3 a : what one intends to do or bring about
I'm not sure exactly what I intended when I sat down yesterday to write about how heavy my heart has felt for the last two weeks. I felt like God was leading me to put into words what I had been experiencing and I was trying to follow through on that. I also was feeling very alone and thinking about others who might feel similarly alone. One way I think the church routinely fails is in its care for those who are suffering. That's largely borne from our own discomfort: we don't know what to say so we resort to platitudes or empty encouragement. We don't intend to wound or add to the person's pain, but our words can hurt more than heal. So I was thinking that if someone out there read my words and heard them as echoing some part of their own experience, that might be healing for them.
What I wasn't really thinking was that a lot of people would read my words. Since it had been a while since my last post and many people are wrapped up in post-election celebration or mourning, I assumed the post would be read by a few loyal friends. I didn't at all expect e-mails, texts or messages from friends and acquaintances encouraging me. I didn't expect God to use my honesty to show me how many people love me.
I don't use that word "love" lightly. Several friends who contacted me yesterday specifically mentioned that I am loved. This goes right to the heart of what I have been feeling. I have (perhaps always) believed myself to be unlovable. This is surely a result of my story and while I have tried to bury those feelings and move on, they are very much at the surface lately. As a result of studying the Enneagram and realizing I am a nine, I have come to see recently why people enjoy being around me. Nines are easy to be around. As Russ Hudson said, "No one can hang out like a nine." But there's a difference between being easy to be around and being loved. Do people find my company easy? I think so. Does that mean they love me? Not at all.
What God tried to show me yesterday through the responses to my blog post is that I am loved. Person after person took the time to text me, e-mail me, message me. I intended my post to perhaps someday comfort someone else. God intended it to help heal me. This is one of the crazy things about God. I rarely know what he is up to. I can't guess his intentions. I can't anticipate his next move. I can't even with certainty look back on past events in my life and know what I was meant to learn from them. I think there are two things I can do: respond when I feel him prompting me and trust that he is who he says he is.
The lessons God is trying to teach me right now are not easy lessons. I think he and I are pretty well past the things that are easy to learn like the alphabet, reading, addition and subtraction. Now we're on to reshaping the way I see myself, which is more like physics or graphing calculus equations on three axes. So I don't expect an overnight change in myself. What I do hope is that I will keep my eyes open to God's work and keep my heart willing to change, even when it is painful and scary.
If you were someone God prompted to contact me and encourage me yesterday, thank you. I continue to feel fear and trepidation, but also hope. Because perhaps God's intentions are kinder, gentler and more wonderful than I could ever imagine.