I wouldn’t use the word bold to describe myself, and I’ve struggled with courage, but I’ve tried to be faithful. I don’t hide the fact I’m a Christian. I’ve been intentional about looking for opportunities to work my faith into my conversations. I’ve prayed for or with people when they are feeling hopeless or weary. I’ve shared the Gospel a few times, and in general have tried to bear good fruit. But, in all my subtle and overt faith-sharing experiences, I’ve never been met with hostility.
Jesus was not unfamiliar with political turmoil, oppression, and war. Israel was under the oppressive rule of Rome when he walked the earth. There were riots, starvation, sickness, and political uprisings. Jesus had firsthand experience with conflict. And yet his purpose on earth was not to bring political peace or an era where the nation of Israel would be free from tyranny. And His purpose was not to passively allow the oppressors to take advantage or exploit him.
When Jesus uses the word “heart” he is referring here to the center of a person’s entire being. This is why at Across My Heart, we talk about holistic purity: purity involving not just physical actions, but a person’s mind, body, and emotions. Blessed are those whose thoughts and actions strive to reflect the purity of God’s nature.
How have you been surviving this crazy season? I have a confession to make … Some days my stress levels are going through the roof. So, if you’ve been in that place, you’re not alone! One of the ways I’ve been working through my stress, that I’ve found particularly helpful, is by going for walks. While walking I’d spend time just talking to God, thanking him for the beautiful day, the gorgeous fall colors, and the soft crisp breeze. It felt like I was going for a walk with a friend and enjoying some quality time together.
I often feel like my relationship with God ends up getting treated the same way my hunger does. After being distracted with other things, I start to feel a little bit of a gurgle that perhaps I am not in tune with God, and so at my leisure, I pick up my Bible and read a verse and/or turn on one worship song. Then I feel all set until the next time I start to feel a little bit out of touch with God and so I’ll go and repeat the cycle, taking just enough time to feel full and move on with my day to day life. Being 100% transparent, this is a very common temptation for me. It’s a cycle I’m way more familiar with then I would prefer to admit.
When we have a conversation about a controversial topic we need to check our own motives and realize that sometimes, holding our tongue is the best strategy of all. Unfortunately, in our explosive culture we are taught to think that the person who is quiet and doesn’t speak up, is a weakling. But meekness isn’t weakness. It’s wisdom.
Fear of being speechless. Fear of not relating. Fear of not feeling deeply. Fear of not being compassionate enough. Each of these core fears were at the root of an anxiety of mine - not being able to interact rightly with those who were grieving or suffering. How could I grieve with them if I didn’t personally have anything to lament? How could I live into the beatitude “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted”? I wrestled with questions like this for years even as some of my own friends experienced loss, injustice, and seeming hopelessness. I just couldn’t seem to relate, no matter how desperately I wanted to.
In movies and media, men are often the ones who get stereotyped as not wanting to ask for help. They won't stop for directions. They won't admit they are wrong. But I think this male stereotype wears thin because, the truth is, pride is a woman's problem too. In fact, in today's third wave feminist world, I think women have a complex with proving themselves to others. Have you ever noticed how women have a tendency to tell each other stories of female empowerment to boost our self esteem? "Who run the world? Girls!" We shout. We always comment on how amazing and beautiful we are and share pictures and stories that make us look put together, on top of our game, and in control.