I got coffee with one of my good friends the other day and as we were talking I could see the beginning of tears in her eyes, riddled with sadness, frustration, anger – all of it – and I wanted to cry too.
“You know what one of the things I love most about you is,” she asked. “You listen to the Lord more than anyone I know,”she smiled at me, reaffirming before she caught my eyes and sunk the knife in, “but even though you know what he wants you to do, you don’t act immediately – like you’re waiting for him to change his mind or something.”
I caught my breath. Ouch. But then…is it not true? Here we were, sitting next to each other, my hands shaking and my heart burning from an ache I wasn’t entirely ready to admit, and the only reason this conversation was anything different from any of the others we’ve had in the past couple months is because this time I did something.
I like to think of myself as a bold person. Never slow to speak the truth, and certainly not slow to act on behalf of those that I love… But when it comes to listening to the Almighty I often find that the story takes a different turn. I trust that the Lord has a plan, but I am slow to act accordingly because – even though he’s proven over and over again his faithfulness to follow through with his better plan – I am terrified of losing the things that I, in my humanity, think are the most dear.
And here I was, the Lord asking me to reevaluate one of the relationships that I held most dear, and asking me to dial back my involvement, and I hated it. For three weeks I had been locked in a back and forth with God. He had been telling me to loosen the reigns, I had been telling him no. He had been telling me to chose a different path because that’s what he had for me, I had been telling him no. He had been telling me to give my heart ache to him, I had been telling him no. But, it’s because of his persistence that I knew what was coming…and I knew that it would suck.
So for three weeks I mourned the loss of a relationship that hadn’t even taken a blow yet, for three weeks I asked God if their was another way that hurt less. For three weeks I asked God to change his plan. It was his turn to tell me no.
So I knew what was coming, and I knew what conversation I needed to have, and I knew what in my life was going to have to change. I knew where I felt convicted and where I felt validated.
God told me it would hurt, and I hated that, so I came back to campus and waited as long as I could, but, like I said, God is persistent and he sent a series of signals to me to make clear what plan he had for me.
I always feel weird saying that God is calling me to do something because – unfortunately – it’s not like I have a direct phone line to heaven.
However, it has been my experience that the Big guy is pretty persistent with me in illustrating what he wants from me. Lately he’s shown me how great it is to incandescently believe in the plan that he has for me. He’s been nothing but obvious about what he wants from me – whether that be his guiding my hand as I journal, spontaneously opening my Bible to my convictions, or putting people in my life to call me out on my “ish” (for lack of a better word).
He was right, it did hurt.
But I knew it was coming. I cried before it happened, I mourned it so much that by the time I did what he was calling me out to do there was nothing left. I was resigned.
It sucked. It hurt. I hated it.
But its done.
And that’s where this “call me out” thing comes from.
It was there, the other night, sitting across from one of my most treasured friends when she said “I’ve been waiting for you to say this to me, and I’ve been praying for it for so long.” And then I saw the tears again.
It was a hard thing to hear. I asked her why this was the first time she had said anything and she told me that she had tried before, but this was one of those things that I had made clear I was going to have to learn on my own. It was one of those moments of clarity that sort of knocks the air out of your lungs – it was like the world slowed down and my lens zoomed out to see the entirety of the situation.
For weeks God had been calling me to move – why had it taken me so freaking long to do something?
I had been scared. I had been unwilling. I had been compromised. I had narrowed my vision to a dangerously small perspective. And it was this moment – this instance of being called out that shocked things back into perspective.
From there I got to talk with some other really incredible and Godly women about everything. It was altogether life-giving and beautiful. I presented an idea, and rather than BS their way through a response, they genuinely listened and then gave wisdom instead of know-how. They reassured me of the goodness of God in situations that don’t feel too good. They gave me an opportunity to remember what it looks like to be in community. They demonstrated to me the beauty of a Godly woman.
They called me out on my crap, but rather than just tell me what I was doing wrong they offered some honest perspective into it.
Here’s the thing – I’m not slow to call people out. I’m learning how to do it in a loving way.
And I have God-fearing people in my life who do the same for me, and I have never been more thankful.
Because it’s these voices who remind me where it’s my priority to fix my eyes.