I have been pondering the next step in my discipleship for some time. Now that my healing is as complete as I can expect it to be in this stage of my life, I feel a tender, growing urge to be for others what the Savior and others were for me when I needed it. In studying the scriptures, it is undeniable that the purpose of every disciple of Christ is to serve His children. But I have a problem. I'm a deeply selfish, self-centered person. I don't think it is a natural state, as I am also a questioner. It doesn't matter if the topic is fishing or politics, I want to understand everything. And not just how. I want to know all the why. But by a combination of life experiences, I have grown to be very wary of asking personal questions. I think I'm naturally interested in everyone, not just from a sense of curiosity, but from a genuine desire to know their thoughts, their perception, to make a connection with them. But I have found that such connections and knowledge can be very dangerous. Which is why charity is so hard for me. I don't mean parading about and dispensing gifts upon people, even gifts of time, money, service, or whatever. To me, true charity goes far deeper. It is knowing people, loving them, so well that you know how to serve them. It's about more than simply gratifying your own desire to be "charitable." It's about truly dedicating your heart in the service of those whom your Master loves. And I want that more than anything right now. But I'm also afraid. Afraid of rejection, of course, but more afraid of being taken advantage of again. It's not an empty fear, nor is it one based on a single experience. It is a pattern in my life, one that I have only recently been able to see. Ideally, I could look at that and simply rely on the Lord to make up the difference of whatever I lack because of being taken advantage of. But we are not only commanded to love, we're also commanded to learn wisdom. Is wisdom learning how to not be used, or is wisdom realizing that being used doesn't really matter? Because the other vital part of charity is not only knowing the person, but also knowing God. Knowing Him so well, that you know what His will is regarding His children. Loving them so well that you can give them what they need more than what they want. Having the necessary eternal perspective to make the hard decisions, not because YOU need it, but because they need it. And I have so far to go with both. So far to go.
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