I recently began swimming, actually treading water, on a daily basis. I did this to try to increase my mobility and, frankly, to make Jackie happy. Honestly, I did it more to make Jackie happy than anything else.
How often do we make decisions because we think they will make someone else happy, meet someone else’s expectations, or so that somebody doesn’t get upset? If you are like me, human, it is more often than we like to admit to.
We humans are a strange breed. At the heart of things, we all just want peace in our lives. We spend an awful lot of time having opinions on how we would do things, how someone else needs to stand up and do the right thing no matter what that means for them and yet in our own lives, we muck things up by getting in our own way of standing upfor ourselves.
I don’t mean to say that we never stand up for ourselves or that we spend more time taking care of others than taking care of ourselves. I think there are even times when it might be better to be silent or go along with someone else’s wants because to do otherwise could cause harm. We learn about this in Genesis when the Lord speaks about Abraham this way, “I have chosen him for a reason, namely that he will carefully instruct his children and his household to keep themselves strong in relationship to Me and walk in My ways by doing what is good and right in the world and by showing mercy and compassion.” (Genesis 18: 19) We can do no better than that.
What happens to us when we do not do things for the right reasons? Do we feel good about what we have done? Are we better people? Do people know more about who we truly are? Is there a real peace about whatever the situation is? Do we grow through these experiences? Are we listening to what the Lord is calling us to speak or be?
Again, I think there can be more than one answer to some of these questions, not all, but some. I hear people ask if it is okay to do the wrong thing for the right reason. I think that depends on what the thing is and what the circumstances are. Sometimes we can diffuse a high emotional situation by agreeing to something we would not necessarily agree to normally just to settle the situation some. We can then later come back with what we really believe when conversation can be had without risking larger problems.
I also know that sometimes, when we do something to make someone happy, we can be gifted in ways we did not expect. Take my swimming for instance. I love getting in the pool, even if I really dislike how I look in a swimming suit. I haven’t noticed any big change in my mobility, but it feels wonderful to be in an upright position and to make walking motions without having spasms. It also gets Jackie away from her desk and we have some restful time together. I like that a lot. No I didn’t want to go to the pool, but I love that I am doing that on a daily basis.
I don’t condone doing or saying things for others as a healthy thing for any of us to do on the off chance that we might find that we will receive a gift somehow. I pray that we all listen to our hearts and listen to what or where the Lord is calling us to be. As we look at what the vision is for our Congregation, I pray that each of us will look at who we are today, what we would like to be doing, as individuals and as a Congregation, and where we would like to be in the next five, ten, or even twenty years, and ask the Lord to help us hear our calling as we move forward.
If it isn’t clear to you at this point, I swim for myself now, not for Jackie.Thank you for walking with each other as your UCH journey continues. -Chris L.