I’m really behind on the blogging. I have quite a bit to journal – mainly because I don’t want to forget. God has been nothing short of awesome.
Anyways… tonight our house group went to Santana Row [outdoor retail mall] to practice what we’ve been learning. We’ve been reading Romans and it’s been speaking this over and over again:
We’re screwed. We don’t deserve God’s love. But he still loves us anyways! And that kind of love… the love that comes even when you least deserve it, changes everything.
So a handful of us got together and decided to try giving away the love we’ve been given. God loves us. We don’t deserve it… so let’s pass it on.
We broke up into groups and gave each group $40. We then asked God, “Whom do you want us to love and how do you want us to love them?” We then shared whatever thoughts/images/words came to mind. Me and Andrew were one group. I sensed God showing me a picture of retail store employees. Andrew’s image was a little more obscure. He saw an “X” with flowers coming out of it and then an “O”. Weird. But hey… God is God.
So we went hunting down X’s and O’s and flowers. We went down to the east end of the Row and saw some planters with an “X” pattern and flowers. It wasn’t quite what Andrew saw. But it was close. We went and bought eight $5 Starbucks gift cards and went into stores along the east end. We shared with whomever was working that we were practicing loving people with no strings attached and that we wanted to bless them with the gift cards. Everyone we talked to was really encouraged. Most were shocked… asked why and we said if Jesus loves us, we can love others too.
One lady said, “I really ought to give this to my other co-worker, she’s having a bad day!” And another said, “Wow! I will have a smile on my face until tomorrow!”
We doled out the eight cards and Andrew and I had a little buzz from just blessing people. It was cool – the kind of feeling you get when you get away with something bad. Like you cheated the system and got away with it. But instead we got the same feeling for getting away with something good.
As we were walking back Andrew stopped me. And he said, “Dude, that’s it. That’s way more like what I saw!” He pointed to this pink planter with large X’s and flowers coming out of it. The “O” was a tree a few feet away. We look around and it was the only planter of its kind and it was in front of Anne Taylor Loft. But we had given out all of our cards! Andrew and I then agreed that we’ve cough up $5 of our own money for two more gift cards for the ATL workers.
When we walked in, Andrew walked up to the lady employee and told her what we we’re doing. She took the card and was so amazed. She just paused for a little bit and then walked up to Andrew and gave him a hug. Maybe we came in right when she needed some encouragement. Maybe she had her worse sales day. Who knows? She didn’t tell us her story. All we knew was to follow what God gave us and just love simply with no strings attached.
She and her other coworker thanked us profusely and we walked out… again like we got away with something good.
The other group went and bought Kara’s cupcakes and gave them out to store workers too. GREAT JOB L-S-S. Another group still has their money and are on the hook for it this week [just some accountability fellas].
Personally – I don’t like walking up to strangers. I’ve always had a little bit of social anxiety… which I guess is just a fancy way of saying I’m kinda afraid of what people think of me. So not talking to anyone keeps me from having to worry about it.
But as cliche as it sounds… if I follow Jesus in spite of my fear, I’ll see him. And seeing him always puts that fear in it’s place. I’ll feel the fear again, but I need to trust him on what he says [again] and move through that fear [again]. And slowly fear [or the fear of people’s opinion in my case] will no longer be my master.
I realize more and more… if fear keeps you down… you’re a slave to fear. It’s fairly straight forward. But this is what makes the Gospel so profound… and in particular when Paul says, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.” It’s like God is saying:
“You’re my sons, you’re my daughters! Who you are is NEVER in jeopardy! So don’t be afraid of what people say, of looking stupid, of failing… because you already have the embrace of the one who’s opinion matters the most.”
And when we believe him on it… we’ll have nothing to prove, nothing to lose… and everything to give.