It’s quiet in my house as J and Mac braved the 2021 Polar Vortex and left me alone for some time to myself. And for the ambivert I am who spent Friday game night with friends, survived M’s crack of dawn little dribbler basketball game, slammed down some Buttered Biscuit brunch and took a casual target stroll all before 11 a.m today, THIS quiet moment is truly the ultimate Valentine’s gift.
Initially when I came home I mentally called the play of falling asleep to Parks and Rec, but after making it as far as sitting on the couch with full eskimo gear still in tact and embarrassingly mindlessly scrolling through Instagram to sink into the rabbit hole of recent Bachelor Nation news I now find myself here. Writing and blogging, so I guess I’ll finally be able to check one “blogpost” off of my Archived 2020 Goal List and Current Checkbox on my February 2021 Intentions. Ironically there were two drafts in my inbox, one from YOU SAY 2020 (I told y’all I really intended to share that experience) and this one that has risen from the ashes which was initially titled only, “Silence + Noise” drafted June 2, 2020. Some of you may have zero clue why June 2nd was significant (HAPPY 30TH Anniversary Mom & Dad), including me, so I scrolled my tens of thousands of photos to see if there was any record to reference and below is what I found.
a FT photo of one of my former cheerleaders, JaKyra Givens
and a photo of the JUNE 2 New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp
Thank goodness for my sometimes too obsessive need to take photos of significant moments, because it’s no coincidence that my previous Instagram scroll of Bachelor news was discussion of racial controversy/expectations/social media and it’s effects on humanity, AND that on June 2nd I was having an important heart conversation regarding race with JaKyra. Not to mention I was obviously struck by the Spirit’s wisdom provided through Paul Tripp (per usual) as he described the push and pull of trust and responsibility; how we live a life of faith not by trying to be God, but also by doing the work He has called us to do. And while I’ve meant to, debated, avoided, attempted and a whole bunch of other approaches of writing any type of blogpost before now, (I’m sure all of you were on the edge of your seat) I just didn’t. 2020 was the best and worst year for a feeler like myself. Forget an emotional rollercoaster, if felt like ship wreckage, but it simultaneously felt like strength and an undeniable opportunity to gain perspective. A chance to gain perspective of the middle. The uncomfortable gray area. Right in the space between all the push and pull. The push and pull of when to be silent and when to refrain from adding to the noise. The push and pull of rest and work. The chance to enter the space that helps us discover the balance or rather embody “the rhythm of the life of faith.”
Among many other questions that I asked for the chance to listen to her perspective of all of the racial turmoil in our country, I significantly remember asking JaKyra if I should post the photo of us that you’ve now had the chance to see. Maybe that seems silly, but at the time and even now I wrestle with the idea of sharing anything (ironic I know, because my downfall may be oversharing). Let’s get past my normal base level of being concerned of what people will think, but now more than ever, sharing anything either feels like an opportunity to step on holy ground with a heart or a super risky choice to self implode on a minefield of emotional slaughter set off by people’s opinions. If I posted the photo of us would I be virtue signaling or bragging that I was trying to do the heart work of having the hard, uncomfortable discussions about black oppression? Would people think that posting a photo of a conversation wasn’t enough? Did I even want to post it, because why do we have to post or show when we’re doing things? WHY IS IT SO HARD TO MAKE A DECISION?!
This is just the tip of the iceberg of the overwhelm of questions I’ve had for how to navigate the heavy things that are taking place in our world still today and how to show Jesus right in the middle of broken humanity. How do I seek justice, to denounce hate, but give grace and not condemn? How do I stand up and be a voice for the oppressed, but not cause further collateral heart damage when I will not be able to fully understand what it’s like to be someone who is oppressed based on the color of their skin? Is my time to pause, process and reflect being considered complicit silence? If I feel pressured to speak am I adding to a lot of the noise? Can I say what I feel about policies in our government or will someone view me as a heretic or hypocrite? Will my vote define my salvation? (I believe the answer to that is no.) My throat is scratchy, do I have COVID? My family member has COVID, should they have been more careful?!
Friends, I don’t know about you, but we were not meant to carry all of this. We will not solve this crazy cycle of striving to have the “right” answers and making everything right, right here and right now. “earth will never be our savior” remember? (Read the NMM photo above if you just skipped over that.). I’m convinced we’re all clinging to the hope that we are working to do the best we can and that we deep down in our souls do not want to live a life of judgement, hate or turmoil, but of love. If I’ve learned anything in the past year it’s this; sin doomed all of us to death. Sin still lives in our world and causes confusion, chaos and pain. And while this truth is not an excuse to not work and just avoid opportunities to do better, be better and love better as we’ve been commanded, we need to simultaneously rest in the hope and grace of Jesus who forever conquered sin by death on a cross and resurrection from the grave. This gives us life. We need to cling to the Savior who came to carry this load when it would become too much. We need to seek wisdom from the One who said right now you don’t understand what I’m doing, but one day you will. We need to freely give the same grace and forgiveness (which we do not deserve) that we are so freely quick to receive. We need to be “quick to listen, slow to speak” AND “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God” in prayer that we can see more of “His Kingdom come, more of His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
I want to get caught up in the rhythm of rest, so that I am able to better work for His kingdom. Any other treacherous cycle is too exhausting.
Maybe you’ve found yourself similarly in the painful cycle of trying to get all the problems of the world under control, and if you have let me suggest you lightening your load. Control is funny thing, because if you’re a believer it’s really a mirage of our humanity. We are at His mercy. We are under His rule, and every ounce of what comes to be is under His reign, but thank goodness we are under His control, because no matter how hard I try until we are freed from this place of sin, the world will still be broken. BUT Jesus supplies new mercies every morning and grace for everyone in the room.
Make your bed. Read Scripture. Fast from social media. Call a friend. Sit with someone in their pain. Write a letter. Take a walk. Sing a silly song.
I’m not telling you what to do, but whatever soul rest you need, accept His mercy, grace and invitation to release your burdens, so then you will be able to do the most important work of all; love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.