Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Wasting Yourself

Reading about Johnny Football hanging out with King James: “"When the opportunity was brought to me, I just told him (Manziel) if he's willing to listen to my advice, I was willing to give it," James said. "I was texting him weekly, before the games and after the games. I didn't know it would lead to us being together with business, but I was happy to help." If he is willing. Just. So.

How much energy and resources have we wasted on seeking to Be There for people who demonstrably don’t want us to do so? I say “demonstrably” because where we most often err are with those people who say they wanted our help to learn or change or grow but whose behaviors screamed: “I’m not really interested or willing.” But there we were pouring out whatever life and light we had … on a disinterested mind and heart. You’d think once we saw that all we had poured out for their sake wasn’t seeping in we’d get the hint, but, nooooo, we redouble our efforts! When we do this not only are we wasting the resources God has given us, we are robbing those who are willing and who actually want whatever it is we have to offer.  

Think of Jesus calling Peter to follow him, Peter saying, No Thank You, and Jesus still coming around every day seeking to teach him, and help him with his fishing business. Not going to happen. Christ gave himself to people who followed after him, to those who sought to be and do what he called them to. The “willing” people were the one’s who got his on-going attention.

Sometimes people start out all gung-ho and such but after realizing that learning and changing takes a great deal of sacrifice and work, they begin backing away. Imagine Peter saying, “Yes, I will follow you”, but then, a year later, saying, “Never mind. All that, ‘eat my flesh and drink my blood’ stuff, freaked me. I am out of here.” Maybe Jesus would have gone around a few times to check in with Peter, maybe had John do the same. What He wouldn’t do is give himself as much to Peter as he was to the disciples who remained with him. His mindset was, those who continue to hunger and thirst, get my life. Those who don’t, don’t.

Where this analogy breaks down is that—shock—none of us are Jesus, so we are not someone that all people need to heed. Your not wanting to learn from me or have my support in your quests is not necessarily an indictment against you. In fact, I make it a practice to never allow myself to think along those lines. If you don’t want me to Be There for you, then my thinking is, “I hope and pray you find people who can serve you on your quest,” and then watch out for those who want me to do so.

Of course, it took me years and years of wasting my resources to learn this. My thinking was that you could love people into changing and learning. Keep Being There, no-matter-what, and he or she will see the light. Maybe. Sometimes. Rarely. Usually, however, if they aren’t willing, if they don’t listen, if you are doing most all of the reaching-out, if they rarely take any of your advice and recommendations and run with them, then they don’t see you as someone from whom they can learn: no matter what they may be saying to you. Again, don’t think of this in terms of an indictment against either of you, just a sign telling you to pull back and move on to those who are willing.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2013

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