Disclaimer. Usually when I write "we", "Christians", or "us", I mean "I" and "me".
Raw. Honesty. Truth telling. Exposure.
All of those are words that probably made 80% of you not want to read this post anymore. Ha!
Those words make us uncomfortable because saying the absolute truth is an uncomfortable experience. I can think of a few instances even today where I wish I would have spoken up to say what I was thinking or believed about a subject. Not to prove that I was right, but so that I would not have been run over. None of the instances today were matters of life and death, truth or error, or even will matter in the long run. But the little moments that I let pass me today will add up after a while.
Little places where I feel as if someone has wronged me will end with resentment if I'm not careful. Little places where I avoid speaking up for fear of being wrong will lead to fear because it's been so long since I've spoken up.
I think when our soul cries for us to speak up and we don't, it damages us.
My concern with this idea comes from reading the Bible recently. For a class assignment (I'm still working on my undergrad.. gotta get that diploma baby!) this week, I was assigned to read 2 Chronicles and relate it to worship. But as always with God's word, it spoke not only to worship but, like a disco ball, all of the other aspects of my life. One text reflected into a thousand pieces on my heart and soul.
One of my favorite parts was in chapter 20. Jehoshaphat was king of Judah and the Moabites and Ammonites were coming against them for battle. He was very scared as their numbers were double of his army. I don't know about you, but in places where I feel like I have authority, (such as being a 22 year old white girl) pride tends to creep in and I don't want people to know when I don't have a clue what's going on. As I've gotten older, I have realized that there are lots of other people in this world who know much more than I do. And the best ones remind me of that fact. Enough about me: Back to Jehoshaphat. He was afraid. As king of Judah, he should know all there is about war and unlike our presidents stand in front of us with confidence, he was scared and admitted that he didn't know what to do. He stood before his people and asked the Lord what to do. He humbled himself in front of his people. Incredible. Then he prayed and asked God what to do. The last line of his prayer blew me away.
"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."
2 Chronicles 20:12
I'm pretty sure I laughed out loud when I read that. I was in a coffee shop so it was little embarrassing. But for all the pride we see in our world, King Jehoshaphat humbled himself by plainly saying "I don't know what to do," in front of a lot of people, people he was supposed to lead.
When was the last time that we were that honest? Maybe it's because I'm opinionated and I know lots of opinionated people, but we like to always have an answer. I've never asked somebody about an important situation in their lives (job, marriage, etc) and heard them say, "I have no idea. But I'm waiting on the Lord." We always have an opinion about what we'd like to happen or a guess at what is going to happen.
But when Jehoshaphat prayed this, the Spirit of the Lord came upon a man in the assembly and he stood up and said, "Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde[army], for the battle is not yours but God's." (v.15) He went on to tell them that they would win and the Lord would be with them. And all of it was true!
First, I wonder what it was like to be that man. The guy who stood up and answered the prayer that the king had just prayed. He answered the KING! If his wife was there (hypothetical, of course), I bet she wanted to say, "Sit down. Sit down. Sit DOWN. Don't you answer the king. You think you have a word from God? You're going to have a word from ME if you embarrass me!" But when the Spirit spoke to his soul, he spoke up. Second, I wonder what it was like in the room. Jehoshaphat expressed that he was going to trust the Lord, but I'm sure worry was rampant amongst the people. Then Jahaziel (the guy who spoke up) stood up and sent away every fear with a word from the Lord.
So maybe if we started being really honest with each other when we don't have a clue, even about the important things, the Holy Spirit would be free to move amongst the people around us, to speak through them, to reassure us and guide us.
I told you in the disclaimer that I really meant "I" and "me"!
This week as we worshiped together, we sang,
"Heaven Fall Down" by Phil Wickham (new, awesome song!)
"Savior's Here" by Kari Jobe
"Lay Me Down" by Chris Tomlin
for offering, "Do Everything" by Steven Curtis Chapman (a review of that whole album halfway through this post.)
and for Communion, "Your Great Name" by Natalie Grant.
So this week, I encourage you to
1. Read 2 Chronicles 20, or the whole book. There are some amazing stories of God's faithfulness. Probably one of the most encouraging things I've read in a while since I read all 36 chapters in a few days.
2. Be honest! Speak up! When your soul says to speak, don't tell it to be quiet. Your soul is the essence of you. Don't quench it for pride or fear. God is ready to speak, but you have to give Him the opportunity, and that includes talking to other people honestly!