I read my friend, Sarah Bessey’s beautiful words’s the other day and wept. Ten minutes later I’d written the following response.
“I’m the one who gets on your nerves, the one you wish would go away, I know. Maybe I embarrass you. Maybe I worry you. Maybe I anger you. Maybe it’s a bit of insecurity? jealousy? fear? Or maybe, just maybe, you’re afraid of people like me.” -Sarah Bessey
I too, feel this tension when I find out a friend is embarrassed by my online words. I feel this when the people who know and love me grow uncomfortable with my details. Unlike a random reader, they got a dog in a fight, I get it. People tell us they worry. They worry about these “new perspectives,” this new boldness. They hear me lament over African-Americans abortion statistics and they tell me to shut up about it all ready. They call me a f*ck!ng c*nt for calling out the racism surrounding a movie. A movie.
You feel the weight of Sarah’s sentiment “I’M NOT AFRAID OF YOU!”, just like me, because you long to live into them. You choose honesty over fear, transparency over pride. You know you don’t fit into anyone’s box but you work to fit in your own.
You were a Campus Minister. You were. You were seen as an up and coming leader. Now who’s evaluating? Everyone and no one, it seems. Hopefully, you’re an up-and-coming something to someone but, who knows? You were well on your way towards a Master of Divinity but now…now you don’t want that degree. You won’t squeeze yourself into the places you thought you had to go. You thought you were a happy working Mama but sometimes you wish you were a crunchy, granola-eating, home-schooling, urban homesteader crafty-crafterson. You thought you could home school, but sometimes you long to rest in a clean cubicle haven.
You wonder who has disqualified you. You or they? Or both? If you don’t know which way is up, how can you pinpoint where all this damn fear is coming from? You’ve learned by now, very little is in your control. Almost nothing. Maybe is a certainty.
:::: Maybe I will never be Christian Minister ENOUGH to ever go back into full-time Ministry.
:::: Maybe I will never be healed enough to be the wife I assumed I would be.
:::: Maybe I will never be called to Church Ministry, and will never finish that Masters of Divinity.
:::: Maybe I will always feel a bit jaded, broken, sorrowful.
:::: Maybe I will always long for heaven, maybe I will never feel that I truly fit in here.
:::: Maybe I will always feel overly angry and generally insane that over 30 million African-American babies have been aborted in the last 40 years.
:::: Maybe I will never truly understand and feel content nor at home with the definition of Feminism.
:::: Maybe I will.
:::: Maybe I won’t ever commit to being a Democrat.
:::: Maybe I won’t ever commit to being a Republican.
:::: Maybe one day I won’t feel powerless in politics and actually engage.
:::: Maybe I won’t ever have a really cool, really big, really awesome REALLY OFFICIAL leadership position.
:::: Maybe I will.
:::: Maybe I won’t be considered a theologian (which is a good, good thing).
:::: Maybe I will fight for freedom, fight for the poor, fight for women’s rights, fight to end abortion all in the name of Jesus.
:::: Maybe I will push for healing and advocacy in ways that make me feel like I’ve lived a good, full life…even if I never hit a “success” standard.
:::: Maybe I’ll still have these sex demons, try as I might to cast them out.
:::: Maybe I’ll never come off as a certain acceptable way to ANYONE.
:::: Maybe whites will never fully accept me.
:::: Maybe black Christians will find me too liberal, too this, too that.
:::: Maybe I’ll keep carrying my torch of home for African-Americans and preaching my song to see us, hear us, love us, advocate and maybe that will grind up under their skin but I WILL preach it, OH YES I WILL.
:::: Maybe I’ll keep pressing us wealthy 1st-worlder’s to give a crap-ton MORE money to the poor, and to STOP complaining about taxes that serve the poor and to adopt African-American children who need homes. Maybe that will make them uncomfortable but I will still preach it, OH YES I WILL.
:::: Maybe I’ll keep calling us to love broken people, to have patience with our issues, to serve those in broken marriages. Maybe it’s inconvenient but I will STILL preach it, OH YES I WILL.
:::: Maybe I won’t be content to let my white American friends self segregate. Maybe I will keep calling them to extend a hand, an arm, an ear, a friendship to someone who looks different. Maybe that will piss them off.
:::: Maybe I won’t be content to let my black friends merely “tolerate” the whites they must interact with. Maybe I will call them to something deeper and maybe they will say I have “taken this Gospel thing too far,” but I will still preach it, OH YES I WILL.
Maybe they won’t “fear for me” when I walk into Hollywood with MY story. Maybe they’ll extend me some trust. Maybe they’ll wonder “why are you going THERE?” but maybe they’ll see I’m not afraid for me -or my children- to walk ANY-FREAKING-WHERE when I know fa DOGGONE SHO that NOTHING can remove me or these precious babies of mine from the love of Christ.
Maybe they’ll see us. Maybe they’ll see us as someone worth loving, someone worth investing in, someone worth tweeting. Maybe they’ll disagree with us, but maybe they’ll tell us in love, truth and humility. Maybe they’ll judge us for being a working Mama with a writing side hustle, but they’ll know we need help and maybe they’ll come throw a load of laundry in, maybe give us a date night.
Maybe they’ll get off the back of one of my dear friends -a home-schooling Mama of 5 trying to make a difference through writing plays and movies. Maybe they won’t judge her for creating her life differently than what THEY think her life should look like. Maybe you’ll come bring her a Holiday Ham on Christmas instead of telling her she’s doing ALL the things wrong. God forbid, all the homeschooling Moms don’t look, act, think & smell the same way. Maybe they’ll understand their Mommy blog brings them as much joy and release as her making major motion pictures that challenge the status quo.
Maybe we’ll do what we love to do anyway. Maybe we’ll do what were CALLED TO DO anyway. Maybe someone will support us. Maybe someone will call it out, “hey little Buddy, I see your fear but push on, Sis. You got this.”
Maybe it won’t all turn out the way we thought. Maybe the reflection in the mirror, the character underneath that judgmental glass is far worse upon closer inspection, but maybe we will love ourselves enough to be courageous. Maybe we will make the best of what we have to offer. Maybe we will embrace all this imperfection in a BIG act of faith: self love, (maybe the biggest of all). Maybe God will be perfectly pleased with our life, even if they aren’t.
Maybe you will love you, just as you are.
I am planning on it, OH YES I WILL.