“I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery. ” ~Brennan Manning
This is an odd way to capsulate my weekend at the NW Women’s Show but I must address the grip of oppression that visited my exhausted spirit somewhere around three thirty in the afternoon on Sunday and didn’t let up until rising Tuesday morning.
This often happens when I step out bravely to love deeply in the name of Jesus.
The enemy is too predictable and I should learn to expect these things, but the circumstances and quivering in my body still rocks me every time. He likes to bug those around me prior to stepping out (like technical snafus and car accidents), but it’s always after the fact when the bullet aims solely on me with shots of self doubt.
“Who do you think you are?”
“You didn’t say enough or pray enough.”
Mockery. Torment. Heaviness. Untapped emotion.
The accuser got me going on a whole different line of thinking this time, however.
The enemy had me question whether Jesus is enough!
Poor boundaries on my part (like forgetting to even take a sip of water until 2:30pm on the first day of the show) led me to a level of exhaustion well beyond healthy as I chose to fully engage in purposeful conversation for thirty hours in three days. It was about hour twenty-eight when the conversation required extra reserves, which I’d foolishly used up without taking care of myself.
I was interviewed for an online television program that reaches hundreds of thousands of viewers. I did not go into the interview blind and was well aware beforehand that this audience and host have a “spiritual” worldview, not necessarily a Christian worldview.
I would do the interview again tomorrow. The host and I had a great conversation and what she shared with me hasn’t left my thoughts. She said, “Kim, when you get kicked out of Catholic boarding school as a seven year old child it does something to you.”
I’m so glad I listened.
I’m so glad I know her story because her choice today makes sense to me, especially if she hasn’t had a Christian person ever stop and listen to her, instead of just waiting to give her the answers. There is a time and a place for answers, but there is also an important space and opportunity for attentive understanding as stories of hurt unfold.
What took me off guard, however, was her ease in talking about Jesus too. She’s had conversations with him as well.
I’m not about to doubt or question whether this is true or not. Jesus is passionate about pursuing humankind. He died for you and for me. He hung for her and them.
Where I’ve had to wrestle since that conversation is in our individual understanding about who Jesus is. Was he just a good man or the Savior of the world? Was he an example of morality or the fulfillment of the law and the means from which we receive forgiveness, pardon, and entrance into the glorious unknown? Is Jesus one way or the only way?
If you ever doubted, I am on the latter side of each question above. People can talk about Jesus and still not know him.
The historical person of Jesus can be universally known, but not understood in the same way a broken person recognizes her sin and need of forgiveness.
For me, Jesus is Savior and Lord.
Immediately following this interview I had the privilege to sit down for over an hour with a beautiful girl I met on Saturday at the show. She showed interest in leading a CoffeeHouse Chat and I was able to lovingly explain that a participant is welcome to join a group wherever she may be on her life journey, but anyone leading a CoffeeHouse Chat must have a biblical understanding of Jesus and be in a growing relationship with Him.
She respected my honesty and wanted to know more. She was brave enough, vulnerable enough, and authentic enough to ask really great questions. Her and I sitting at a table in the Quest Event Center will go down as one of my favorite conversations of all time.
It was real. Raw. She sought to understand me and I to understand her in return.
I believe both of these conversations–the interview and the beautiful girl–were eternally significant. Both were held with respect and honor for one another’s journey.
And the enemy didn’t like either conversation.
Self doubt and relentless torment stormed in to steal whatever was left of my strength.
God, what have I done? Did I misrepresent your name in any way? I should have quoted scripture during that interview. I should have drawn a diagram with the beautiful girl. I should have explained more what I mean when I say the name of Jesus! What if what I said is misrepresented?
I walked through my front door into the arms of The Teacher as a pile of wrecked bones. Nothing left. I can’t do this. I fail.
Of course I fail, came the rested voice a day later.
Jesus never intended for me to be responsible for him. He is capable.
Jesus IS enough!
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
To you, interview host, I write:
“Thank you for sharing a bit of your story with me. I’m sorry, on behalf of the “church” that you had to endure rejection so young. A seven year old shouldn’t be kicked out of anywhere. That was man’s limited failure, not God. Please keep talking to Jesus. He’s right there.”
To you, beautiful girl, I write:
“Did you buy that Bible yet? If not, I’ll mail one! It’s a love letter written just for you! Jesus can’t wait for you to get to know him. Keep asking great questions. Stay on the journey. Thank you for asking me the most heartfelt questions and really seeking to understand what Chicks with Choices is all about. Thank you for crying with me over the answer and understanding how passionate I feel about people knowing Jesus real.
I promise to keep choosing brave. It’s hard. There is an enemy who wants people like me to stay behind church doors and not get out in the world to love, to listen, and meet amazing people like yourself. I choose to keep going.
Beautiful girls like you make my pile of wrecked bones worth it and Jesus, who is more than enough, always puts me back together again! He puts all of us together. He’s the only one who can. He is enough.”
Photo credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)