Are we ready for raw?

On Friday I made a leap of faith to join in a community of faith bloggers through Lisa-Jo’s writing prompt, 5 Minute Fridays. I took a deep breath and jumped in..holding it just long enough to get a bit dizzy. Abstract thoughts swirled in my head as my spiritual equilibrium tried to find balance. I’ve been so hurt before..in other communities. I’ve been rejected. It’s not fair of me to hold my breath about each one after that, yet I breathe deep and hold it tighter, hesitating to exhale…bracing myself for the blow of rejection. Could I be reaping what I sowed when I was lost in legalism? Desperately gasping for grace.. Lord, please sustain me as I try again.

I want to make new friends, really I do. Stefanie joined in the writing prompt and spoke descriptive words like raw, authentically, transparent, vulnerability… and I sigh long.

I tried that and it didn’t go very well.

Many are asking for the same things, encouraging each other to be…

r-e-a-l

But are we prepared for real? Have we seriously prepared ourselves through prayer and meditated on what raw would look, sound, or feel like?

Will our responses be seasoned with grace and can our actions stand firmly in faith extending grace to those who trust us with their vulnerability?

In hindsight I can say that I was not warmly embraced in my vulnerability. Most of them walked away. I was jaded by open wounds in my flesh. Open wounds not of their making, but salt has a way of hurting exposed cuts.

Here’s where I would like to open up my frail heart and allow you to see the not nearly-healed scars. I don’t want to drudge up the things that hurt, but rather share what helps to heal..what helps to support one another. If we’re going to be raw, we need to be prepared.

When I (we) share my (our) vulnerability, I (we) need…

Someone to be slow to speak, quick to listen. The words that come out may not make sense at first, that’s why I share them..I need to make sense of them myself. So let me get it all out. Just listen. No need to provide standard cliches, they don’t help anyway. Just smile and affirm that I’m being heard.

Don’t agree. A real friend doesn’t need to be in agreement with everything, in fact I’d prefer that you didn’t. I need the diversity to help me sort through everything. I need the differing perspectives.

Don’t build walls. Even though I need differing perspectives I don’t need walls that shut me out. That doesn’t help. Please stay warm, I need you.

Don’t correct me. I need the freedom to be wounded, sad, or even angry.

Don’t have all the answers. I don’t need you to have all the answers, I just need love. But do you know someone who specializes in these kinds of things? The kinds of rawness I share..that we all share?

flower basket by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

Do give support, gentle support. It’s okay to say, “I don’t understand..yet, but I would like you to know that I care about you.”

Do confess that it’s hard for you. I find it comforting to know others feel it’s difficult too. It’s difficult to share it, I can understand how it’s difficult to hear it.

Remind me of his grace. I (we) desperately need to be reminded of his life saving grace.

Be patient. (tears flowing) Please be patient while I (we) try to figure things out. Life is a journey of discovery and inquiry while digging deep to understand God. His ways are not our ways so it’s complex to understand.

Hug my soul. No matter what we disagree on, don’t understand, or think is uncomfortable..can you hug my soul?

Be courageous. I know it’s not easy to stand by the side of someone who is thrashing about, especially if you feel helpless about my transparency. Just be there. Send a tweet, “Thinking about ya, Lisa” Drop by my Facebook page.. “like” something to let me know you were there. Please don’t be ashamed of being jesus-with-skin-on to people who hurt. Stand with us.

*deep sigh*

Share links…that you think might encourage me.

So are we really ready, prepared, equipped to hear raw, transparency, vulnerability?

Are we really ready to walk with each other?

Sisterlisa

Linking up with

Ann Voskamp

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Sharing Your Faith Online

Through the Fence by eyebright, on Pix-O-Sphere
{photo credit by Taniel at Pix-O-Sphere}

When we’re interacting with neighbors in real life, it’s easy to swing by with a fresh baked pie when we know they’re going through a tough time, or take over a crock pot of homemade soup when their family is ill. These are neighborly ways to share our faith by our actions. However, the online community is not so simple. Since our interaction online is mostly by text and even some via videos, showing love takes more creativity. Many times a blogger of one faith may not think to visit a blog of a different faith, let alone be seen commenting there.

