I am naturally and unusually transparent. I just came out that way. No doubt part of it is selfish- I want to be known and understood and want to know others in the same way and have deep squishy gushy friendships. But I have always been that way- very little guard up, assuming my struggles with being human are common to the other humans listening. But lately my transparency has left me feeling exposed. My husband is a pastor and also open about our lives- so we are on display a little anyway. I have been teaching to 100 plus women and baring my soul- feeling exposed a little there and blogging is perhaps leaving me more exposed than the other two together- mainly because I have no earthly idea who is reading the deepest wrestlings of my heart.

In doing more ministry this semester than I have done in a while... something is becoming scary clear to me. It is painful. It is messy and hard in your soul. I read a manuscript from Nancy Ortberg where she shares about the demons attached to ministry. I am tweaking it here for my use but there is the demon of ego and then right there with it is the demon of discouragement and failure.

Then if God is actually using it for His purposes- prepare for attack. And attack has plagued me the last few months. It is like signing up to be beat up. And my (cynical I know) quote in my head has been lately, "Damned if I serve God and damned if I don't." If I truly surrender my life for God to use, and He uses it, my life will be full of hard. And it just has been.... hard.

(BTW- I don't think I will be sent to hell if I don't serve God- I'm just being dramatic- in case you are new here- I'm dramatic.)

So I am feeling torn right now. I mean, as I write this I know it is so weak of me. I have said over and over I will do anything God says do. And now it is hard and I want to hide in a comfy little hole where I won't get hurt or judged or exposed. But my "can't help it transparency" compels me to say, I do feel torn. When I feel this way I think how it would be more noble if I would just shut up and sit down on the back row, like a good little Reverend's wife.

And then I read verses like this...

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23

"In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:33

I was talking with my sister yesterday who is struggling with explaining her view of grace to her friend that is Catholic and wants to know. I told her, we are all just doing the best we can to know and understand God with what we have- our individual views of Him will always be growing and changing as we wrestle through scripture and life.

Even in the last months my view of grace has grown. For the first time I am seeing the many verses on sacrifice and the high call of grace. While it is an unmerited gift it should cause an extremely costly response. And I should as James says, consider it pure joy to encounter trials of any kind. And I am getting there.

Jennie Allen2 Comments