God has laid a certain phenomenon on my heart and has allowed me to observe, over a long period of time, how it has played out in my life and in the lives of those around me. I have noticed that I, and others in my life, only want to help people when it is on our terms or when it is convenient for us. There are days when I am absolutely exhausted. I am worn out from my duties as a mom, wife, and full-time school teacher and I just want to come home after picking up Nora-Kate from day care, sit down, and read books with her. Sometimes, she wants to do that, too (she loves books), but other days she wants to go outside and ride in her car while Mommy pushes. I have found myself, on the days when she wants to go outside and I literally feel like I am about to fall asleep, trying to get her to do what I want her to do, which is to read books or play a quiet activity. This doesn't happen very often, but when it does, she gets frustrated because she wants to go outside and I get frustrated because I don't want to go outside. Consequently, I came to the realization that playing quietly may not be what she wants, or what she needs to feel loved her. Sadly, in those instances, I really just want to love on her and spend time with her according to my desires and not make the sacrifice to do what she wants to do.
I have seen this play out in my teaching career as well as my other relationships. I want to help my students, but I tend to want to do it on my terms. "God," I'll pray, "I really want to help this child, but he's just not seeing it my way" and I get frustrated at the child. If I am getting frustrated at my child, my student, my husband, my friend, or other family members when they don't see things the way I see them, then I have to admit that the problem lies within me and not them. The problem is with my own motives. Clearly, I am not trying to help them or love them according to their needs, but only the way I am comfortable with showing them love.
Radical love, which is normal love to Jesus, means stepping out of our comfort zone, forgetting our own needs and desires, and giving the other person whatever they need to know that we and Jesus love them passionately. If we are trying to help someone or mentor them and we're getting frustrated with them, then I believe we need to check our motives. The problem may be with the one who is "trying" to help them. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, not because He felt like it, but because it was what we needed so that we could know TRUE LOVE. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us, so I believe that I can make trivial sacrifices in my own life to show someone else I love them the way Jesus does. This love does not come naturally to me, nor do I believe it comes naturally to any human because we are, by nature, selfish. If it came naturally to us, Jesus wouldn't have had to tell His disciples in the book of John to "love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." It is a love we have to work at perfecting and continue to learn from Jesus daily.