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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

My heart is sad

Dear God, help me not be critical. Not today. Not tonight. Not tomorrow. Not ever.

The last two mornings I have been working on my inventory. (This is going to be an ongoing statement for about two months.) I am answering the “who have you been critical of and why” question. That has been pretty brutal. I am critical of a lot of people. The common denominator has been that they have something I don’t. Jealousy inspires most of my criticism. Thankfully, I am not near as critical as I used to be. Before I came up with that common denominator I thought that the common denominator was I was legalistic and the people I was judging were not.

However, jealousy seems to be my biggest problem. My heart is so much different than it was 28 months ago when I came to NJ. Here I was handed a servant’s towel. I am so glad I was handed a servant’s towel. I have been allowed to serve at some other churches, too; but this is the first one where they developed and invested in me. Where they were not afraid of what was on the inside of me. Where they actually believed God might use me to change the world. Maybe the biggest difference between this time and all the other times is I was willing to give all of myself or at least attempt to do so.

Today in class I had a friend tell me that at her church you have to take like a year of classes before you are able to serve on any level. It appeared even as a greeter. Apparently it is taught one must grow spiritually first, get to know God first, study scripture first. “But can’t they set up chairs?” I asked.

“We have like 7,000 people in a service. We don’t need to set up chairs.”

(Inside I was so thankful there were chairs to set up at my church.) “But how do people grow spiritually without serving?”

“How would they [new believers] know who they were serving? What if they were serving the wrong thing?”

The conversation continued for a few minutes, but had me sad for hours. One more church where this cracked vessel would never have been accepted. It seemed to me that forbidding a new believer to serve was setting them up for spiritual atrophy at the start. I am still sad.

There are so many mixed emotions in my day. I was reminded earlier today of the person I was a year ago. Tonight I am definitely not the person I would like to be, but at least I am not the person I was. My list of people I am critical of is very long. It is filled with people I love. I know my criticism is partial defense mechanism, but how could have I? One girl even had listed as the reason I am critical of her, “She annoys me because she likes me…. I like and trust her, and criticalness is a defense mechanism against the trust.” How could I?

My hope is in Jesus because even my best attempts at this love thing suck. I am also going through anxiety over having become too comfortable where I am. There are too many places here where I am starting to feel at home. Soon people will actually know me. I am a bit nervous because two and a half months from now I have lived here longer than anywhere else. Last time I bolted. I am not going to bolt this time, right? I am a different person now, worshiping my Creator not an addiction. But a part of me is scared. I have felt this coming on for several months. It looms over my head. I need to find some people who will promise to come and get me if I bolt! Where would I bolt to? I have nowhere to go. I have no dreams.

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him…. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:2-5, 12-17

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