I’ve made it about me

Nursing affords me a lot of time to read, and frequently what I read are blogs.  One blog I’ve been introduced to has really got me thinking about how I bring the Kingdom of God to others, especially this one about interacting with the poor.

Right now, my audience for the Kingdom of God is one.

My one

I show him love with frequent diaper changes, long nursing sessions, and silly faces.  Some days, my audience of one is enough, but then I realize there is a whole world out there – full of somebody else’s “one.”

Taking care of Henry, Ted, and my house is good, but I know that this insular existence is not what God has in mind for me.  He wants me to reach out and be kind, be friends with people unlike me.

And that is where it stops for me – the knowing, but not the doing.  I am fortunate to live in a diverse neighborhood, a neighborhood we chose because we could get to know people who live much differently than we do.  But here we are, 6 months later, and we’ve only met the affluent couple who own their house (they are very nice).  I don’t know anyone in either of the apartment complexes across the street.  Now, you might say, “Give yourself a break!  You just had a baby.  You’ve been adjusting.”  Well, I am still adjusting and will always be adjusting, so I don’t think that is a good excuse any more.

I just don’t know where to start.

For a while, I searched online to find places where I can use my gifts conveniently with the plus one of a baby.  But after reading Jessica’s blog, I’ve realized that I need to cultivate a life of “interruptibility.”  A life made vulnerable to new relationships and the needs of those people, not something I was necessarily planning to give.

Yet, I sometimes hope I can join a very organized, very regimented effort to help others.  Something that can be done on the first Saturday of the month that doesn’t require much of my time or cause me any heartache.  Something that still keeps me separate from others, safe in my little world where my biggest concern is laundry.  Something that doesn’t require me to involve my heart in the lives of others.  I like things planned and organized, something to make me feel like I’m doing something to help others.  And I think that’s the problem.  I don’t really want to help the poor.  I want to feel like I am.

Believe me, I was very disturbed to learn that this is the truth.  But it is. True.  My desire to help the poor is about me and not them.  It is about “should do” and not “want to do.”  It is about pride and not love.

So, how do I make it about love?

For me, making a relationship with someone, being kind to them, being their friend and allowing them to be mine is probably the best way to make it not about me.  But then, my introverted little self thinks, “I can’t just go talk to someone and introduce myself into their lives.” And I hear a whisper from God, saying, “Exactly.  You can’t do that, but I can.”

I’m still afraid and have no plan.  But maybe that’s exactly as it should be.

7 thoughts on “I’ve made it about me

  1. “I don’t really want to help the poor. I want to feel like I am.” Nailed it. I feel the same way; I just don’t want to admit it or do anything about it. Lord, forgive me! Our TND groups is dwindling, and we’ve talked about doing more in our neighborhood, too…maybe we can have TND with our neighbors. 🙂 Thanks, Megan.

    • I think a TND group for your neighborhood is right up your alley! Ted and I have thought about just grilling a bunch of hamburgers on our front porch and inviting people to chat, but of course that is just a thought. Thinking and doing are two different things.

  2. Megan, what a lovely post. I’ve just started blogging and I admit, I’m sometimes hesitant to get my words out there because I don’t know how they’ll sound, but I’m so glad God is teaching me some things and I love to share what I’m always, always learning. Your post made me a little teary today. I was a young nursing mom too when we started Hill Tribers and I have never felt like I was doing enough, but looking back, it looks like a lot more than I ever thought. I am blessed to have some wise older women in my life, so I’ll pass on what I’ve learned from them: Be gentle with yourself in these early years because they are tedious and you feel like you’re never doing enough. The desire to help is the most important thing, I think. I prayed that God would bring me illegal immigrants into my life after reading a lot about immigration issues, but God brought along Burmese refugees. Not what I planned, but God was waiting for me to pray and to be ready. I look forward to seeing where this journey leads you! Thank you so much for blessing me today!

    • Jessica,
      Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and respond with encouragement. Reading your blog challenges me, pushing me not just to have the desire to help, but actually do something about it. Thank you for consistently writing thought-provoking material. Since I quit my job to take care of my little guy, I’ve felt a bit lost. I used to teach and tutor writing at an urban community college. I genuinely loved those students, from the fifty-year-old woman who just divorced her husband and is ready to begin her life anew to my sweet little teenagers who feel like no one cares about them. Now my life is different and I don’t have contact with people from all walks of life anymore. I think I need to pray that God will bring someone different in my life, but I think I also need to pray that he will give me the courage to respond. I’m a bit shy, so meeting new people is very difficult for me (but perhaps that is how God will work – in my weakness). How do you go about meeting and falling in love with others in your neighborhood?

      • Man, that is a huge question and one we’re still trying to answer. In my neighborhood, I’m not very good at it and wish I were better. With the hill tribers, I can honestly say it happened because we pursued it pretty hard. We showed up and hung out, a lot, until we got to know them well enough to start something. It took a LONG time, though. I always felt impatient. It’s easy to act like we just up and decided to do this, but it’s been years of heartbreak and getting in there to feel like we did anything. Praying, listening and moving when the time was right–it’s hard to describe, but it does come. And you’re at the HARDEST time with kids, in my experience! They get so much more interesting the older and more active they get!

        Btw, did you know I went to ACU? And that we’ve worked with Fred at Village of Hope to sell products at our fair trade festival?

      • It’s good to know that it is hard, and that you just have to put yourself out there in uncomfortable places. I think I just needed to hear someone else say that it’s not easy and it takes a lot of time. My goal is to just meet the people on my block. Not sure how to do that other than door knocking, but my husband and I are working on a plan.

        Henry just turned 3 months. I’m enjoying it, but I also feel a little tied to the house, making sure he’s getting enough sleep. He’s already become so much more expressive and fun…I can’t wait for it to continue.

        I have heard your name before because I went to ACU as well. I’m good friends with Laura Daulton (nee Rich), and I understand that her sister Jenny works with Hill Tribers as well. I didn’t realize it until I saw a picture of Jenny on your blog! And that makes perfect sense that you’ve worked with Fred. They have some beautiful crafts. I know because I came home with a bunch of stuff from Ghana!

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