During the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to interview several people for many different reasons. I’ve heard stories of love, loss, passions and purpose. I’ve listened while some have told stories of the life’s work or in maybe shared pieces of their hopes and dreams.
It hasn’t mattered what the theme of the story has been, I’ve always left feeling honored to have been a part of their story. Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be? God put me in that chair to listen for a reason. Maybe it was something for them, but maybe I was supposed to learn from it.
We all have a story.
Maybe that is why I’ve always loved learning about history. It has rich and interesting stories of people who lived life before us. It made me think about my story and the people who share in my journey.
Perhaps the most interesting story that I’ve heard in recent weeks was from my friend, Laureen Riedesel, about the Oto-Missouria Indian Reservation in southern Gage County. They were hunters and gatherers, but the United States Government had given them agriculture land and forced them into the role of farmers.
Also interesting to me has been a book I’ve been reading on the history of the First Mennonite Church. Most of the early founders of the church had come to this area to escape persecution for religious beliefs. Many of them were farmers.
The commonality in the story of the Indians and the Mennonites was conflict.
How have I handled conflict?
First, my apologies to anyone that I have seriously offended recently. I have been cranky, angry, bitter and growing resentful for about a month. I don’t know when I started down this path, but it really doesn’t matter. I’ve thought about it so much that it has consumed most of my daytime hours and interrupted my sleep patterns.
In the beginning I would start to whine to most anyone who would listen to my latest complaint, but then was reminded of the adage “Have you prayed about it as much as you’ve talked about it?”
No. No, I haven’t.
But as I prayed about it, I was reminded that I did choose the word “surrender” as something I was going to work on this year. Apparently, our loving God, also has a sense of humor, because every time I asked for the Holy Spirit to change my heart and my thinking, I was given a new challenge.
How does God want us to handle those that have offended us?
Turns out that it is not by whining about it!
I was reminded during a sermon that God loves all people. All people. He wants us to love our enemies and extend grace and mercy even in the face of evil. We are supposed to love like Jesus. I want that to be a part of my story.
I was reminded of another story:
An old Cherokee grandfather is telling his grandson a story. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil — he is anger, envy, greed, arrogance,resentment, lies,and ego.” He continued, “The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The wolves are fighting to the death.”
Wide-eyed, the boy asks his grandfather which wolf will win.
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.” (Told by Billy Graham)
Your life is important. Your story has a purpose. Which wolf will be a part of your story?
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