some lessons I'm learning.

After my hard week last week, I knew that something needed to change.  God is teaching me a lot these days.  Here are a few of my lessons this week, brought about through various conversations, devotions, prayers, and reading my Bible.

This week I was very intentional about remembering God in everything that I did.  
I mean, obviously, God is the reason I'm here in Chicago - to serve Him and to love people with His love - but it can be easy to forget that as I go about my day-to-day life and get caught up in doing things.  
And I certainly don't want to forget that!  So this week I worked really hard to stay in constant prayer, to keep my focus on Him, and to remember that even the hard things are done for Him.  It's amazing what an attitude change can do!

My biggest prayer was that I could be filled with His love so that it would overflow onto everyone that I encountered.  
Obviously, it's a big task.

"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."  John 13:34-35

But I went grocery shopping with one of my Elders who is blind.  As you can imagine, this is a pretty difficult undertaking.  As we walked through the aisle of the store, I explained what was down that aisle and she told me if she needed anything there.  So, like, when she needed tomatoes, I told her "they have three different kinds of tomatoes and they are x, y, and z."  I told her how much each kind was, how many were in the package, and then she wanted to touch each one.  
So yeah, filling a whole shopping cart like this could be a fairly frustrating task.  
But I remembered why I was doing it.  
"This is what loving people looks like" I reminded myself over & over.  
And whenever I felt myself getting annoyed or feeling rushed, I prayed and asked God for help.  And He was faithful to provide me with patience, with abounding love, and joy as we walked around that store.  
I know that without Him, that could have been a hard day, but with Him, it wasn't at all - I actually enjoyed it!

I was reminded in my devotions early this week that Jesus is the best friend I could ever have, so I also made a conscious effort this week, whenever I felt lonely, to spend time with God.  
So, for example, this weekend when my roommates were both out and I was home alone wishing I had a friend to go out with too, I got out my Bible and read.  
I've found that turning to the Scriptures in my hard times makes me feel so much better.  It reminds me about what is important (God) and why I'm doing what I am (God) and how unimportant the rest is.

Early this week, I got a parking ticket that will cost me $50.  That's half of my money for the month of November gone before the month even started.  At first I was pretty upset about that.  But when I opened up my Bible after I got home, I was reminded in Matthew 6:24 that "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."  

Wow.  Okay, then.  Talk about putting me in my place.  I don't need that money for anything.  I was looking to it to provide me with fun, totally putting it on a pedestal and treating it as an idol.  I accepted that lesson and spent more time in prayer about it.  I wasn't happy about it by any means, but I accepted it.  And then randomly on Friday, I got a check from someone I don't even know in the mail.  Guess how much it was for?!  $50.  Yup.


Pray that I continue to learn and that I'm open to God's teaching.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.  

Lamentations 3:22-23