How much, not how many...

For Christmas, a friend of mine got me a car magnet that says: “The more people I meet, the more I love my dog.” (Thank you Ginny) It completely fits me, because I am a dog lover. But also, and I truly don’t mean to make light of this, people really just exhaust me. (And I don’t necessarily mean to blame others for this exhaustion… I take the blame, so to speak, for most of it.) One of my biggest prayers for my own self-growth, is that God break my heart for other people, as it is for animals. I know animals are important to God (Genesis 1:24); but not like His people; His children. And while my dogs are my children, I somehow don’t think God sees it quite the same. He created us in His image, not them. (Genesis 1:26)

I have never been very outgoing; I’ve always been shy and reserved. And truth be told, I have a lot of insecurities about how others perceive me; so when I spend time with others, even my closest friends, I often am wondering in the background, what they’re thinking of me, what I’m saying and what I’m doing. I’m not proud of this fact; and it’s something I am working desperately to overcome (with the help of Jesus). I find myself not participating or attending events because I don’t think I’m really wanted there; or I won’t say or do the right thing... I keep much of my thoughts and most all of my feelings to myself for fear of annoying, aggravating or even just inconveniencing the person listening. (The list goes on). So you see, it’s not the people that exhaust me, it’s me that exhausts me.

And the guilt settles in…One of my biggest fears with people, believe it or not, isn’t so much that they won’t accept me (though don’t get me wrong—I do want to be accepted), but that they won’t accept my Jesus, because of how I portray Him (and I whole-heartedly admit that I am not the best representation of Him). I feel guilty for being that lousy representation around others. And I feel guilty for not wanting to spend more time with others to represent Him. This is the where the exhaustion comes in. Do I or don’t I? Do I risk my less than perfect depiction of Jesus and go and be; or do I remain behind the scenes where only He and I know all my faults? I, more often than not, choose the latter; and I’ll tell you why. Yes, it’s more comfortable; but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. Obviously, not everything you are called to do for Christ will be comfortable; but I also don’t think He intends for us to be miserable while serving Him. He made each of us differently; and gave us each different talents and gifts. Some people just simply enjoy being with others; they make friends easily, and enjoy mingling and socializing. I am not one of those people (but extremely jealous of those that are!) 1 John 4:12: “…But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.” This is a reminder that we not only need to be loving others, but that God’s love lives inside of us; meaning, how we love others, not how many others we love, is what matters most. You don’t have to be the social butterfly to show God’s love; the quiet caterpillar can also exude His love. The more people you connect with doesn’t mean you have a better connection.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever step out of our comfort zone. God will call us to be uncomfortable; a lot. But He’s going to use you to your best ability, through and for Him. We don’t need to feel guilty because we aren’t doing or being more for God; if we’re doing and being our best for God. (1 John 3:20) God is all-knowing and all-loving. He knows the motives behind our actions (and love is an action). He knows how much love we have to give to as few or as many people as we have to give it to. Remember, it's how much, not how many...


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