Over the last five or six weeks, a very good friend of mine listened to God's voice hard enough to show me some things I've been hiding from for a long time.
All it takes is a foothold of fear, of doubt, of misinformation - just a little bit of a lie mixed in with a whole lot of truth - and before you know it, you're on a path you never planned to be on, doing things you never thought you'd do.
We change so much from our teenage years to full adulthood. Some of us go from being rowdy kids who don't listen to authority to soldiers and family men who make it their business to take care of those in need. Some of us go from hating school to wanting to teach little ones. Some of us go from being all-around good kids to being rebellious and incendiary.
Some say this change is inevitable. It is growth and there is no stopping or circumventing it.
My best friend and I have long believed that there's a small window of opportunity to raise hell and not be judged for it. So we better take advantage of it while we're young, because when we "grow up" it won't be acceptable.
I've done and believed a little bit of all of these things.
I can't say I regret them.
I've heard more than one pastor say, "it's better to learn by instruction than by correction."But I've always been a kinetic learner.
So now I'm nearing the end of a college career that's taking longer than expected. I'm taking stock of my friends, my experiences, my skills, my dreams, and I'm wondering if I'm on the right path.
Over the last two weeks, I have let myself become vulnerable again to a kind of love that demands nothing. The kind that hopes for perfection, and almost pleads with my heart to take my place in the making of that perfection. And I am amazed at how wrong I was when I thought that's what I'd been pursuing the whole time.
Pastor Charles Martin at Integrity's Voice of Victory Church said, "God isn't asking you to be perfect; He's just asking you to be the best you you can be." And I'm realizing that I was placed in this body, in this skin, in this city, in my family, with my various groups of friends and influences for a specific reason. I don't quite know the reason, but I do know that running from what my unique set circumstances requires does not create the best version of myself.
I am put in mind of a quote from Shakespeare: "To thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."
And I realize now that I have not been true to myself. Not the self you probably are acquainted with. But my soul-level self, the one that is part and particle of a creative God. I have been false to her and therefore have been false to several people I know...perhaps for the last few years.
This is not another manifesto of all the imminent truth I am now privvy to.
I'm good at writing manifestos.
This is a statement to those of you who care, and I'm blessed because there are a lot of you - near and far, that I am done pretending to have answers. I can tell you what part of your sentence is grammatically incorrect, but beyond that I have no declarative statements to make, save these:
1. I have probably disappointed you at some point...maybe in this very moment.
2. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ...And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us."
3. "Christ came that we may have life and that to the full."
4. I never intended to hurt anyone - not you, not myself, not the heart of God.
5. I do not know how to make this work.
6. "With God all things are possible."
"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...that He would grant [ME], according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner [WO]man, that Christ may dwell in [MY] heart through faith; that [I], being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that [I] may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."