You might not think it of me if you read this blog…but there’s a huge part of me that really doesn’t like rocking the boat.
I grew up as a compliant child, an overachiever,
eager desperate to please–for reasons that have taken a lifetime of soul searching (and a little counseling) to discover. I’ve spent most of my life with this go-along-to-get-along strategy. I’ve always hated being viewed as a troublemaker.
There’s this other part of me that relishes being on the cutting edge of things, breaking new ground, making a difference, standing up against injustice…all that stuff. That’s the part of me that gets in trouble. And it’s also the part of me that God seems to use–because while the go-along-to-get-along part of me seems rooted in denial, the stirring-the-pot part of me is more apt to see things as they really are. And once I see the truth about something, as much as I’d like to get back into line…conscience just won’t allow me. So time after time, I’ve wound up on the more unpopular path–not because I like it, but because I can’t seem to do otherwise without purposely living a lie.
Funny thing is, The Wild One carries this, too–only she’s more “wild” as it is, and doesn’t have the compliant side that I wrestle with. So she usually gets in trouble before I do. 🙂 In the days when we spoke more “charismatic Christianese”, we called this a “breaker anointing”–something we carried that “breaks”, or sometimes demolishes, well-established systems. We’re the ones who become the wrench in the works.
Sometimes I wonder why this has been such a pattern in our. But even before I can finish the thought, usually I remember a very dangerous, heartfelt prayer we have prayed:
“God, use us. Any way You want to. We are yours.”
Don’t pray that kind of prayer unless you mean it.
As uncomfortable as this kind of thing is, I realize it’s kind of necessary. Even now, when I talk to some folks, even friends, about our journey thus far, and what it has taught us…there are these times when I just know they heard me through a filter. We all carry these mindsets around about what God is like, what the church is like, what life is like. We all have these assumptions and foregone conclusions, and they act like filters on our minds. We interpret the things we see and hear through these filters, often watering down the truth. The other side of this faith thing of “knowing that you know” is that once we decide we know the truth about a thing…we sort of put it on autopilot and stop thinking about it. It becomes a foregone conclusion, something that is added to our filter. In this way, our thought processes become this well-oiled machine that accepts only the data that flows through it easily.
In my view, the only way to break off these filters–these foregone conclusions–is when they are challenged. That usually happens when an anomaly comes along–something, or someONE, that doesn’t fit the equation, resists the labels, and forces us to acknowledge that we can no longer take our foregone conclusions for granted. Something that openly flies in the face of the so-called truths we have accepted without question. The filters only come off when someone throws a wrench into the machine so that the mindsets can no longer adequately explain what we are seeing and hearing. This is exactly how the filters have come off of my life. Time after time, something I assumed was true about church, or God, or the Bible, or life, was challenged by something that didn’t fit the equation. And that’s when the filters came off, and I could see more clearly how things really were.
The thing is, once a wrench gets thrown into the works, a moment of truth happens, and you can see what is really in someone’s heart. If they are truly a lover of truth…they will start asking honest questions about why their machine got junked up, and the filters will start coming off. If, on the other hand, they prefer safety, denial, ignorant bliss, or self-preservation–they will find a way to remove the wrench, to explain away the anomaly, to marginalize the person who rocked the boat.
In my life, I’ve been honestly surprised to find out how many people actually prefer the latter–who would rather oil their machine than deal with the truth. Jesus said that His disciples would know the truth, and the truth would make them free–which tells me that one of the marks of a disciple is that we should love truth. And yet…it still surprises and even shocks me how few honest-to-goodness lovers of truth there are, even among Christians. Perhaps it’s because we’ve become such a comfort-loving society that we see comfort or bliss as the epitome of what the good life is. Jesus didn’t say the truth would make us feel good, or make us comfortable. He said it would make us free.
Ironic, isn’t it? In a nation built on freedom, more and more people would rather be comfortable than free.
Man, I could just go all political over that statement. But I won’t. 🙂 I’m rambling too much as it is.
I’m honestly not trying to be narcissistic about calling myself the wrench in the works–more like trying to explain the patterns that have happened in my life. Besides, there are many whose machines I’ve messed up that could come up with much more colorful analogies. 🙂 Nor would I venture to suggest that I am some prophet-guy who knows the truth, and everyone ought to see things my way (then I’d be back to running another machine). A wrench in the machine doesn’t preach its version of the truth; it simply challenges the filters and assumptions, so that hopefully folks will dig for the truth and own it themselves.
Like I said, it’s not how I’d necessarily prefer it. I guess I’m just saying we all need to have our machines junked up once in awhile. I know the times I have become the most free have been the times my machines stopped working–because those were the times I really began searching for the truth.
I guess the truth really does make us free.
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