It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here and there are several reasons why I’ve been away. Mostly I have wanted to spend the summer with my family and have just been busy. I have also intentionally been seeking out white-space as I have a lot on my plate and have wanted to hear from God as to what I might let go of. Unfortunately I’ve also been battling some bad fibro flare ups and anxiety episodes that caught me off guard.
But the truth is that a lot has happened since I flew out to San Antonio last month. Not only have things been happening in my own life but I mean things have been happening in the world. . . and it has felt overwhelming. . .
And honestly I almost decided to quit blogging for good.
Let me tell you a quick little bit about myself. As a coach I probably try to practice self-awareness to a fault, I’m often “in my head”. I’m very into personality tests, types and understanding oneself. So I can tell you that my MBTI is ENFJ and I’m an “idealist”.
People of this personality type essentially feel a need for peace and harmony. They tend to avoid conflict at all costs, whether it be internal or interpersonal. As the potential for conflict in life is virtually ubiquitous, the Nine’s desire to avoid it generally results in some degree of withdrawal from life, and many Nines are, in fact, introverted. Other Nines lead more active, social lives, but nevertheless remain to some to degree “checked out,” or not fully involved, as if to insulate themselves from threats to their peace of mind. Most Nines are fairly easy going; they adopt a strategy of “going with the flow.” They are generally reliable, sturdy, self-effacing, tolerant and likable individuals.
And so you can just imaging how there are a lot of things interrupting my peace lately.
So I have become overwhelmed and withdrawn. I think part of my cultural fatigue has been that the conflict in the world can become compounded through media and social media as well.
You guys. . . my heart can barely handle what’s going on. ISIS beheading people, the situation in Ferguson, Robin Williams who was one of our “local” guys out here in the Bay Area taking his life.
So much sadness. And that’s just a tiny, fraction of the hurt in the world.
Can I be real for a second? The thing that has hurt the most are the personal attacks I’m seeing via social media. Everyone has an opinion and if you disagree you’re a “hater” and sadly I’m seeing this so much among the church and believers.
We’ve got the evangelicals vs. the post-evangelicals or “progressives”, the literalists vs. Gungor, etc.
What I’m noticing most is a deep lack of respect and humility. And I think sadly when you put yourself out there. Out here. As a writer or blogger, people read your words and can take it as gospel truth when the truth is that there is only one Gospel and we should all be pointing people there. Just pointing, not TELLING them what it means but rather letting the Spirit do that.
Because we are all human. Flawed. At best we are experts at our own stories.
There’s so much I’d love to share about my training in The Daring Way™ and you’ll hear more about it in the future, I promise but I have to tell you that the absolute best part of it for me was experiencing deep connection with strangers.
Of the 140 or so gathered at the training I was put into a smaller breakout group of about 20. In that group were people vastly different from myself. Different races, genders, sexual orientation, political leanings, and religious beliefs, yet I found myself weeping with these new friends over their stories because they resonated so deeply with me. Not, the specifics because I couldn’t always relate to the details of their experiences BUT the emotions behind them. I recognized shame, fear, anger, loneliness, betrayal. I knew those feelings well.
And so I wonder what it could be like if instead of throwing the first stone when one person states something that we disagree with, if it would be possible to consider what we have in common. To show empathy. And maybe humility by admitting we don’t have ALL of the details, we don’t know the whole story.
I have to admit that in the past few weeks I have stopped reading many news stories, I have stopped following some bloggers and writers. Not because I disagree with their beliefs but because they have demonstrated a complete lack of tolerance much less love for anyone who is on the other side and have taken to personal attacks.
And so I thought that maybe I should stop blogging because I didn’t ever want to do that. Even though I have a just a small group of “followers”, I believe there is a responsibility to know where you are leading and I take that seriously. I have always wanted to encourage, share honestly and rather than claim to have all the answers, point to the ONE who does.
Because I believe it was Jesus Himself who prayed that we would all be ONE.
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23
Yes, I believe we need to be mindful of what we read and who we listen to and definitely consider that we are all human beings with our own “stuff” and experiences that shape our understanding. And yes, there are “false prophets” out there that try to lead others away from the Truth. I absolutely believe that as well.
But when we take it upon ourselves to blatantly attack others in the body of Christ and create divisions, we are willingly going against the will of God for the church.
So I’ve prayed and have felt the Lord nudge me to keep writing for now. And while I may not agree with everyone about all things, I promise to treat others with respect and humility and to always be willing to listen to consider the other side of the story.
And, though it’s a challenge at times, I’m trying to embrace being a peacemaker and pray we all can be peacemakers in our spheres of influence.
Because after all:
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9