living for others

TeaI’ve been thinking a lot lately about living for others. I know that’s what we are taught in Sunday School, this sweet “share your toy” sort of living for others, but I’m realizing that it (obviously) looks much different. It’s a ferocious kind of lifestyle that fights for others, a generous sacrificial one that gives all he has, an intentional one that listens well and so much more. This isn’t a new concept for me but I think it’s becoming more true in me. I journeyed into YWAM (youth with a mission) to do missions a few years ago, but looking back– in a lot of ways it was more for me. More so I could see Iceland, or have an experience. Which none of that is wrong necessarily, but when that becomes our sole motivation it’s a bit dangerous — but more on that maybe another time.

So what does it look like to lead a lifestyle dedicated to loving those around us? “Simply put: love does.” says Bob Goff. This implies action. Love is moving, fluid, with arms outstretched.

I’ve been inspired to take action. I don’t only want live this sort of lifestyle, but  to take note and display those around who already are. I have a friend who works for an organization that gives free psychiatric care  to veterans suffering from PTSD. I have another friend who has recently sold everything and moved to a tiny village in Uganda to serve at an orphanage. And another who recently set out to visit safe homes harboring women rescued from sex trafficking in six or so different countries. I could go on and on. These aren’t just people I’ve heard of from others, but people I know.

Now, in order to display love or “live for others” (although incredible and necessary) I don’t believe you must move over seas to an under-developed country and help the destitute. I was having dinner with my friend who works for the non-profit helping veterans, Keri, and we were mulling this topic over. So often “doing good for others” creates this category of people in desperate need, those suffering from starvation, needing clothes, shelter, water, etc. These are basic needs that absolutely need to met. But do you ever wonder, just like in any system, the people in-between? Someone may not be dying of starvation, but they could be suffering from the emotional trauma of never being accepted, or maybe a child has food, water and shelter but needs a bike. They may not need a bike for survival but something of the sort to restore to them their childhood. This is still something I’m still mulling over, but I do believe it’s an area that needs attention.

This thought process is much too long for a simple blog post which is why I wanted to kickstart a journey to tell others stories and inspire people to live for others.

Until then, I (double dog) dare you to love on one person today. Not just your spouse, friend or family, but a stranger. Compliment someone, help someone carry their drinks to their table at Frothy, buy the person behind you in line’s meal/drink–heck, buy their groceries!

Rhythm

“There is a rhythm, a movement back and forth in the way He created the world and its systems. The ocean swells and undulates, we inhale and exhale. An infant requires rhythm of attention (stimulation) and rest. Our spiritual lives are much the same. We as individuals and communities must move in rhythms of inward experience (winter, fall) to outward expression (spring, summer)——from intimacy to changing the world around us, or from hidden to known. Lately the change undergoing Grace Center and church bodies elsewhere seems to be this transition from inward focus on healing & intimacy to outward —- outreach & empowerment. In order to sustain this move we must keep the healing while moving. I feel God speaking that the transition we (Felicia & I) are undergoing is of the same kind.” -Tyler wrote this just before we left for Iceland and it left such and impression and I’ve been pondering over it throughout this trip to Iceland. I think that’s what Papa showed us both through refreshment, rest and releasing—-that it’s a new season of “exhaling” for us. Beautiful.

Virginia is for lovers: live passionately.

The beauty that surrounds us in our own town, and space goes unnoticed until someone comes for a visit. At least, that’s how I feel when friends point out the rolling hills in Tennessee or the wide open spaces out in the country. It’s as if you see what you pass everyday through a new lens. These past few days, I’ve been the visitor in Virginia beach & Norfolk, VA enjoying the little things that locals may pass by. I went for a walk around the quaint little area in Norfolk close to where I was staying. Above are the photos of all the little gems I found.