I spent my first 20 years bouncing from Charismatic church to Christian school, to a Christian home, to a revival youth ministry to a revival road ministry. Somewhere along the way I got tired of hype. Don't misunderstand me, it's not all hype. But there was hype in me, some kind of tendency to pray louder and make more rules to try to gain God's favor, or more honestly, to get God to obey me. And this wild, beautiful BIG God is not very obedient. He is good, He is love, but He doesn't take orders.
So when my world collapsed and I was left fatherless, with a severely disabled child and 2 other children that I watched suffer and die, all the rules and my holy heritage held little comfort. I found myself clinging to the life raft that was the love of God, with all the other tenets of my faith floating by me like debris. Many of those "sure things" sank in that storm, and the ones that stayed afloat are all tethered to His great, great love.
Some of it was right to shed. I don't make a lot of judgment calls these days, I am more likely to give someone the benefit of the doubt. I am more compassionate and more relaxed. I have gray areas, some that are compromise and some that are healthy questions. I am more aware of suffering, more aware of the damage an ignorant "faith" can cause to the injured. I am less sure of what God will do, and more sure of who He is.
"Do you trust Him?" people will ask me, usually people who are adrift in those same seas of pain. I tell them I do, I trust Him to be good, in the deepest way that anyone could ever be good. I trust Him to be present. I trust Him to be enough to get through the grief. I do not trust Him to do what I expect Him to do, or to give me the outcome I really want. Maybe He will, I say. That's why I ask Him. But if He doesn't, then I know He knows how sad and angry that makes me, how I wish I could hit Him and scream at Him, take out my rage and my helplessness on Him. I also know He is not afraid of my anger or my pain, He is not angry because I am broken and afraid. He is the ultimate Father, absorbing my blows and my questions and standing solid and secure. When the storm is over and I am spent, He is the same, solid and secure, my safest place.
I've been resting for a long time, healing. I'm realizing now that the time is coming, or is here, or has been here for a long time, time for me to let my brokenness become more of a backdrop and less of a shell that protects me. I'm a cynic. I'm a cynic that laughs at things I truly believe in, like that God still speaks, that He still heals, that the Gospel matters. Somewhere I stopped laughing at "human videos" and started being embarrassed of Jesus. I don't know how, yet, to embrace an authentic and loving Christianity, free from hype, while still being vulnerable to the truths that are essential.
I don't know, I don't know how. I'm just taking a step to say I don't want to be jaded anymore. I don't want to be critical of the "church". I don't want to be afraid of commitment. I don't want to actively resist being a leader because of my mistakes and my wounds. Somehow, I want to use all of it and come out being solid and secure and safe. I guess I'll start by talking to Somebody who knows.