This blog post was originally published on tumblr.
I had always hoped to be the kind of person that people can count on. The friend that picked up every 2 AM phone call. The sister that was present in the darkest seasons. The mentor that was willing to extend love and grace when others retreated. The person who made people feel loved and accepted. I had always hoped that at the end of my life, people would be able to stand up and share stories of how I contributed to their life and to who they are. I guess it would be good to know that my life was not lived in vain.
It’s not that I still don’t hope to be these things for people. Or even that any of it (at its core) is a bad thing. It is a good and beautiful thing to steward lives and relationships well. But I guess this past year I’m realizing that if at the end of my life, people testify about me and how I was there or how I made them feel etc., then the aim of my life was far too short and temporary. How disappointing to think that my life and my service was about me.
There is great reward in being a mentor to many. But if I’m honest, most of that reward goes to me and not Jesus. I’m realizing that as long as people are coming to me first, they are not learning to go to Him. And as long as they are seeking me for answers, they miss out on the infinite joy of hearing beautiful truths from God Himself or finding it in His Word and in prayer. Being a mentor may seem culturally normal and right, but I think positioning people to learn how to be mentored by the Holy Spirit is rich and lasting.
I met up with a younger sister the other day who has been going through some of the hardest things anyone should ever have to go through. After making a few hard and regretful decisions, she asked me what she should do. And while I was tempted to give her advice and share my two-cents about the situation, it felt necessary that the only answer I could give was to tell her to sit with the Lord and asked Him what He thinks she should do. She was slightly frustrated because she wanted an answer. I was slightly frustrated because I wanted to give her one, too. But whether or not I had an answer, I felt the Lord say that it wasn’t mine to give.
I guess I believe most of our breakthroughs come from spending time with the Lord and learning His heart more than it comes from the actual answer we seek. Maybe I could’ve given her an answer. And maybe it could’ve saved her some time of struggling and wrestling. And maybe it would’ve increased her likelihood to confide in me next time. But what good is any of that if the Lord had no part in it? For I would have only robbed the Father of an opportunity to sit with His child once again and to show Himself as the answer she seeks. I walked away from that conversation wishing I could’ve given her more. But I also can’t help but think that giving her a moment with the Lord is infinitely more than the sum of a million answers from me.
If you asked me a year ago what I hoped the narrative at the end of my life would be, I may have said something along the lines of, “That people could say that in their hardest and darkest and happiest and confusing seasons, I was there with them through thick and thin.” But if you asked me today, I would only hope that people would say that in their hardest and darkest and happiest and confusing seasons, I did nothing more but point them to the Father. And in doing so, the entire narrative would be endless stories of how they discovered a life in which the Father was and is always with them through thick and thin. How He was a God they could count on. How He’d answer everytime and anytime they would call on Him - even at 2 AM! How He constantly extended love and grace when others retreated. And how His love and acceptance completely turned their life upside-down. The former makes me look and feel like a really good and mature Christian. Haha. But I think the latter raises up a generation of mature Christians who know and seek their Father.
Wowza. To live in a way where Christ in me, and not me, would be the hope of glory. To live for His name, and not my own, is the only way to not live in vain.