During the last year, I've had a phrase in my head that I try to pray several times a day. It's short and simple. "Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours." It comes from the lyrics of this song by Hillsong:
Heal my heart and make it clean. Open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to love like you have loved me. Break my heart for what breaks yours. Everything I am for your kingdoms cause, as I go from nothing to Eternity.
When we sang it in church, this particular part of the song stood out. I realized I don't see people the way the Lord see's them. I don't love people the way the Lord loves them. My heart doesn't break for the things that breaks the Lord's heart. Can you see the problem? I found as I examined my heart, that I'm human...and I'm selfish. That's it. That's the hard truth.
So, I started praying that the Lord would change me. That he would truly open up my heart and my eyes to see the people around me that were hurting. That were in need. I prayed that he would break my heart for people and to help me understand what it really means to love my neighbor as myself.
Well, he has been faithful. In so many ways, he has been faithful. He as shown me through many different circumstances, that there are so many hurting people in our world. So many women and children in slavery and bondage. So many orphans in need of love. So many people in my city and around the world suffering from starvation and malnutrition. So many broken hearts...
But what can I do? Can I really make a difference? Where is he calling me to go? What is he calling me to do? How can I help orphans and widows in my city? In other countries? This is where, in the past, I always seemed to get frustrated and give up. After all, I can contribute to a good cause, but how do I know it's a reputable charity? Where is my money going? Is it really getting to the people who need it?
Well, there are great places out there that are doing amazing work. They are loving on so many people in need and most of all, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with them.
Here are a few things I've found I can do right now (FYI...these would all make great Christmas gifts. Wouldn't it be so much more rewarding to purchase something from someone where you know your money is making an immediate impact and going directly to them and their families instead of Wal-Mart or Target or Pottery Barn?!?):
I can go here and purchase a handmade bag or host a purse party (which I'm in the process of doing...so excited) to help women in Haiti learn how to take care of their babies, learn life skills, be listened to, be loved and hear God's word.
I can go here and purchase beads from women in Uganda who are trying to maintain a sustainable income for their families by working hard instead of resorting to slavery or prostitution.
I can go here and buy shoes from young women in Uganda trying to get a higher education.
I can go here and sponsor a child (which means giving them food and clean water, education, the gospel and so much more), or donate $10 for a mosquito net, or give to help a mother in poverty have a clean birth experience.
I can go here and buy a goat or pig or cow or anything else you can think of to help support a family in need somewhere around the world.
But what about locally...in my own city and neighborhood? What can I do? Well, there are community centers and homeless shelters that need volunteers, elderly in nursing homes that I could visit, neighbors in need that I could cook a meal for, etc, etc, etc.
Now, is this all overwhelming to me?...yes. Am I doing all these things?...NO, not by a long shot. But I've realized I can't NOT do anything anymore. I can't sit in my house with my nice furniture and my car and my closet full of clothes and my pantry full of food and ignore those in need. Even though I've done it my whole life, I just can't anymore.