A thing I wrote that was originally going to be a blog post, but then became too close to heart. A journal that I would normally not share. But I want to post the message and it’s late and I don’t want to edit it any more. I would normally end a post (or any sort of writing) like this with hope or encouragement.
Sometimes silence is the best answer.
You want to change the world.
No, not that. Not that big. You just want to change a life.
You want to make a difference. Be a difference.
You’ve read the book, One Thousand Gifts. You count your own, because you want to know what it’s like. You want to know what it’s like to have a life that’s so full of Jesus. And every time you write down a gift, you smile. Every time you see one throughout your day, every time you notice and think thank You, God, you smile. And in the beginning, it’s real.
But once you reach gift #400, you realize. You’re only smiling because you know you should be. Because that’s the point of doing it, right? Because that woman you admire so much, she smiles when she counts. And you want a life like hers. So you smile too. But is it real? It’s shallow.
You’ve heard the stories. Know them by heart. All about the people who go into the world, Uganda, Haiti, Korea, Thailand, everywhere, and spread God. They’re making a difference. They touch hearts. They change lives. They build God’s kingdom. You know the stories about them. How they had the perfect life but wanted more, until a week-long missions trip became a decades-long life of serving, of caring, of Christ.
You want more too. But you don’t have the perfect life. Never did. Never will. Those only happen in books, or on the internet. You know this. You think maybe everyone does.
You tried to change your life so you could change the lives of others. You read your Bible every day for a year, because you wanted to see Christ. Never skipping even once. Three hundred and sixty-five days straight of God’s word every morning and evening. You wanted it to change you.
But nothing happened, and now whenever you pick the Book up you feel as though you’re reading overused words you already know, that were supposed to make a difference but didn’t. God gone flat.
The counting of gifts, it is meant to show you that God’s hand is everywhere, and everything He gives is grace. But all it does is whisper, failure.
The stories are meant to inspire, to draw you into the mission field in person or in spirit. But all they do is scream at you, worthless.
The reading of God’s Word is meant to teach you of life and love and faith, to turn you to a child of God’s own heart. But all it does is tell you, you’re doing it wrong.
And what do you do with that?
When a friend knows the Bible like the back of their hand and you can hardly recite the books of the New Testament in order, how do you keep yourself from thinking that you’re not good enough?
When a woman you admire so much says that she’s only human and she is broken and she fails just like you, but everything she says and does proves otherwise, how do you keep from giving up because there’s no way you could ever be like that?
When everyone else in the room is crying because the one up front has a story so beautiful and God-filled but you’re crying because you’re so jealous it hurts, how do you stop from thinking that what they have is good, and what you have is…nothing?
When you’re so tired your head spins, and your fingers can’t hold on any longer, and the only prayer that comes to mind is a curse, how do you stand back up and say ok Jesus, let’s try again?
When a song is enough to bring you to tears and the faith of others is so baffling and impossible, when you want God with your whole heart but run from Him with your whole strength, when you feel worthless because what can you do but get in God’s way, when you look in the mirror and hate what you see because it isn’t good enough for you, when you write reassurance to yourself because no one else does and it’s the only way you know to pick yourself back up again, when your own encouragement fails and God’s Word mocks and everyone else looks perfect and what are you but never good enough…
I’ve been there too.
Sometimes silence is the best answer. Because silence doesn’t say, “you’re wrong.” It doesn’t say, “I have all the answers, here, let me share them.” It doesn’t say, “I know how to fix this, listen to me.” It says, “I understand. And it’s not ok. But it will be one day. I promise. And I’m going to sit here by you until it is. And I don’t know what to say, because nothing I could ever say could ever help. But I’m going to sit here anyway. Because no silence could ever be awkward enough to chase me away because I love you. And questions? Questions always have answers. We just have to wait, sometimes forever, to learn them. But they’re there. And faith? Faith questioned is not lost. Faith questioned is. not. faith lost. It is faith…growing.”
Silence says, “I hear you.”
Silence says, “It’s ok, I’m still here. And I feel what you say.”
And…perhaps most importantly…silence says, “Shh. Listen.”
And so maybe this can be a place of silence.