Thanks for Writing
I got one of those messages on Facebook the other day that we all dread. Or maybe you don't dread them. Maybe you didn't grow up in an environment where people felt perfectly within their rights to sit you down for a discussion about how they're "concerned" about where you're headed. Growing up in The Church you are used to these kinds of messages and requests for meetings. Wrapped up in soft words that promise not offend but have sharpened edges even so.
"I'm just a little worried"
"I hope everything is okay"
"I'm concerned about where your steps might be leading you"
"You seem to have a lot of bitterness"
"You're focused on the wrong thing"
I've been a "good christian girl" all my life so I don't usually get these messages. I've had friends who've gotten them and I've watched them roll their eyes and laugh at them. When I saw the note come in it was almost like a rite of passage. I have officially "arrived" into my identity as...what? A liberal? A heretic? One of "the lost"? And yet, now that I've finally received one of these messages for myself I find that I am rewriting the reactions I saw on the faces of my friends. Now I see the hurt lurking just under the surface. The confusion and pain. Because I'm feeling it. The need to just shake it off. But we can't
Someone who we respected and loved, who we thought respected and loved us thinks we're making a mistake. That we're going off the deep end. And we're angry because being angry is better than the other overwhelming emotion that comes with a message like this...fear.
Because you see we don't need someone else to tell us we're making a mistake. That we're heading in the wrong direction. The secret voices in our heads are already telling us that. Beating us down constantly. Berating us for not being able to just suck it up and move on. And we fight every day to silence that voice. To listen to the voice of the Spirit instead. The voice that says "Ask your questions. Have your doubts. Push back on the status quo. I'm here and i love you." And just as we start to believe the voice of the Spirit over the voice of the flesh here comes that message. So we cling to anger to cover the fear that we've been fooling ourselves all along.
I won't let this message do that to me though. I know where I stand and in whom I stand. I walk with a humble heart before my Savior ready to hear his direction for my life wherever it comes. But I know him. I know his words and I know his heart and his heart is not this message. I will not pretend that his desire for my life is a false peace built on the shaky foundation of "can't we all just get along." No, actually we can't. When Jesus told the Pharisees they were white washed graves full of dead bones he wasn't concerned that we all get along. I will not pretend that the love and conviction of my Savior comes in the form of type written messages that stand on conviction alone with no space for personal relationship and love. You love me too much to let me go on this way? I've felt punishment that comes wrapped in love both from earthly parents and my heavenly one; and this is not what it looks like or feels like.
So thank you for your concern. No really. That wasn't a sarcastic thank you. I'm truly thankful that you are loving me in the way you best know how. I hope you can understand my response comes from me loving the best way I know how....by shrugging this off and continuing on the way I'm walking. You see I know who goes before me. He's my good shepherd. I hear his voice. And I will follow.