This is the post I didn’t really want to write, the one that I put off as long as possible since I realized I had to write it.
I hate that feeling. I know I am running away from it, saying I just need to get my thoughts together, but that is not the case. I am just procrastinating.
But who really wants to admit something hard anyway?
Last week I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with my friends and listen to some teaching. After the first night I was nervous because I left there feeling so emotionally spent, all the while trying to hold it together.
I really hate crying in front of people. And I cry easily, so it is no small feat for me to manage to keep it together for three hours and smile and not act like what I really want to do is cry and go sit in a corner somewhere.
The joys of being a melancholy when you get convicted.
The session moved into a time of confession and they discussed different hidden sins they have dealt with and exposing them to the light. As each one was called out, I could relate to some of them and in my head would say, “Yes, that is me Lord, forgive me.”
But then there was the one I deal with the most, the one not named.
As much as I love writing on my blog, as much as I feel inspired or led to write about something, I have also let it become something else: an excuse not to speak.
I have hidden behind my words on here and have become less vocal in one-on-one conversations when they matter. I have told myself that I am telling others the Good News, doing my part for the Great Commission each time I hit “publish.”
But when a friend comes over with a bleeding heart and I sit and listen and know I need to say, simply, “You need Jesus” but I don’t, I have failed.
When I talk less about Christ in front of my family that does not have the same beliefs, I fail.
And I think I have become so worried about sounding like an angry Christian that I have become a silent Christian and that might just be worse.
It creeps into my interactions with others, trying not to cry, to bare my soul, or even pray. My word/phrase this year is “Be Brave” and I thought I was doing that. I started working on a book, I have entered a writing contest, I have said yes to more things. But that is not so much brave as comfortable.
I don’t know where this timidity came from. I have often felt that people expect it of me, often described me as “nice,” “quiet,” or “sensitive”- a word I have started to hate. So I put the walls back up and just decided not to go there anymore. I bought into the lie that my words here would matter more than the ones I could offer a person, even if I stumbled along and couldn’t get a re-do. I bought into the lie that being brave meant not having those qualities. I sold myself short. I sold my salvation short and my God short.
Looking back, I see the process of how I struggled with my words here, struggled in my personal life about questions that I once was so sure of and now doubted. And I think it was because I had not shared with others, had not been reminded of why I believe the way I do and the eternal hope that I have. I felt I sounded phony or silly if I used “Christiany” words. Another lie I bought into. I became so worried about being genuine that I no longer was genuine but instead someone who felt a little flat, a little boring, and a little safe.
On my first mission trip about 15 years ago, I remember apologizing for crying. My friend looked me square in the eye and told me to never apologize for who I was or how God had made my spirit. She said it was a gift I should embrace. But I was uncomfortable with it, still am. And I am not saying that we should all be criers or that I cry all the time, but apparently it is the thing I do the most. When I am sad, angry, or overly happy, I cry. And that often chokes the words right out of me because I allow my pride of not crying overpower the necessity to speak to others.
Where did this shame come from? Why did I buy into this lie that I can’t cry or be open with others? I think there is a necessity to be reserved in some situations, but how is that I have lost the confidence to talk about the things that matter most in life, in the context of eternity? When did my need to feel comfortable emotionally become more important than another’s soul?
That is my hidden sin that needed to be brought to the light. It doesn’t mean that I will stop writing on here or that I am going to become a public speaker. But I will seek out what it means to be brave in Jesus, to trust in Him to overcome my fears, to renew that joy of knowing Him until it spills over to others. To pray for boldness, for words to come out of my mouth and not just my hands, to being a living love to others and present them with hope every day.
To speak. Proclaim. And rejoice. To really be brave.