Continuing the conversation from “Loving people in Process.”
Have you ever met with someone that appeared to be on the edge of walking away from God? Or have you ever been that person?
Well, I have, on both accounts. Usually any questions I wrestle with, I need people to talk to. As I was wrestling with many questions about identity, faith, and sexuality; I had many responses. I have been able to reflect on how different responses impacted me, as I was in process. Some conversations I walked away from feeling hopeless and bound to lose, while others left me feeling empowered to draw close to Jesus. Everyone I spoke with I love and I know loves me, I would not of spoken with them if that were not true. So what was different?
There is a phrase that I heard, that I myself have said to others. “I fear for you.” This is well intentioned and a valid emotion to express. And even when people did not say it, I could feel it; an expectation that what I am thinking will cause me to fall off the band wagon. Though I did feel comforted through their friendship and grateful to have them in my life; I walked away feeling their fear and anxiety for me.
The conversations that empowered me were those that sat with me in the tension with empathy and comfort. There was a peace in confidence that God is my shepherd, and that He is good. I did not feel any expectations in these interactions, just simply felt loved where I was in the present.
The Lord brought my mind to 1 Corinthians 13, “Love HOPES all things and BELIEVES all things.” To respond in love, is trust in the power of God’s Word and Spirit in the lives of people. There is no fear in love.
The older I get, the more peace I feel with process. Wrestling through faith, facing pain and doubt, is necessary. This is where God makes faith our own journey. Even those who wander for years, the Lord is with them. We are all on a journey and I am not responsible for yours, just as you are not responsible for mine.