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Lessons from Hummingbird Rehab

"Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things." -Lao Tau

Lately, I have been pondering what it looks like to be one who can love people well; not just in a cliche way but in an actual way. In a way where people feel they can be who they are and where they are and all of them will be met with compassion and grace. I want people around me to feel valued and wanted. Wanting something and reality are sometimes two different things. I have been praying God would conform me more into His image. As it turns out, that isn't feeling very good right now. The truth I keep being amazed by is God has seen the messy places all along and has still allowed me to work alongside Him. He doesn't love me because He didn't see it; He loves me in spite of those places that still need His tender touch. His love is unaffected by what I am newly made aware of.

With the Renovare Institute, we have been doing quite a bit of work with God on our inner lives. Whew! It's been a bit like looking in the mirror after a formal event and realizing you have something in your teeth highlighted by crimson lipstick. I guess if you're a guy, it's like having something in your mustache. As we all have, I have experienced the wounding that comes from living among the wounded. In case this comes across as too poetic, I simply mean living on this earth with other people. That's hard. It's hard to live with people. I've been finding out I am also a people and living with me can also be hard at times.

In the past several months, I have seen more blindspots than I care to count and it makes me wonder what else there is I am not seeing.  I am also excited. These things God is bringing to light have acted like invisible fences keeping me from being able to freely love, give of myself and get out from behind my walls and into the space of another.  They've been the invisible fences of self-protective ways, indifference, distance and judgments meant to keep myself safe at the expense of others. I am slightly leery of what I may find but also know God only reveals to heal and healing is what I want for myself and others.

                                                  Canva Design DAF8PfpCoaA

I am also finding the fences may have been more invisible to me than to others. Questions like, "Do I seem to you...."" get answered with a reverberating, "Yes!!" and then a flow of words on how it has been hurtful. When that is the response, I sometimes wish you could take back words really quickly. Sometimes elephants feel easier than reality. I've been learning that these words are what bring new life to relationships and slay the elephants in the room so there is relational room to breathe.  I'm always kind of hoping for a "No, I have no idea what you are talking about." However, if it's something God is bringing to light, it is probably a problem. His goal is always restoration and healing. To receive the gift of those two things requires us to live in reality. God is healing relational things I didn't even know were broken. Just because I didn't see the cracks didn't mean they weren't there. 

I'm beginning to realize that this breaking and humbling that is currently happening is ultimately what I want. I wanted to float into loving other people well, but I am finding it requires something of me. It requires me to allow God into those spaces I have crafted for myself that make me feel safe. It requires me to look at the ways I use people instead of love them or look for something from them I should only be finding in God. There are ways I try to manipulate my world so it works for me and sometimes without regard for the people I love. A sharp voice because I'm being interrupted, indifference because I'm tired and don't want to talk, displayed frustration when asked to do something because my day is already full and the list goes on keep me from loving how I want to. I am finding I want to love people more, but often it is me I love. These are the ways of being that hurt those around me.

I have been asking God how to love people well. I know what I want, but I don't know how to truly get there. I am just so in the way. Laying in bed, I was looking for a light-hearted read and came across the book The Fastest Thing on Wings by Terry Masear. The book is not a typical read for me because it's about birds. To be exact, it's a book about rehabilitating hummingbirds. Birds are nice, but my interest is much higher in a lot of other things. I felt unusually prompted to buy the $1.99 deal. Curiosity filled my mind as I pushed the 'buy' button and waited for the book to download. When I swiped to the front page I saw it. "Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things."  The words on the page jumped out at me and I knew it was why I bought the book. I had my answer. The way to love and care well for others is to surrender ourselves humbly. Again and again and again...