Remembering my vitamins is hard...

12/15/2019 days in the Canadian wilderness is hard, a week at camp with Jr High kids is hard, childbirth is hard, teaching a teenager to drive is hard, remembering my grocery list is hard, folding a fitted sheet is hard, sticking to a budget is hard. But you know what's really hard?
THIS. This right here.

"But I say to you who hear, 'Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.'"  Luke 6:27-36

There is nothing in these verses that get me off the hook from doing something really hard. Something that goes against my human nature. To do something that doesn't get you promoted in the ladder of society. Personalizing these verses didn't make it any easier to carry out, but it did make it easier to understand what it may look like in my day to day life.

"Johnna, those who hurt you, who say mean things about you, who don't return love, but instead show you a bad attitude, disrespect and selfishness--keep praying for them. Keep loving them. Keep pouring out and giving and helping and showing you care. Move in closer, show compassion, and don't quit loving them when it gets even harder to do so. When you love those who love you back, it's not risky. You're not chancing getting hurt or misunderstood, yelled at, or rejected. When you give to those who you know will give back, there's no risk there either. No risk of losing money, goods, love, kindness, relationship. There's no benefit to that. No credit to your name. The playing field is even and the bank account is balanced. BUT, when you take a risk, giving to those who probably won't pay you back, when you are kind to those who are mean and have hurt you, and when you love on the unlovable---that is credited to your account. That is what gets you a reward. That is being like your Father--who took a risk, knowing the cost, knowing what He was in for, but he did it anyway. That is being like Jesus. He was kind to all. Died for everyone. Generous to the ungrateful. Loving to the evil ones. Forgiving towards all those who put him on that cross. What good is it, Johnna, to just be kind to those who agree with you and groom your ego, making you feel good about yourself? That's easy. That's expected. But I'm asking you to be kind to and love those who disagree with you, who don't value the things you do, who are rude to you in the store, who don't appreciate the sacrifice you made for them, and those who don't understand why you made the decision you did. When you do that, then you'll be rewarded. You'll be blessed for being merciful--for having a tender and compassionate heart towards someone in need."

I thought to myself, "But, God, that's so difficult! And so risky! What if I'm rejected, not validated, not respected, not accepted, loved, understood, or shown compassion or kindness back?"

Immediately He reassured me......
"That's okay Johnna. You don't need that from people. That's what I'm here for. I fully know you and accept you. I understand and love you. Your identity comes from WHO I AM, not from what you've done. I alone, and no one else, can give you the validation your soul longs for. Trust that I am enough for all you need."

And with that, I felt bring up the hard conversation with my husband, to parent in a way that contradicts culture, to talk to the grumpy cashier, and to give unconditionally of my resources. There is nothing I can do that my God won't be there to pick up the pieces. And there is nothing I can give that my God hasn't already provided for. Even if the worst possible "what if" comes God will still be enough.

Who is difficult for you to love on and give mercy to right now?
How can you trust God and step forward into that hard thing, knowing He will be enough for all you need and long for?

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