The other day I did something that, to be honest, I haven't done in a pretty long time. I sat down with the bible and I opened it and I read. I read the first few chapters in the book of John. Now I know I probably shouldn't say things like this, but the fact that I hadn't read it in a long time, kind of made me look at it with new eyes. When I got to the middle of chapter 3, where John the Baptist's disciples are kind of annoyed that everyone is going to Jesus to get baptized instead of them, I was reminded of myself. John says to them:
“No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less."
I think John's disciples probably got really caught up in this awesome vision John had, of baptizing and preaching in order to prepare people for Christ's coming. Maybe they got so caught up in it, that their lives became all about the means--baptizing, instead of the end goal--pointing to Christ. So when this thing they lived for and found their identity in was taken away, it tore them up. I think that is where I am at. In the past, I have felt a very specific call on my life, to build relationships with people in poverty. Last year, living in Pine Ridge, I had so much time and room to do this and I felt so connected to God's desire for my life. So when we moved here, to Chattanooga, I thought all I have to do is fill my extra time with volunteering and relationships or something and I will feel that satisfaction again, I will feel connected to God. But it didn't happen. In fact, all it did was drain me and cause me to feel like I was constantly letting people down in every area of my life, so I had to let it go. The fact that I can't do the things I love and instead spend all my time at work or school drives me crazy! I think its because I've lost the things that I find my identity in. I'm almost positive that my intentions with volunteering and building relationships with people here weren't actually in order to show God's love, but simply to maintain my own understanding of who I am. I think I had good intentions in Pine Ridge, and I think it really was God who set in my heart the passions that led up to my time there. Somewhere since then, though, the means became its own ends. So, basically, I sympathize with John's disciples. I think John is reminding them that this is simply the way God chose for them to be his love at the time. I think I will always feel a draw to the things God has called me to, but maybe that is not what he has for my time here. I honestly don't know. Maybe he is just trying shout to me that I am not the things I do!