“In Love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve.”
― Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging
So many things that seem to be on my mind lately. I find myself going in and out of quiet spurts. Really thinking about life and lots of injustices that keep me awake late at night. Any cute believer would tell me, “that means God wants you to pray for whatever it is that keeps you up.” But somehow I feel as if theres something I’m missing, as if the neon sign in the sky isn’t exactly lit just right. As if this is something that goes deeper then thoughts and emotion, and into someone God has made me to be. As long as I can remember I have been passionate about injustice and standing up for those who can’t for themselves. These concerns I have go deeper then just thinking about them. It’s this uncontrollable urge to DO something. I know, prayer changes things Whitney. And thats adorable and needed of course.
I’ve spent the last 5 years of my life learning to be content in just being. Learning to rest in what Christ has done, and accepting there’s nothing I can DO to earn it. I believe this season has been crucial for me to rest in the promise. And now I feel as if all of this rest and silence of self want and need has brought me to where I am now. Out of this overflow of complete satisfaction comes this intense need to GO and Do. It’s a strange feeling once I actually identify it as mine.
“Then join a church and DO ministry, fellowship in the body is important and what you have is needed in the body.” Cant tell you how many times I have heard this, and how many times I have cringed and shuttered at the idea. The Mary Poppins in me wants to sing alongside the church and help them clean up by singing nice feel good songs to make them feel like what they’re doing is right and is easy. Keeping them entertained with my magical bag of goodies and promises that the bible speaks of. And exploiting the gifts that God has given me for the sake of admiration and applause. I just can’t seem to get with the program, or accept this as my role. I do have love for the church and believe that they are needed and important. But my role in the church is always in question and not something I see for myself at this point in my life. I grew up my whole life under the microscope of the church in leadership. I have very amazing memories of it and wouldn’t change it for the world. I also grew up on the opposite negative side of it. Wanting to be my uniquely creative self and being told no, time after time. It made me who I am today so I have no regrets and pray that all those who were put in my path learned early that it’s important to love those different then us. Which leads me to my next thought and possible solution.
Picture this young girl who listened to sad dark music and it somehow made things real and made her feel less alone. She couldn’t stand that her future was expected to look like the married, mother of 6 in a home cooking dinner. She never wore makeup in fear that she would look like she needed attention from men, who she really wanted nothing to do with. She would look at Joan of Arc, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Mother Teresa and wonder how would it would look if all of them were made up in one woman. She felt so put into a box that she shaved her head in a silent protest to society and its norm. In case you need some help, this little girl was me. Obviously a lot has changed and some things do look like what I had once feared but I wouldn’t change a thing. And at the very heart of it I STILL AM this little girl. And somehow I have let society and religion silence a lot of who I am for the sake of others feelings. And I’m afraid I’ve become quite ill at the thought of it.
Adolescence was a bunch of hard learned lessons that I now see as wisdom to those who care to listen. Though the unhealthy aspects of it all is no longer who I am and I’m an all together new person, the desire to love and fight are still in my blood. I have no desire to perform for anyone. No deep, eye opening, well spoken caption tag line to write below a picture of myself or a portrait of nature. But a raw, strong desire to love the unlovable, reach the unreachable, and become the voice of the voiceless. To be so hidden in love that people forget who I am, my name, and even what I look like. This desire I have had all along I now see what it is.
The scary part in all of this is its gonna take sacrifice. And no I’m not talking about the lashings and discipline of my physical body, depriving myself of water, food, and sleep. But this willingness to go lower still for the sake of love. Whatever that looks like and even as offensive as it will be to the pharisees. Seeing the world through the blood stained lens of Christ crucified and myself as dead. And letting my God given desires surface so that He can receive all the glory for it. Because I myself can do nothing, know nothing, attain nothing. I received a gift freely so that out of complete abundance and overflow I can give freely.
“The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. Not to make people with better morals but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friend, is what it really means to be a Christian.”
― Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God