The Lord works in mysterious ways and in mysterious times and well - you get the idea.
I have had to take so many tiny steps in the other direction of the life had chosen that I can't keep record of them all in my tiny brain, but I know He can. He can because each one is important to Him.
I was just thinking Monday about how different my tolerance level of others is, how very different. Thinking how I see things differently as if I were looking through a different set of eyes, which actually, I am aren't I?
What started this little conversations I had with myself (I may be certifiable) was innocently overhearing my neighbors, as the old guys (the brother's as we call them) sat around talking and I heard the F word suddenly and loudly.
Now don't think for a minute that I claim to be pure of mouth, in the old days there isn't a word I haven't said or at least heard, back in my "bar stool queen" days. But I have gone through different stages since finally listening to God, these stages are what I call the "tiny steps" God keeps laying before me.
There was a time when I was protected from those words by the world, they weren't on tv or in the movies or in books we were aloud to read - now, the skies the limit it's everywhere.
Once I discovered the drink (liquor) which led to bars, which led to cigarettes which led to that kind of language and the freedom from inhibitions which alcohal brings (including sex) I thought I was free, happy!
Till I discovered the only thing worse than being drunk is sobering up, when the inhibitions were peeled away you find out the next day what you did and said and guess what? You have to go get drunk again as soon as possible to get over the things you did and said when you were drunk, phew! It becomes an endless cycle that you are trapped in.
Sorry...I went off on a tangent didn't I, OK, back to the word I heard the da,da,da! F word. When I was using bad language my self I wouldn't have given that a second thought I would have been laughing myself. Then after listening to God I had to go through the sober guilt and memories of these things. Then I reached the step where I knew what turning it over to God meant and was freed from that, thank You Jesus! Next step - cringing and muscle torquing every time I heard a word like that as if it was going to contaminate me again - fear I suppose. And feeling very bad toward the person I heard using it, not wanting to be in their company. I believe that God knew at that stage of my spiritual life that I could be reinfected and He protected me with that fear.
OK, we don't want to hang out with someone who feels free to use that language but we also don't want to turn our back on them, Christ wouldn't. I've reached a point now, having a relationship with these people I know that I can just look at them with a gentle smile and a glow in my eyes which are squinted at the time and, they immediately go "sorry, sorry" I know you don't want to hear that, I'm really sorry" I smile even bigger and they know, they know that it's because I'm a Christian and what they really know, is that God doesn't want to hear that.
I don't ever want to feel or be seen as judgmental. I want to be seen as a Christian and let God lead the way, I believe keeping the heart-door open to others is as important as God keeping the door open for us. What if He didn't?
I was riding around in the jazzy last Sunday saying hello to my neighbors and suddenly I heard, "we're awful aren't we Rose, we're sitting with a beer and a cigarette listening to church, we're awful!" I smiled as big as I could and said no your guys are not awful, God wants you to hear that message no matter what you have in your hand, keep listening. You're on a path and if you listen you just might find your way, God loves you to hear His message, even if it's with a beer in your hands. Keep listening! I was drunk when God started tugging at my heart and telling me the same things, God's tiny steps are there for you guys when you get ready to take that path, keep listening!
I'm thinking, (here I go again) that I had to see myself differently, through the eyes of my heart before I could see others through my hearts eyes. Tiny steps!