Be careful what you pray for. I heard a call to write everyday stories highlighting the intersection of Life and Faith. I thought I understood what such a call meant. Be careful what you pray for…
“God pricked my heart”
There is that insistent, gentle urging, a quiet pressing upon one’s spirit that could not be ignored. A beautiful image, I know and love several dear friends well suited to it. I lovingly describe them as my “white glove Christians.” They are soft, unfailingly polite, subtle, and I so desire to be one of them. I am NO such gentle girl. While capable of great gentleness, I am inclined toward big, bold, and brash. My heart and my words belong elsewhere. I desire quiet. I occasionally exude a mantle of peaceful joy, but alas, me and mine dance mostly to a different rhythm.
We are the Spiritual Gangsters
Originally the name of a yoga clothing line, this notion stunned me like a shot to the head. Captioning my faith calling and the way I felt God shaping my voice, so much so that I co-opted the phrase for my personal use. Reading the account of Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate where He was indicted for inciting riot, destabilizing the economy and attempting to overthrow the Roman government reminded me that Jesus was a Revolutionary. Christian Activist Bree Newsome who inspires me to braver action declared in a recent speech, “Jesus is one of the biggest agitators that ever lived…The only time Jesus was in the temple was when He’s flipping stuff over and stirring things up.”
So much for a gentle pricking of the heart.
It was time for me to be a little more like THAT Jesus. A rapidly changing world jeopardized both my Peace and the lives of people who were, or could be me and mine. God defied my notion of the lovely little dream I believed He’d set aside for me. It became clear that my Faith was wedded to Social Justice, and my pretty little God-Sized Dream threatened to become my waking nightmare.
God overtook my little writing dream.
I was trying to live out my God-Sized Dream, but only in part…like seeing through a glass darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12-13). In order to see more clearly, I prayed for Holy boldness to be brave, to risk offending, to bare my soul and my pain. My manageable, mostly inoffensive God-sized dream to write pretty stories stretched and cracked at the seams. I experienced that moment when your dream, as opposed to God’s for you, overtakes you and becomes something from which you cannot escape. I felt violated. I felt cheated. Sound familiar?
What about feeling like you have NO CHOICE?
I wanted to write about the Goodness of God. I got a little brave when someone I admired asked me to join a project in Christian love, about mothering African-American sons in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s senseless death. Hands folded, heart open, I wrote a requiem entitled Elegy for a Murdered Son. It was soft, and “white gloved.”
I thought it would be enough. It wasn’t.
I felt a sifting within me. My race, ethnicity, and culture shape and inform my perspective, not to the exclusion of other people, places, or things, but as a lens through which I experience the world. My comfortable lens was under siege, it hurt desperately, but it was only the beginning.
I could not hold my peace.
The world kept assaulting it. First it was a series of police-involved shootings of African-American men and boys, like my husband, my brother, my son. My world wasn’t quiet, and neither could I be. I no longer felt safe in my own country… and then there was the moment I couldn’t even feel safe in worship.
A preacher’s kid (PK), I grew up in a church like Mother Emmanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina. I could easily have been a victim like the nine souls carried into the Arms of Grace by a madman, who entered a church “to shoot black people.”
I thought I’d had enough worrying about my husband, son, brother, nephews, cousins, etc., all the men I love desperately, bravely living while Black in America where it seems we are constantly reminded we do not belong, we are not worthy, we do not have a valid stake. Then I realized that Sandra Bland could have been me.
Be careful what you pray for…
There is too much happening in the world affecting me personally, affecting us all to remain silent and content to play small any longer. My pretty little voice isn’t all God planted within me. I’m a God-Sized Dreamer, but the good work He began in me has outgrown my safe place. (<====Click to Tweet)
…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
I must simply trust God, since it has always been His Dream in me. It’s not a waking nightmare. It is what Jennie Allen in Restless calls…
A holy God given passion burning in my soul.
My voice, and my Faith (in order to be sufficiently brave) must grow. Why? Because God-Sized Dreams never belong to us. We don’t shape them. We certainly cannot control what they become. I wanted to be a “white glove” girl, but that’s not where He planted me to bloom. I can no longer hold my peace. I am a woman on fire for Christ, and for me,
Social Justice IS Spiritual Warfare.
I am a Spiritual Gangster. I’m getting in and staying in the fight, agitating like Jesus. Living out the dream He placed in me. His Dream, not mine. Because His Plans are always better.
Be careful what you dream for…you just might get it.
Shared By: Chelle Wilson