I can’t be the only one who relies on everyone else to confront or challenge or encounter a difficult situation. Am I? With such demands on us in ministry, I feel like there is always something to do and confront, someone who wants to confront me or some miscommunication I need to apologize for. It seems like sometimes we live our lives in crisis mode- helping people solve problems and asking someone to help us, too.
Lately, we have been dealing with an issue that has been extremely difficult for me. In ministry, and in life, people come and go. Confession- it can be difficult for me to not take people entering and exiting from my life and Justice Water personally. I constantly go back and try to understand where I went wrong, where I offended and what I could do better next time. I have noticed, especially during this difficult time, how easy it is for me to shrink down and ask someone else to handle it. Simply put: I don’t want to do the hard things.
I don’t want to confront someone for fear that they won’t like me.
I don’t want to share my vision because I don’t want to be “wrong”.
I am reluctant to trust people because I think they will hurt me.
I don’t want to apologize because I think sometimes it is futile.
Um…did I mention I am a missionary? haha. The irony is not lost on me. The very things that I don’t want to do relationally are the things that can and do set us apart as Christ followers. Its one of the things I was drawn to as a new Christian- the transparency and the vulnerability of a person for the sake of a better, deeper and healthier relationship with God and those around them. But, the thing is…sometimes, and most times lately, I don’t want to deal with it.
I keep imagining myself getting in a plane and going to a new place. I would not have to deal with my struggles and troubles and inefficiencies and hypocrisy. As I have kept thinking this, I now realize that it might, in reality, save me from feeling inadequate for a few months or even a year. But, it would all come back again.
Even more than that, running away and starting over does only one thing: rid my life of rich, deep and meaningful relationships.
So today, I began to do the hard things. I leaned into a relationship and spoke my heart. This month, I expect many different confrontations and opportunities for me to share. My hope is that I can lean into the relationships and problems and solutions and Jesus- so that I can achieve greater depth and meaning in my own life. Because, now I am starting to see that not sharing my heart hurts only me. Not owning up to my shortcomings only makes me look and feel badly. Giving up hope in people only destroys my spirit.
In today’s fast paced, social media filled culture- where everyone thinks they know everything about everyone, there is certainly a temptation to think we are going deep with people. In reality, there are ample opportunities for us to go deeper. We should go deeper. In terms of the Church, this vulnerability and openness brings us closer to Christ-likeness than any kind of protest or scathing blog we could repost on Facebook. This openness to correction, to new and different opportunities to love, to loving our neighbor who really hurt us- all of it is bringing us closer to Jesus and to looking like Him.
Sign me up. Because…um…I need all the help I can get.