November 17, 2012

A Word to Live By…

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:22 pm by Broken & Brave

Loyalty. Loyalty is defined as such~ 1.The state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations. 2. Faithful adherence to a sovereign government, leader, cause, etc. (www.Dictionary.com)

A few synonyms for loyalty that stand out to me are “devotion” and “constancy”. Constancy, that’s a good one. It has strength, don’t you think? It makes me immediately think on the word “un-waivering”. Not changing or yielding…constant.

You may be asking yourself, “why all this talk of loyalty?”

I am a huge believer in its importance. I believe it penetrates each person to the deepest levels and has influence that trickles through our every relationship and our every decision. We make choices on product purchases and restaurants we frequent, stores we shop in,  all because of a sense of loyalty we may feel for one reason or another. Usually, we are loyal to something or someone because we had a positive experience, encounter, relationship. Some loyalties are casual in nature, maybe based on convenience. Other loyalties are a tie that run deep and chart the coarse of our daily lives. Loyalty can be based on Purpose. Loyalty may be present between individuals for one small yet profound reason…family.

I am a very loyal person, always have been, it is my nature. At times, I will choose the inconvenience or added expense just to remain loyal to a certain business owner. I know it is a way I can be a blessing and for whatever the reason I make that choice. I am aware that loyalty traits do not come naturally to everyone. If you know anything regarding personality types and temperaments, there are four basic categories of personalities with a whole host of traits each personality type represents. I won’t be going into major detail about these personality types and traits, but I will say that they are called Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Melancholy. Each person has one of these four as their foundational blueprint of personality. The fascinating thing is that we are all so unique, we have other components of other personality traits mixed in. A choleric person is the person in charge, leader, gets things done. The Sanguine is so much fun to be around. They make even the toughest chores a party and everyone loves them! The Phlegmatic person is a good friend and is known for their staunch loyalties. The melancholy is very organized and particular about things. Each personality has positive and negative traits. I could go on and on, but my point is, some people are more naturally loyal, myself being one of them. Yes, us Phlegmatic personalities are just like a golden retriever, an analogy commonly made in psychology circles and literature.

I am a lot like my Dad. My Dad was always my greatest example of loyalty growing up. It’s in looking back and seeing now, his constant display of friendship to his peers. He is there for them always, whenever needed. Everyone knows they can call on my Dad…they can count on my Dad. Faithful. Constant. Loyal. I see it in how my Father treated his family. His loyalty to us was and is a constant example that this is what family looks like.  I know that I have much to be grateful for…not everyone has this.

Because I have a natural bend toward loyalties and then the example of my Father, I have had a lifetime of reinforcement toward “loyalty”. Not everyone has had this kind of reinforcement. I am realizing more and more that our culture is becoming more and more a culture that has abandoned this concept, idea, way of living. Fewer and fewer people are familiar with true loyalty. We are becoming a society of “loyal to self alone”. This observation and discovery saddens me to a deep level. So much so I decided to blog about it. Maybe, if only one, I can educate and demonstrate what loyalty is and why it is so important for us as a nation, but even more so, it is foundational to myself and all of those who call themselves “The Church”.

Families are known for loyalties one to another. They are our blood relatives and even when we are at odds or estranged, something rises in us when our family members are compromised or in harms way. We would move a mountain to make a difference for them. I know this isn’t true for all families, but in general, it is very applicable. It is a part of what makes a family nucleus unified. Through hard times and easy times, loyalty is a tie that binds…family.

A nation is built up of families. Individuals who come from a mother , a father, and usually siblings as well. We have relationship, some closer than others, but family. It is an undeniable yoke that holds us together…no matter what. The more that families crumble in our culture the more children are forced to grow up too fast and become independent at young ages, the more each becomes focused on protecting one’s self. It is instinctual really and I cannot fault anyone who has had circumstances that force them to this mindset. Self preservation comes alive looking out for “me”, loyal to “me”. This is the mindset of a narcissistic person. Narcissism is clearly and definably on the rise in America especially in younger generations. It is difficult for someone who is looking out for themselves first to be truly loyal to others. Loyalty requires that we think outside of ourselves and sometimes even yield our own best interest to the best interest of another. Loyalty, at times, requires sacrifice…self sacrifice.

So, what we do as Christians? What can we, “The Church” do to make a difference? We want to see the world a better place, our country in a better direction. We think in bigger terms like changes in Washington and taxes, etc. Honestly, real change can come when we treat each other as family. When the Church becomes loyal to each other.

I get a picture in my mind of an old fashion wagon wheel. The pioneers moved across the plains to settle in the Western United States. They drove wagons with large wooden wheels. These wheels had spokes or cogs made of thick wood with a hub in the center. The hub connected to the axle that connected the wheel on each side of the wagon.  The spokes created a firm support inside the framework of the wheel. The wagon could not roll without the wheel. Bear with me here, the wheel was a critical piece of equipment, but had no redeeming value without the help of the spokes for support, the hub for connection and the axle to unit all four wheels beneath the wagon which carried the people. Are you with me? I am going somewhere with this.

Now picture all Christians united. We are working together, paving the way like a pioneer driving across a plain, full of Hope for a better Life. We are not the Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Lutherans or Catholics, etc. We are not “the church over here that is anointed to do this great work” or “this one over here that does that great work”. We are The Body. We are each like a wheel, a spoke, a cog, a hub, an axle, a wagon. All working together to carry the people…the sick, the wounded, the poor, the broken hearted, the lonely, the lost, and the afflicted, to the destination of Healing Virtue. We move every stone out of the way that may cause one of the least of these to stumble. We build up the high way. Not a literal highway, but the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6)

How can we make a difference, a true and definite difference in the lives of others if we are not in total and complete loyalty and unity one to another? When we are loyal we celebrate each other’s victories and cry with each other’s defeat. We carry each other. We love each other. We sacrifice for each other. We favor each other. We provide for and bless one another. We spend our time thinking on each other. We never compete with each other because we are too busy upholding one another. WE ARE THE BODY! We are to pave the way, to make way, so others may live and that they may live abundantly.

“Pass through, pass through the gates!

Prepare the way for the people.

Build up, build up the highway!

Remove the stones.

Raise a banner for the nations.” Isaiah 62:10

 

I know my words are strong, but I am speaking to myself as well. I want to be a living, breathing, example of the Love of God and the Unity and Loyalty of the Church. Let us be so incredibly intoxicating with our beauty that we ravage the gangs of their members! Our Loyalty is free of condemnation and guilt and full of Peace and Freedom. I Believe in you and I know you can do it. I will uphold you and ask that you would do the same for me. Together, we can make a difference!  We are the Church and Loyalty is a word we can live by. ~Nicole

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