If I do this right, literally no one is going to like me when they read it. Ok.
I was rambling about Paul yesterday, and I realized how much people have thought that that is some special magical thing when I talk to them about it in person, the thinking about Paul and others as my homies thing. It is confusing, because the same people who think it is fabulous are the same people that are somehow jealous, even though they know so much more about the Bible than me. They used to be able to ignore what I say by pretending I wasn’t a “good” Christian. Now, they have to struggle a lot harder to find ridiculous reasons to “put me in my place”.
What the heck?
I don’t understand how you could ever believe in an almighty God, and then take it upon yourself to try to destroy someone who actually cares. I know it is insecurity, but I would ask for the best for you. I probably do and you don’t know it. What is funniest to me that people always talk about how they wished young people would care more or they wish ________ would find Jesus, and they are completely misrepresenting what they actually want. You want THE GAYS© to find Jesus? I know some of THE GAYS© that know him buckets better than you. You want THE WOMEN© to know God? Hahahhhaha yeah, that’s cute. You want THE liberalSatanenemy© to believe in a Christ that lives? Where have you been??
It baffles me. I fit all of the descriptors of what you want, and yet, people still drag my past into Jesus like it aint no thang to be misrepresenting. Ok. Fine. Because I know people will do it anyways, let me be the first to be very obvious and transparent, because I have been trying to do that this entire time. People still think I’m Satan; really, nothing has changed on that front. I’m still living my life. They are still living theirs. I love my friends regardless of if they are Christian, but I swear, most people my age think I am some lucky son of a gun for believing in a Christ that lives. As if.
So, it is pretty obvious that I’m young. Most people who are older than me tell me that is good, that I have some special gift that came completely easily and will never leave and I’m just a genie in a clay pot kinda thing. No. Hell to the no. My faith was actually made on the back of that misconception. When I was younger and I needed help, there was no one. Not people my age, not people in the church, not people 1000+ years old, just God. My teachers helped here or there, but they didn’t get it because they didn’t ask and actually care to listen. At least they asked, though. Better than the people who were my age and certainly didn’t care unless we were complaining. When you complain about something that is genuinely terrible though, you become the pariah. Welp best to start that very young, in my experience. It’s like shingles, it’s best that you imbibe a little poison as you go so when reality hits you like a softball @ 50mph to the face, you don’t die. I know that life can be hard, especially if you grew up in a church and never realized how freaking fabulous you have always had it, but at this point, I figure most people have seen enough of my true colors come hell or high water to tune out anyways. Nothing has changed on that one. If you care to listen, you will, it doesn’t make a difference if it’s the Gospel or the crying 5 year old who stubbed his toe. It just is.
I’m not complaining, seriously, if you were here sitting with me you would know that I’m serious but not angry. I’m not angry because talking about it helps, to some extent. I still don’t want to become famous in any way. I’m not about to sell my story, please take it if you want. But this is where we stand, if you are allowing me to be part of your church. And unfortunately, where we stand is not so happy as so many people would like to pretend.
People my age think I’m lucky. I have no idea why. I guess because I have decided to follow Jesus. But so have they? I get people thinking I’m a liar or some sort of genie no matter if you are much older than me or even younger. What I don’t understand is why it even matters. I talk about age, and race, and gender, and sexual orientation, and gifts, and difference, and whatever else not because I actually care to talk about those things (except because I love people), but because apparently they need talked about, especially in the church. It’s not that I think my words are so great, they aren’t. They never have been, and they certainly won’t be if I make it to the milestones people hope for me.
I don’t understand. I value people in time, I just do. I value my happiness in time, and that isn’t good, so I try to value it more in God. I like words, I like time, I like service, those are my love languages, so yeah, maybe I do have an advantage there. I say what I think and I always have, and I’m very resilient. I know a lot about myself too, I guess. But the thing is, all of that knowledge and endurance came after years of being completely miserable. Learning to clean up messes that weren’t exclusively mine, or yours, or anyone’s. Knowing God best when volunteering because I love it and no other reason. Sacrifice and a lot of tears.
Yet people still look to me like I have no authority to say what I know. I am young, thus, I am dumb or very naïve at best. Right.
Or, I have all these hard won life skills that makes me more prepared and more awesome and more blessed because I resemble an adult and am just somehow more awesome. Oh hell no. Hell to the no. Definitely not the case.
I am a woman. Yes. I guess that makes me better equipped to tackle the sexism and creeper status that many people pull off fabulously in any church I’ve ever been in? The creepy older men that think it’s okay to treat women my age with internalized malice and never talk about it? Or the ones that don’t not talk about it, they rape or cheat or steal. Yeah, tell me again why I’m so lucky.
Or, how about all the older women that think I’m special in a way that they aren’t? It’s not true. It isn’t. I value time, and if we are going by what I see, I see that most of you are a lot more fabulous than me because you survived longer. I listen to my elders not just because that is what the “obedient” (what is that srsly tell me in 10 words or less) thing to do is, but because they truly do know more. Most people my age would not, I am well aware of that, but I consider it a blessing. Now, they aren’t perfect and I have to put up with their idiosyncrasies like they tolerate mine, but that is what family does, and WE ARE THE FAMILY OF GOD, RIGHT? Or did I read all of those verses wrong?
