Monday, November 26, 2007

Hug Update #3 - the other two things.

Lesson Learned Number Three: Sharing God's love is like taking a really big happy pill.

When I returned from Wal-mart, I had what seemed like 72 bags to unload in the house and an unbelievable amount of groceries to put away. Remember, I had been there THREE hours without my kids! Mama did some serious shopping!

Normally, I would not be at all happy with this amount of work ahead of me. And since I was gone so long, my children were mysteriously happy to see me, thus planting themselves right under my feet as I tried to maneuver around my painfully small kitchen. But, you know what? I was ELATED! Literally walking on air. Skipping, no less!

Yes, I'll admit it. I skipped!

I found myself giddy. Smiling uncontrollably. Clapping my hands as I spoke (okay, I do that anyway, but still...) and finding not one single thing my kids did annoying or bothersome! I did not go over to Wal-mart on my mission to hug to personally get something out of it. But, boy howdy, did I reign in the joy! A joy that literally lasted for DAYS. I tell you what, folks, I'm addicted!

I like watching Joyce Meyer in the mornings and one thing that I have heard her say again & again is: While you're waiting around for God to bless you, get out there and bless someone else first. If you do this, God will bless you in ways you never imagined. This is so true! I did not see the blessing of God's joy coming my way. My mission started off small and simple, I was upset that hugging was being vilified by the overzealous politically correct and I wanted to do my part to counteract that.

My mission did turn into trying, not just to do something for the act of hugging in general, but for those people out there who may just be in need of a hug. What I ended up with was something for me in return. Now I'm going to get greedy. I want more of God's joy! But I can't just lay out my hands and ask for it, like some expectant child waiting for her toy. No, I must work for it. But that's okay, because this is work I'm happy to do!

Lesson Learned Number Four: I kind of missed the point.

I didn't understand the verse that was my inspiration as clearly as I thought:

"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other". ~ John 13:34, 35

While getting ready to leave for Wal-mart that day, (I figured since I was going to be soliciting hugs, I, at least, better shower) I wanted it to be evident in my appearance that I was doing the work of God. With the likes of Fred Phelps among us, I feel that Christianity sometimes gets a bad rap, so I wanted it to be clear: this was a Christian who was reaching out and being kind. I picked out my favorite bejeweled cross and strung it around my neck - however, while adjusting the length, it broke. No big deal, it was a simple fix. I took it downstairs with the intent of getting hubby's needle-nose pliers and fixing it. Well, one thing lead to another and before I knew it, I was heading out the door to start my mission.

It wasn't until talking to the last of my hug recipients that I reached up to feel my cross that was around my neck and I realized it wasn't there. I had forgotten to fix my necklace and put it back on! "Oh no!" I thought, "One of my main reasons for doing this was to get God's word out. How would anyone know that they were reached out to today by a Christian if I weren't wearing my cross!" I was a bit dismayed but, nonetheless, overjoyed about the hugs I had given/received that day. Over the next couple of days, I thought back over how I had forgotten to wear my cross and, sadly, felt like in some way, I had failed a certain part of my mission.

Then God made it clear to me:

"This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other".

Get it? I didn't. Not at first, anyway. It doesn't say, "when they see the cross you wear around your neck" or "the bumper sticker you have on your car" or "the t-shirt you're wearing". Which are all wonderful and I'll continue to display, but by THE LOVE. It's the love we show, the love we give out, the love we have for one another. THAT is how others will know we are God's disciples doing God's work. It's not about the uniform - it's about the heart, the attitude and, especially, the actions.

I think God broke my necklace! Okay, I don't mean to sound accusatory. I think God was happy with what I was taking on that day, but to some degree said, "Let me just fix one thing". Those three hours I spent in Wal-mart seeking out people to hug wasn't just ME doing something for THEM - it was about God doing something for me, afterall. I desperately want to grow as a Christian and, sometimes, become a bit frustrated at the sloth-like speed of which I am growing. I didn't want to sit around and wait to be blessed anymore. I wanted to be a blessing to someone else, so I was. And, as it turns out, God was setting ME up for a blessing all along.

He's kind of sneaky, huh? Okay, maybe not sneaky, but a pretty good strategist, wouldn't you say? Not only did I not have any idea this task would leave me feeling so elated, but I also didn't realize that I would finally get the chance to move up a few steps in my walk with Christ. How cool is that?

A hug. An easy, quick, painless hug. Something that is so simple, yet so powerful. There is so much inside the hug itself and so much more inside the people doing the hugging. I'll never take them for granted again, nor will I ever view them in the same way.

I will also never refrain from giving one or receiving one. I hope you don't either.


Laurel said...

Wow, do I get it! I love that feeling after having really served somebody else. A lot of people have asked what the heck I do, since as a Mormon I can't drink, smoke or do drugs; my answer: service and sugar highs. :0)

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