I like rain. I like standing in the pouring down rain in the middle of nowhere. I like the sound of rain. I like the smell of rain. I like the atmosphere of “cozy” that rain usually creates. I like it when it rains at the beach over the ocean. I like it when it rains to cool down a hot summer day. I really like rain. What I do not enjoy about rain, is how it always seems to start at the cuff of my jeans, and soak my pants from the ankle up. While living in Taiwan, I am undoubtedly learning a ton about how to walk in sandals in the rain, how to properly hold your umbrella in the rain, how to sit on a motorbike in the rain…etc etc. Though I have learned a lot, (through trial and massive error, no doubt) I still have one problem. It is a problem that I feel has plagued me for life, and one that has probably climbed its way up to the mountain of annoyance (not sure what that is, just made it up). It is a problem that is proving itself faithful throughout time and culture. What’s the problem?
Well, this is how the story usually goes: I see it’s raining and I am fully aware of my “problem”, so I prepare. I lean down to cuff my pants (none of this “80’s tight roll cuff” just a simple roll or 3 will do). I walk out the door, umbrella in hand. Five minutes later, my nicely cuffed jeans decide to unroll themselves and have now succumb to the vulnerability of the water drenched streets and sidewalks. At this point, dodging puddles isn’t very helpful because one can just as easily “kick up rain” while walking. So….now what? Yeah, I don’t know. Usually what ends up happening, is that I walk around the entire day with the bottoms of my pants wet, and because it is quite humid here in Taiwan, the bottoms of my pants never fully dry.
Inevitably, I get frustrated. I mean, I spent time rolling up the bottoms of my pants so meticulously, only for them to get soaked. The small to medium problem with this, is that in Taiwan there are many dogs and not a lot of grass. Are you imagining the picture that I am painting for you? So, when it rains…it is not only rain water that is kicking up on the bottom of my pants, but other “stuff” that has dried on the street and is now becoming re-hydrated. I will spare you all the details of this, but I am sure you get my point. (If not, I can elaborate later) Fun times.
Where am I going with this story/analogy…..well….
Yesterday I was thinking about discipleship, specifically in the context of my relationships with people I know. I was thinking about my relationships with my good friends here, my new friendships that are being built, and my friendships at home. I remember several years ago, a friend of mine (Dawn) said in a lecture that she was giving, “People are messy”. I fully agree with this and look at my own life and think…yes, this is absolutely true. We all have “issues”, struggles, hardships…whatever you want to call it, in our lives. As it was raining yesterday, I was walking down a narrow pathway that was full of puddles and stench. The immediate question that came to my mind was “Anna, are you willing to get into people’s lives with your cuffs rolled down, with the bottom of your jeans getting soaked without any reservation or concern of getting “messy” “.
I couldn’t help but think about my attitude and heart when talking to people whether or not I am in any sort of “position” of “discipler/leader…etc”. I have been challenged greatly in the area of relationships with people. What do I have to contribute to the relationship? More specifically, am I willing to go into conversations that may get messy. Am I so concerned with the aftermath and implications of true discipleship that I spend more time “cuffing my pants” rather than just going in and loving the person…mess and all. Because the truth is, we are all just a bunch of “messy people” striving and desiring to love a perfect, holy, sovereign, majestic God. He is so GREAT that He chooses to love us. So, I will leave you all with that to think about. Like mentioned earlier, I have been greatly challenged and humbled when thinking about this. I might elaborate more on it later if I come to any more thoughts. Thanks for reading friends!