I will say as a side note though, if you want people my age to listen in anything, you must lead with the truth. You can’t make it smaller. We have had to develop very good lie detectors because all of what we read, or see, or know is embroiled in a sea of lies, and we won’t listen to you if you aren’t genuine because we seriously won’t care to hear another voice telling us how we are ruining our lives. The pressure placed on my generation is the stuff of nightmares: you have to figure out every facet of your life in five years or less, from 20 to 25ish, otherwise you have failed. As if. No. No no no no that is not how it works. But the information we know have in every place falls upon knowing ears and undeveloped brains that also don’t want to listen to hypocrites. Don’t lie to us. Treat us as human beings from the moment we are born to the moment we die, we will do the same for you. It is so much simpler than we make it. Let us help you, or think we are lazy. Those are your choices.
Sexual orientation, I could write a book on this one, but it would probably become a bestselling bullet. Please don’t be cruel. That is all God asks.
I guess I’m kinda pretty? I have no idea. You have people on either side of that argument pretending that pretty is genuine or pretending that pretty is plastic and I for one never really cared to listen to any of it, other than to live my stupid life, and do it well.
I can make food on like, 5 ingredients or less?
I can make a lot of things, actually?
I could probably figure out how to sell what I make and maybe even put myself through college?
I could probably do a lot, honestly, because I know I can.
All the things that people tell young people to be, I more or less am. And yet, y’all henpeck and complain just as much as otherwise. It shuts down the comparisons and bickering you try to pass on to us waaaaaaaaaaaay quicker than anything printed in Scripture. Young people, united against a common enemy. Are you really prepared to know that it is you?
I believe God, because he is the only one that never fails. Of anyone. Ever. It sounded like my best option when I made the choice. I knew a lot about God and other people before I made that choice. I was ready to do it with my full heart. It has become a blessing beyond words to receive. I am aware of that every single day, most of the time. But no one ever said this life was easy. I try to share bits and pieces of mine so that if you meet me someday, you will know that it is no easier for me than for anyone, and because truly, I just want to follow Jesus. That is it. I don’t have stipulations or limits on that, and neither should we.
If I write about something, generally speaking, it is because I am thinking on it, because it is on my heart. It is usually necessary. Sometimes I think about things that my friends or family is experiencing, for better or for worse. I like to talk about my dogs, sure. I like to talk about the Gospel, about all the people I’d like to meet in Heaven, and I like to talk about Jesus. No one ever said we had to do it perfectly, but I am trying. I don’t want to offend people, but some things are necessary to talk about if they divide us as the body of Christ. I don’t know how you can resolve communication and conflict problems except to talk about it. Body language is a kind of language too, don’t forget.
There are very few choices in choosing to choose better. We can ignore what we don’t know because it is convenient, and trust that if we knew it, we’d be happier. Or we can believe what we do know. We can doubt the nasty things that seriously do make us miserable if put in practice. Or we can keep going and realize that the God of Abraham and Isaac loves us so much more than we could ever imagine and just let it be that way. I say the same kinds of things, but I hope to say them with increasing love over the course of my life, however long it may be. I don’t believe in being afraid. I get scared, sure, but I try to say it clearly. I don’t believe in letting your fear own you, in anything. I do believe in Jesus.
I don’t want to be the kind of person that doesn’t mean what they say. I don’t want to be the kind of person that doesn’t think about others, or know the consequences of what she has to say on the world. I know those consequences. I know them personally. But honestly, it was never going to be perfect if it was coming from me, or you, or anyone, and some things desperately need said. I think it’s funny that I get less likes on this blog when I say things that are the things that most need said. I need to probably start filtering all of these emails, if we’re taking it one step more personal. But I still believe that honesty heals, no matter how poorly we do it. There is a silver lining that I think you’d see if you were to meet me: I am very much like this in person as well. That gives me peace. It also makes me angry sometimes, because of my ego. But the point is, it shouldn’t matter. I still don’t believe in luck, I believe in God. I know he calls the shots, even if we don’t see them. If you can’t appreciate that he is bigger and greater than your ego, you probably don’t trust him enough to know him very well, and that is so sad if you think about the context of this great gift you have been given. Thousands of years. So much blood. So many deaths and tears and so much sacrifice, for the sake of what, convenience? I know that if my words have any authority, it comes from God, and that gives me great peace. But I couldn’t make this up if I tried, and that is the biggest blessing I could ever receive: to have no choice but to be honest as a source of my credibility.
No one would believe me if I didn’t tell it exactly how it is, and quite frankly, they shouldn’t. No one would know either, because I wouldn’t bother, because it would mean nothing. The hardest thing for me in the world is to talk about some of this stuff, but it is a blessing, because I’m still not afraid. I guess people could stalk me if they want, but I’ll just make another joke about rusty scissors and semi-feminism (I just made that up, still not a feminist, still think they’re nice people) and move forward. In fact, I’d probably do the adult thing and call the police and go through the legal system. But as long as people think that I’m some crazy granola liberal radical wingnut, I may as well use that to prove them bitterly wrong, right?
We have these stereotypes to transcend them for the sake of love and nothing else. It doesn’t get any more simple. We have to make an effort. And that is still what I would say if anyone asked me right here right now.
I am very used to saying what people want me to say, at least, in my past lives. It is very easy. I try to get other people’s sides of the stories first so that I can just give them the answer they want and get it over with. But that is not what Christ would do. If I can tell what people want me to say and it is at conflict with what Jesus would do? I am still going to pick Jesus, and I hope that always continues that way.
You don’t need to know much about this to believe it. You don’t. It’s true. I sit in classes so much of every day with words that tell me I am an outlier for just being myself. I sit in church pews that tell me it’s basically the same story. I know that there is no real difference between church pews and carefully lined up little chairs in cold rooms on campus, but my dream is that there would be, in all churches, until forever can take hold.
I am done asking “What do you want from me” because the stupid target always changes. This is what I’ve got. It is enough to God. I’m leaving it at that.
If you have read this, thank you for listening. It matters.