Wednesday, September 10, 2014

For My Ladies

It's almost midnight, and I should really be going to bed.  But I suddenly felt very strongly that I should write to my girls.
I don't know if I can tell you anything you haven't heard before.  You know you're beautiful.  You know God loves you.  You know that He wants to give you the best.  If you're like me, you've probably heard that so many times that it doesn't move you when you hear it anymore.  Those phrases are among the top Christian cliches.

And maybe you feel guilty that you don't feel anything when you hear that.  Or maybe you roll your eyes and try to hide your frustration because you need something to comfort you and it just seems too simple- sure, it's something that would be nice to believe if you weren't wise enough to suspect it's  meaningless, like every empty promise that's been made to you.  Maybe the people who tell you how much God loves you are failing at love themselves, and seem fake and affected and prideful.  Maybe you've come to associate God's love with pain, because it's something people remind you of whenever one of your dreams dies or a friend betrays you.  His love has become the go-to band-aid phrase for people who won't take the time to really listen and understand you.

So maybe you're angry: angry at the people who have ruined what you know should be the words that carry you through life with joy and purpose.  Maybe you're angry with God for leaving you to fight through life without experiencing his love more deeply than as a retreat high and a few inspirational quote memes.  Angry that He expects that to be good enough.  Angry that no one else seems to understand why it isn't good enough, and probably starts silently judging you if you don't sing along at the top of your lungs to Matt Maher.

 I think we like to keep struggles like that to ourselves because hiding the problem is exercising that last bit of control that keeps us from looking pitiful and weak, while everyone else around us looks strong on the outside.  Sometimes the person with the bravest, most "together" tough girl facade is the one who has put the most work into that facade, because she feels powerless in every other respect.

So often we isolate ourselves when it comes to struggling with our faith.  In comparison, talking about that secret crush or embarrassing moment is easy.  I think too many of us believe the lie that if someone questions their faith or God's love, they're this anomaly of a lost soul and they need some Saint Monica in their life because dang, next thing you know they'll start that pre-conversion Augustine life AND lead others astray to boot so let's just keep a safe distance, shall we?


I beg you, get close to people.  People who think you're being fake and don't seem to appreciate your love.  People who outwardly seem so on fire that you think they couldn't possibly need any further encouragement.  And everyone in between. If you stay away, who will show God's love to them when the words aren't proof enough?  Who will be Jesus to the ones who can't find Him in the overused Bible quotes and the worship music?  Who  will speak louder than the words and get involved in real lives with real problems and do something different?  Who will prove that Jesus is still alive?

We are not meant to stand around gazing at the sky expecting some supernatural experience to come along and fix us or our friends.  We have to give Christ the chance to enter our hearts in any way he chooses.  And more often than not, He loves us through His children.  So I challenge you to look for the love of God in the people around you if you feel neglected.  And I challenge you to be the love of God to the people around you no matter what your current status is.

He saw your heart in the dark where you faced down things nobody else knew, and He still believes in you.  You fell apart over time, but you'll find strength to love through the pain to the end; so don't wait like you're powerless.  He'll make you a lioness.  

The Forgiveness Myth

I do not enjoy forgiving people because it makes me feel like a doormat. I would honestly rather get all Carrie Underwood/Miranda Lambert up...