Updated: May 23, 2019
"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."- Winston Churchill
“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway."- Mother Theresa
I feel like a big part of growing up- aka "adulting"- is learning how to give instead of take, learning how to contribute instead of expecting others to always fulfill your needs. As a child, people are always looking out for you. A child's job is to play, learn, and grow. But as we grow up, we realize that life is bigger than our imagination inside our mind. We have a duty to pay to society, we need to contribute to others' around us. Even when other's mess up, we can't just carry grudges or run away, we have to keep giving and forgiving over and over again.
Sometimes American media tricks us into believing we should "play like kids as long as we can"-take care of ourselves first, and strive to have everything we want. But we quickly become selfish people and we realize what we have will never be enough. I think that's partially because- God didn't create us to fulfill our own needs an desires. He created us to serve others. He created us to love, to give, to sacrifice- in the image of Him.
I've realized recently that for most of my life, I've lived for myself. I've made decisions and based friendships off of what I wanted, what I believed I deserved. I've given- when I felt it was convenient or when my heart's emotions felt tugged. Even coming to Kenya, although I wanted to help other people, was a selfish decision in many ways because I wanted adventure, I wanted change, healing, and a new nursing experience.
But God is merciful with us even when we are selfish and He still offers us opportunities to grow and change and learn. I don't want to live for myself anymore. Living for yourself is lonely and we can never fulfill ourselves with materials or even adventures apart from God. I want to learn to live for God generously and maturely.
I want to become a contributer to society.
I want to know what it means to give more then what I take.
I want to understand my duty to my family, my community, and my neighbors.
Just yesterday I was doing a home visit to a family that was extremely poor and HIV positive. I remember being tired and not in the best mood. The house was full of flies and I felt hot and dirty. I was not feeling generous. I was not feeling grateful. I remember hoping that we could be done soon so I could leave... and then finally it was time to go. Before getting on my motorcycle the mother rushed back into the house to get something out of a bag. "This is for you" she said and put into my hand a pink new blanket (shuka). I didn't want to accept her gift but I knew that she wanted me to have it.. She didn't have very much and yet she had given me something very nice out of the generosity from her heart.
I feel like it was a slap in the face from God to wake up from my own slumber and be more attentive to the people around me. I don't want to be the "white girl" that is too busy worrying about the flies or the dirt to notice people's needs around them. I want to live unselfishly and learn to open my eyes and actually love people like Jesus did.
Yet again Kenya has reminded me how selfish I am and how much I need Jesus to help me more.