To the Naysayer

Over and over this year I have been reminded how incompetent I am. Friends have come for coffee to tell me what a horrible leader I am. To remind me that I am the worst communicator ever. To explain how I hurt them or offended them. Clearly what I say never makes sense and I should always have a plan. One of my closest friends yelled at me, ” $&/@ someone needs to take charge out here.”  Some tell me to rest while others complain that I require too much downtime.

Inside I want to cry, gather everyone around to listen and explain, “I didn’t choose this place, this role. I don’t want it. But, it’s not about what I want. I have to obey God. Do you know what it feels like to feel like a failure and to be reminded, by people you thought cared about you, that you are never good enough.  Do you know what it’s like to constantly be learning how to sacrifice everything for the sake of the Gospel?  No, I’m not some hero or a wannabe philanthropist.  People are around me every waking hour. Do you think I always think that’s fun? My life is not my own, it has been bought with a high price. My decision is to give everything and it’s not easy. My worship is shaky authentic. My Jesus dance is not perfected. I’m very much learning the moves and I am in desperate need of Jesus.”

In my comings and goings, I feel the judgment and the avoidance. I see you living your life carefully omitting me.  When you avoid eye contact or smile and practically run away from me, I get you don’t have time for me. But it really hurts to think that when a crisis comes your way, you will expect me to have time for you. Does something about me repulse you? If I speak what I feel, then it’s often a guarantee to be left alone. Too passionate. Too radical. Too much Jesus.

But if you need prayer, you will text or call me. I feel you questioning or mocking my friendship with Jesus when you don’t need it, but demanding I pray for you when you do. If I tell you what God is teaching me, I don’t feel like you really want to know.

Do you notice that you hide your life from me? You don’t want to tell me when you go out to dinner, your kids schedule or how much time you watch television. You treat me like I’m your conscious or your voice of conviction or your judge.

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” – Colossians 3:1-4

All I’m trying to do is live for Jesus. Nothing more and nothing less. To seek the things above knowing Jesus is my life. Yes, I’m a failure, some of you told me, but I already knew. What I know is God isn’t a failure. He’s really good, actually perfect. And because of Jesus; the Holy Spirit lives in me.

For years, I lived a life of religion, but my life did not bear much fruit. Today, my religious practices may look inconsistent or impractical, but I am more in love with Jesus. My heart finds delight practicing abiding in His presence. My life has more peace seeking His plan for our family. My kids recognize hurt around them and are learning to love all people. My husband is laying down his life for others in a very practical sense. Our lives are less and less our own. The “in light of eternity” perspective helps me realize Jesus is training my heart and mind to live more like Him and less like the world.

The world is less and less appealing to me. When I verbalize those feelings, I am not saying you are less and less appealing to me. My prayer is we all look more like Jesus and less like the world. When we look like the world, I feel grief. I don’t know why. But it just comes and if I express that pain, many take it as judgment. So, I am not sure whether I should keep quiet to have you in my life or risk being real and losing you in the process.

We can justify our every move. How often we say this or that is such a great opportunity or place to share Jesus. But, do we share Him in those this and that’s? Are we remembering we represent Christ every day? Our lives are His flesh and blood representation to the world. We exist to represent Jesus. Do we live like that? Do we seek Him in all we do? That’s all I am trying to do. Why does that annoy so many people?

Here’s the deal. I love Jesus. I want to look more like Him today than I did yesterday. Any competency in my life id Christ, because I’m not good.  If my following Him makes me lose you, it breaks my heart. But, I refuse to live for myself (or for you) when I have the opportunity to live for the One who died for me. Jesus is taking me deeper and deeper into a place of giving up everything to follow Him.

Today, I give you up.  I lay down every naysayer, every person who questions my motives or wants me to live based on man’s opinion. I give up the world and all its traps and temporary pleasures. I give up because I want to live abundantly. I love you for who you are in the inside, not your stuff, how you spend your time or your accomplishments. I love the Jesus in you, the kind words you say, the hug you give a hurting friend, the time you shared your story of faith, the moments you put yourself aside. I’m hoping that’s when you can love me, the times you see Jesus.

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