a self-reflection.

*Before this post, I want to create some space to share some resources that I have been using to learn more about the current social and cultural conversation. And, I want to be mindful of continuing to create space for the voices that may need more space to be louder, and be heard.

I found 13th on Netflix to be very informative and greatly eye-opening. I have been following (for quite some time) Spankie Valentine, Tia and Tamara Mowry, Paul Nison, Humans of New York, Love What Matters on Instagram, and many more. I’ve started following Black Coffee with White Friends on Instagram as well, and have several books in my Amazon list that I am looking forward to being challenged with, such as White Fragility, So You Want to Talk About Race,The New Jim Crow, Why Are All the Black Kids Sittings Together in the Cafeteria, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America, and many more. I am feeling an incredible urge to understand perspectives outside of my own; what are some things you have been doing to bridge the gap and learn to understand?*

The past two weeks have been greatly emotionally reflective and recharging for me. Last week started with an argument with a friend of mine about applications of Christianity, and the next day started the racial protests. The death of George Floyd sat really differently with me than any other horrible deaths before. It was like God softened my heart to His hurting heart and I’ve been forever changed. I’m unsteady, but I’m learning that if God asked me to hurt and to learn about the pain of His children that look different than me, than I must be faithful and learn to listen, both to my God and to my brothers and sisters.

I’m finding that it hurts my heart to hear others not understand that the protests are not based on a political or social justice thing, but a God thing. But God is reminding me that a relationship with Him is not about anyone else; it’s about me being obedient to Him and Him alone.

God is reminding me that He is a God of love, regardless of comfort level, or what I agree with. “I might not be able to understand, but I can weep with those who are weeping, and that is some Jesus.”

I’m finding, that as news outlets “pick a side” and bash other perspectives, I feel less and less drawn to their material, regardless if I like their thought processes.

God is revealing to me that when I complain (which I have been known to do a lot of over recent months), it stems from a place of ungratefulness, paired with depression. Through this revelation, I’m discovering that though I may complain, I never question God’s greatness and sovereignty in my life; I may just be blinded to it at the moment.

Through the conversation with my friend, God revealed to me that I struggle daily with keeping my focus on Him and not wordly things. I will admit, though, that this is getting better as my mindset gets clearer.

I’ve been really challenged and encouraged by Esther 4:14 “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (NIV)

I’m finding (and I say this a lot to my clients at work) that changing behavior is hard, and though I know this, but to recognize that my behavior, regarding those of different races, is painful. I’m finding that it’s hard to recognize that I may have internalized some level of “me-ness and other-ness”, or even xenophobia. God is revealing to me that I may truly have looked at others differently, and it hurts to be convicted as such. But when we ask God to work on our hearts, He will show us the things that aren’t of Him, and normally they are the things that hurt.

God is revealing to me that I have a horrible tendency to, when I’m trying to make friends, to talk like or act like I am the smartest, most knowledgeable/wordly person in the room. I often don’t like myself when I leave those situations, so I can only imagine how the other people view me.

God sometimes reveals Himself to me in the grey-ness of sleep right before waking, and a few days ago, He left a print of a statement in my vision: God is not Democrat. God is not Republican. God is God.

I have begun to pray for a shower of God’s holy fire for injustice and healing (both physical and cultural) so I can step into a powerful obedience (with Esther echoing around my head).

Compared to 2 months ago, let alone 6 months ago, I am more myself than ever. I feel at peace, and am happy again. I still don’t feel settled in my job, in that I don’t know what I want to do with my life, but I know my present job isn’t it. However, God reminds me daily how easily this can be handled when I give my discomfort and struggles to Him. He’s reminding me that He can and will use me where I am. How beautiful the promise that God has me at this job for a reason. And, though life with God is the craziest rollercoaster, each day I’m more excited for the ride.

With the coming summer, and with a weekend trip to a cabin with some dear friends, I’m reminded how much nature and fellowship refresh my soul.

How beautiful is it to serve a God to encourages and delights in growth and reflection. As I’m writing this, God revealed to me that it’s in our reflections that we find more of His character and more of His love for us.

And how beautiful is it to praise God during our struggles and pain and heartache, and how still beautiful to praise Him in our break throughs.

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