Love People Right Where You Are

I'm back with another "back to basics" blog post! 

In my current season of life, I don't have as much time to blog as before, but it's still a passion I'm holding on to. So I thought I'd get back into the groove by writing about my four main topics on the blog: pursue Jesus, love people, live justly, and explore. Last month, I wrote about what Journey Mercies means and what pursuing Jesus looks like for me right now.

And this week? It's how to love people right where you are. Community is something I learned to appreciate to new depths while living overseas. I took relationships for granted for a very long time and often avoided pushing in further to get to know people and to also be open and vulnerable with them. But when you only have a handful of friends who speak your heart language, you learn to shed your defenses pretty quickly. Your spiritual survival can depend on your ability to connect with and be accountable to others. 

Moving to Kansas City has been a transition back to a place where we have many relationships. But it's also challenged me in my friendships. I lost touch with a lot of people, and I've also met a lot of people who never knew the pre-Cambodia me. So I've had to start fresh with both those I knew before Cambodia and those I've met since.

At first, I felt a bit scared to share my past experiences, afraid that people wouldn't be able to relate to me or wouldn't understand me. But God has brought the best people into our lives right now, through church and work and older friendships. I don't feel like a stranger here anymore

Loving people is so much more than just connecting with others who are, essentially, just like me. It also means being open to relationships that are hard and awkward. It means listening to those who have painful stories to tell. And it also may mean sharing the truth with those whose lives are completely opposite of what it says.

I'm still learning what that kind of love means. I'm still trying to figure out what my role is in bringing redemption and positive change to my city. I'm wondering how to authentically live out my faith in Jesus without pushing people away.

But I know that, after loving God, loving people is the most important thing I can do with my life - starting with my husband, son, and family - and spreading out from there. Pursuing Jesus is directly connected with how much love I can offer others, because any love I have flows from His. 

And that is one thing I want to explore in my little online home - how to love people right where we are. God may have taken me to Cambodia to teach me how to live in community with others. But now he's brought me back home and asked me to do the same thing. 

So join me? And I'd love to hear what you find rewarding (and challenging) about loving the people in your life. Leave a comment below!