I filled in bubbles. I’ve taken those tests over and over when I was trying to find my calling. In discipleship training school and women’s bible studies, in bible college classrooms and online. I needed to find my purpose.
I wanted to be used by God so badly, I was pulling against my leash straining to be set free on the world. Here I am, send me was the anthem of my early walk. I wanted my days to matter.
I thought these tests would tell me God didn’t make a mistake when he planned for my life, my soul, my personality. I filled in check marks and tallies and tried to calculate the sum of my parts.
I got prophet. I got exhorter. I got discernment. I didn’t get hospitality or mercy or serving.
When I read all the descriptions it seemed to amount to someone who sees too much. Who knows or feels or senses more than what’s going on. In my youth, I took it to mean I was called to speak truth, so I did, lashing about with an angry tongue.
I called out weakness and bad theology, wishy-washy heretics and sin abounding misfits. I’ve always been able to see through things to the shabby underside we all try to gloss up. I had long lived the life of a great pretender.
I pointed out error and sin and I was usually right. And horribly wrong.
We’re so frivolous with our speech, our rights to speak our mind, to say what we want to say. But sometimes when we’ve spent them all, we find ourselves to be beggars with bloated bellies full of empty words. We gobble them down with ferocious tongues. We spin gossip and sinister tales prettied up and paraded about as prayer or justice or good Christian love.
We rant and slip words that break the body and shatter the most fragile among us. We call it truth.
We fill empty spaces with words when God’s pleading for us to still our hustling tongues and awaken our hearts to listen. We skip past repentance and lament and knowing and jump right into reparations and plans and to-do lists. We make quick amends instead of laboring long to know real truth. We think ourselves to be world changers.
We’re so quick to find the ugliness or to claim things as unblemished beauty when it’s so often both and neither. I see it everywhere. I see it in me.
Finding beauty and still speaking truth is hard. Because some things need saying. Over and over. Some words are dissonant in the ears of a body who are too comfortable with how it’s always been done and haven’t ever questioned if we should do better. Some things when held up as brilliant and unspoiled have the stench of rotten tainted fruit. These things need saying.
Sometimes we forget that God’s Kingdom just might do things in a tearing, uncomfortable birthing way, groaning new life out and laboring together.
In the past years, I’ve worried less about how I am made and cared more about who God is. Call it a re-centering. I was so consumed with God using me, I forgot to focus on God being with me, in me, the hope of glory. That Him in me, the spirit made flesh, breathes into my being and doing and seeing. That I don’t operate as one sent but as one moved.
I’m learning that truth spoken needs to be heard first. It needs to be ingested like manna, like a mystery, like provision for our very starved dependence. We need to taste and know that God is good to be able to speak the truth the world needs. Any other truth is a travesty.
So words matter. I think we can all agree on that. But sometimes what we don’t say is just as important as what we do. I want to live as one moved, not just sent.
This year I chose the word Dwell. This verse kept resonating with me as my deep call for the year. “Trust in the Lord and do good, Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” -Psalm 37:4 I took it to mean I was supposed to stay put, practice obedience to my small and mundane life, and learn to trust God in new ways. What I’ve learned more than anything is what it looks like for God to dwell in me. I am living the reminder that the work has been done, it is finished.
I’ve placed in my home some reminders. Dwell and Kingdom Come from Dayspring’s Letterpress block collection. I love them. I think you’ll love them too so I’m giving away a chance for one person to win a $50 credit towards their own #wordsmatter Letterpress blocks.