We’re friends, right?
Obviously, there’s a necessary “liberty” we accept with online friendships because, after all, there are limits to what we can do and experience fully together. Even so, in the last few years, I’ve seen we have much in common.
So, I wanna share one of my biggest personal struggles. I know, it’s a crazy risk.
As a public writer, there’s a certain level of insanity and self-death that must accompany this willingness to put it all “out there” for God’s glory. Granting access through the windows of the soul this way invites a certain level of inspection from the reading and watching world outside.
It’s downright scary.
So scary, I almost talk myself out of it. Or argue with God– as if doing or being less accomplishes His will anyway.
You know that vicious inner dialogue urging caution one moment and wild abandon the next? Tempting us to believe (or imagine) a seemingly safer path? Yah. Except, “safety”, as it’s often understood, is mostly an illusion masking the ultimate danger:
a life not fully-lived.
If the enemy can get me to believe that self-preservation is the safest way to go, I risk missing out on God’s Great Adventure inviting me to spend my mortal life– not hoard who I am and what I could offer.
These are risks worth taking.
It’s not easy you know. Because that inner dialogue… never. shuts. up.
There’s that cartoon thing going on where little “angel” me on one shoulder is cheering me through the madness and little “devil” me on the other side whispers, “Sit this one out. Save face. Don’t rock the boat”.
UGH. I hate that guy.
Then, when I think I’ve made it home-free: ouch! A thorn has hitched a ride on the cuff of my bluejeans, irritating me just enough to spark that inner riot. GAH!!!
Did I say too much?
Maybe I should’ve said nothing at all.
Oh WHY can’t I keep my blessed mouth shut!?
Suddenly, that people-pleasing habit rises to the surface as I fall victim to the Number One lie of all time:
“Did God really say……?”
Usually, it ‘s right after I’ve taken that BIG step into new boldness and authenticity risking my perceived reputation. Then…I read or hear something from someone I truly admire and my heart sinks into the pit of my stomach. Suddenly,
I’m twisted up over a tweet.
Sunk by a status update.
Bludgeoned by a blog.
Because, you know there’s a hidden agenda and it’s a message about me, right?
Agonizing over what-ifs, I begin imaginary conversations ready to engage “damage control” because clearly…I’ve been… (dom dom, dommmmmmmmm) …. misunderstood.
And there it is; my biggest demon, the fear of being misunderstood.
This one stinkin’ fear has caused more trouble in my lifetime.
It’s watered down my witness.
It’s taken my testimony into dark places way too often.
I despise it.
In Luke 10: 1-16, Jesus warns there’s potential to be misunderstood in our walk and witness. James 3:1-2 counsels not many of us should become “teachers” (of His word, etc) because we’re judged with greater strictness… inspection from God, self and others. So as I teach or proclaim the Gospel as my witness… I’m welcoming this inspection.
Annnnd, let’s face it, shall we? Not everyone is going to “like”, “retweet” or “share” what might be said or taught.
Annnnnd WOE is me if I forget I’m subject to the same Word.
God forbid if I don’t allow the Spirit to work inside my own heart FIRST. That’s a freakin’ mess…trust me.
The remedy? Grace.
ABUNDANT grace received and applied liberally all around.
Grace is the path of deliverance.
Sadly, (pridefully) I’m sometimes more willing to extend grace than to receive it. But it’s getting better and I’m learning. Leaning into the fullness of my calling and the fullness of this grace while fighting back the fear of misunderstanding or being misunderstood is just about the bravest way to live of all.
I’ve experienced it a few times recently and it’s such a tremendous gift when someone neutralizes the potential for misunderstanding by coming in private because they WANT to understand and to be understood.
Far more preferable and spiritually mature than lobbing word bombs through the various “public” sites as onlookers jeer “Fight! Fight!” from the sidelines.
Annnnnnd, I’ve been dead wrong too.
Sometimes, I didn’t see it coming. Then sometimes…I’d “accidentally-on-purpose” start a “fire” and in my haste to stomp it out and cover myself, I only scatter embers and ignite several more fires instead . Yeah. Times when all I had to do was “own it” but didn’t. #truestory
Accountability is key.
Gossip is not.
Voicing our fears and frustrations to someone can help sort past the emotions and help decide if there’s something we’ve missed and where more grace may be required. Or they simply reassure us that it’s all good.
Someone wise enough to recognize there are times when our Spirits are being “checked” as a reminder of what it’s all about and to not only to keep others off the “pedestal”, but to stay off it ourselves. Amen?
Gradually, accountability and a practice of self-inspection before God has helped me choose– sometimes painfully, to see others with the eyes of grace. I don’t have to live in constant fear of being misunderstood, although sometimes I will be.
Because Scripture says right now, no matter how close I come to understanding myself or others, it’s always going to be a few shades off from crystal clear. We simply see and understand imperfectly now.
I can live with that.
Honestly? So much grace has been given to me that I ought to have plenty to share with others….and also with the girl in the mirror. Sometimes I’m really rough on that chick.
What about you? We’re friends, right?
What trips you up and causes you to fall into the arms of Grace? I’d love to know.