this solitude, but the Bible tells us to deny ourselves and pick up our cross daily and that means being willing to give anything and everything to Him. It means being willing to make certain sacrifices if He calls you to, even if it means inconveniencing yourself. So really, there is no “off season”. There isn’t a time where you can tell God, “not today” or “don’t ask me to give this up God”. You can have anything else, just let me keep this for myself”. One thing that God calls us to do is to love our neighbors as ourselves and it sounds so simple and so easy, but it’s really not. It’s really hard to love others especially because whether people intend to or not, they do so many things to annoy you or hurt you no matter how much they love you. It’s in our nature to do so as sinners. Taking all this into account, I sit here and think, “What’s the point? Why do this? Why should I love these people if all they’re going to do is annoy me or cause me grief?” But then I remember, I’m guilty of doing the exact same thing. I hurt people too. I annoy people and make poor decisions and judgments. I upset the people I love and care about and who love and care about me as well. Knowing all of this and how much of a jerk I am, God still loves me anyway. Jesus didn’t say, “Oh snap, I’m not gonna save this kid. He’s the biggest scrub in the world”. Jesus still died for me and saved me even though He knew how much of a scrub I was.

I’m not going to sit here and say now everything has changed and now I love everyone and I’m everyone’s best friend, but knowing what Jesus did makes it a heck of a lot easier. Taking a look back at myself and realizing just how sinful and selfish I am and knowing that God loves me still makes loving others that much easier. If there’s one thing that I’ve been reminded this summer it’s that everyone deserves to be shown love and grace.

We love because he first loved us

1 John 4:19

-derk

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