Wednesday, April 16, 2008

came across another great quote today...just can't help posting it.

“Those who know don’t have the words to tell and the ones with the words don’t know so well.” Bruce Cockburn

These words describe how I feel about my faith and my Jesus so much of the time. I've never been an "evangelist" (and always feel the heavy burden of guilt, placed on me by well meaning preachers over the years, for the verbal "evangelizing" I don't do). When asked to "give my testimony", I can't find words. (It's not shyness or timidity...trust me). The things my heart knows about my Jesus just don't have words to go with them...at least not in my native tongue. I've always thought that maybe I just wasn't as good a Christian as the others who are able to "evangelize and testify", and that someday if I kept walking in faith I would arrive and then I would have the words. But the further I go along in this journey of faith, the more profound it gets and the words to describe, explain, testify get further from me, not nearer.

On Monday I gave away my table at BackPorch to my enemy (yes, I have one...not by choice).
The shop was full and there was no place for her and her little boy to sit. I had a lovely spot by the window and i knew an act of generosity would do me more good than the remainder of my lavender latte. (Besides there was this tugging, "Holy Spirit" thing going on inside of me). I silently offered her the seat across from me and she sat down. I wished her a lovely day, tousled her 5-year old's hair, smiling and packed up my things. There are so many things I want her to know and understand about my faith and what I understand of the character of Christ (she's a Christian too, a sister), and believe me, I've exhausted so many words trying to communicate these things to no avail. We're still enemies, she insists we remain as we are.

I've stopped talking now. I'm determined to stop questioning my beliefs just because I can't convince her (and others) that I know what I'm talking about. There are things that I Know about my Jesus that I can't communicate...things that they should know, need to know too. My inability to communicate them does not make them any less true or important (why have I always thought it did?)

Now that I've settled that, I can give myself permission to just start living them and not worry so much about the talking part. Sounds easy enough, right? It's not. Lifting my hand to offer her that silly chair took more strength and courage than I've employed all year (you should have seen my hands shaking...oh brother!). I hope it did her heart good...because the thing is, I really love her...enemy or not. And that's the truth, as confusing and impossible and less than believable as those words sound. I really love her...and that only because of the indescribeable presence of Jesus in me. Some things just can't be reduced to words, i guess. A tough reality for a word lover like me. :-)

Does anyone else have a similar experience with a faith that is more real and deep than words can communicate? What do you do with that?
Do you get frustrated and feel condemned and insignificant sometimes too...because you can't find a way to communicate?
Do you question the validity of your beliefs when you can't convince other Christians?
Do you ever get frustrated that the ones who do have the words don't seem to have the actions to back up the words...?


michelles72 said...

I think people too often get the thought in their minds that if we're truly doing what God wants us to do (ie. loving our enemies) that it will come easily and that we'll feel successful like a gold star will pop out of thin air, and then we can go on with life. But real life isn't like that. Often times, as in your case, the way we love our enemies is relatively small (giving up your chair)and often difficult, but impactful none the less, whether you can see the fruits of it or not. I know that when I get what I don't deserve (as in a nice thing from someone I've been rude to or whatever) I'm not usually running up to them and saying "wow, you did the right thing and I didn't. Thank you so much!" Usually I bury my head and don't say anything, but God uses it to change me, and I'm sure he's using you the same way. I love you! Remember James 1:2-3 This is how God perfects us, and that's always a good (though not painless) thing!

Jen said...

I love that you wrote this. That's exactly what I've been learning. I keep thinking that if I'm doing this "loving others" thing right there should be some kind of prize for it...a gold star...or some sort of gratitude...or at least an "atta girl" from someone. There's not. And my actions that come from a loving heart don't seem to make any difference in my situations at all. But my doing them or not doing them is not supposed to ride on whether it "works" the way I want it too. I do them because my savior died for me (and for her).
I love your point about how when someone is nice to me that I've been mean to...I don't exactly go and say "wow, you're so great, I'm so not"