You know those days when you just feel stressed…. Overwhelmed….?
Today was one of those days.
I follow a lot of conversations on a daily basis. I read a lot and think a lot and pray a lot – in the midst of trying to get all my New Direction work done and keeping my household with a husband and three young children from complete and utter chaos, as well as serving as an elder in my neighbourhood fellowship. Life is busy.
And today I just couldn’t shut my brain off.
First off, I encountered a couple of sites that had picked up on my “Dealing with Conflict” post ….. and they both were harsh towards Exodus IMO ….. and harsh just isn’t my style ….. it made me sad (and for inexplicable reasons triggered my not-so-latent Calvinistic guilt complex).
Later I met with a gay friend. This individual is in ministry in a conservative evangelical denomination. I respect this person’s integrity, commitment to honour Christ while navigating many questions, their love for the church, and willingness to be gracious. This person has walked in obedience. And this friend has been dealing with crap! People, who should be mature followers of Jesus, well versed in the ways of grace, have made assumptions, gossiped, reacted out of their own anxiety and fear, and forgotten that the Body of Christ is a place for all who seek Jesus and that ministry leaders are human beings not just human-doings on the church payroll. And I just felt sad and frustrated and helpless. So I tried to just listen and encourage…..
Then I was pointed to a blog conversation by a someone who wanted me to jump in. And as I scanned the numerous comments I felt my heart sink. A particularly dominant voice seemed so caustic, so certain, so loud (well at least judging by the bold and CAPS) ….. and this voice would sign off saying, “with respect…..blah, blah, blah….” And I thought to myself, “Is that respect? Really? When it is quite clear that in your mind, your way is the only way?” And I just couldn’t face engaging a conversation with those who are so certain and so confrontational.
I got about 20 emails today from people who wanted something ….. and some were so cryptic I still don’t know what they’re actually asking of me. And saying ‘no’ is hard for me.
And I just want to move to a tropical island, sit in the sun and watch the waves roll in. (But I can’t because many of them are so anti-gay that they condone hatred and violence toward glbtq people)
So why do I share all this? Just to garner some sympathy? No. I’m not looking for sympathy. I want honesty and authenticity. This blog is about bridging the gap – and the truth is that it is complex and difficult and overwhelming. And it costs us.
It means we will grieve. It means we will be overwhelmed at times – and stressed out. And I, for one, want to be very realistic about that.
It will require that we continually go back to the source of all life – Jesus Christ. Not for the perfect answer, not for the resolution to all the tension and uncertainty, not for some triumphant declaration ….. no, we go to Jesus for life.
In Christ, we begin to breathe again. We lay our racing minds and flustered emotions and weary spirits before him …. and he scoops them up so tenderly in his nail-scarred hands. And he looks in our faces with such love, such understanding – knowing it all. And he leans toward us and whispers in our ear, “Child, I’m so proud of you. Keep going. Keep loving. Keep serving. Keep hoping.” And then he breathes on us and we fill our lungs with this beautiful fragrance of all that is right and true and alive….. and in those moments our spirits are revived.
My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.