“All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbors.” ~John Calvin

It could be that they are honestly afraid to read about the life of another person who follows a different religion. Or it could be that they believe they are to abstain from reading blogs that don’t share the same “statement of faith” as they do. Some bloggers might be afraid that their name would be seen in the comment section. {Can I just say that if anyone condemns you for commenting then they have a big fat beam in their eye. If they know you commented then they were obviously reading it too.} And the final straw might be if you actually ‘like’ the Facebook page of a blogger who follows a different religion. [GASP]

“For me, Los Angeles, New York, where I don’t know my neighbors, where people don’t necessarily care if they know their neighbors, I’m missing things that truly fed my soul when I was younger, the exchanges between people, the caring and the shared history with people.”~Sela Ward

Then how are you ever going to be a ‘witness’ of your faith to someone if you don’t reach out? Do you think that they will randomly come read your blog, read from your soap box (blog pulpit) and get any kind of relational connection with you? When the Circle of Moms Top 25 Faith blog contest allowed bloggers of all faiths, I got a bit excited! It gave me an opportunity to see what the most popular faith blogs were. If I’m going to choose to read about another faith, then I’d surely want to read the most popular ones. The ones that are well loved by their communities. Perhaps those in the top 25 will be good representatives of their faith and we can see the light of their faith shining.

“He that gives good advice, builds with one hand; he that gives good counsel and example, builds with both; but he that gives good admonition and bad example, builds with one hand and pulls down with the other.” ~Francis Bacon

I’ve never conducted a survey of the readership I have here at The HomeSpun Life, but I would imagine the majority of my readers friends are believers in Jesus. Therefore I’d like to ask those who follow Jesus a few questions.

How do you let your faith’s light shine in the blogosphere…away from your own blog?

Do you kindly comment on another blogs that are not of your faith (or even outside your own denomination)?

Do you participate in meme’s or blog rolls with people of other faiths? (For ex: Is there a diverse mix of faiths in your favorite homeschool blog roll?)

Do you only feature other bloggers who believe in the exact same beliefs as you or do you promote a blogger for others reasons without letting their faith interfere with being a bloggy neighbor?

I spent 15 years in an evangelistic church and although I have grown away from some of their beliefs, I have grasped the concept of being friendly. If you’re friends with my daughter on Facebook, you can ask her how often I talk to people all over town in the stores, at the Farmer’s Market, and just walking down the road. I talk to everyone! I think my kids must think I’m nuts and pray that I’ll keep my mouth shut at times so we can get the shopping done and get back home. But here’s the thing, I don’t talk to random strangers about my faith unless they bring it up first. I always love a good theological discussion, but I like to let the other person lead so I can get to know them and where they’re at in their journey.

The blogosphere is different though. And although I believe in Jesus, I can’t help but to say that the cattiness of some Christians online are a total turn off for people. But I’m not going to “go there” in this article.

Not everyone believes in being insistant about their faith. Yes, there are some dogmatic folks out there that will take every opportunity they have to try and “correct” your “wrong” theology, but there are so many more who wisely hold back. They hold back because they know there is more to loving people than just telling ‘what’ they believe. This is because they know how to live out who they believe in without so much as a word from their holy book.

1 Peter 3:1-2 (contextual translation) Likewise, wives, be humble among your husbands, so that even if some do not obey the words, they may be won without words because of the conduct of their wives as they see you behaving respectfully with a pure heart.

I believe this passage can be applied to any of our relationships. Peter gave some wise advice to couples who were coming to the understanding that all are equal in the Anointing. The men were having to come to grips with the idea that women are equal in God’s eyes, and the male ego seems to wrestle with that. Bossy women would be silenced into abusive types of submission under the men and Peter is saying…’be wise my dear ladies.’ We don’t have to show off our equality, belittle our husbands (or our friends) with our soap box sermons. We can convince them to understanding that we truly do hear from God just the same as they do, by manifesting the words we hear in our hearts through our loving actions.

We don’t have to picket in front of the TV or our husband’s office door with arrogant shouting. It doesn’t seem to me that the Light of the Anointing shines quite like that. I tend to think the Spirit sulks back away from that and chooses another path. A path of giving and nurturing. I wonder then…when we take this concept and apply it in our bloggy relationships, if we can actually BE people of faith, instead of just “saying” we are people of faith. Lord knows Gandhi came and expressed in one statement a sum of what Jesus was saying in Matthew 23.

“I like your Christ, I don’t like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” ~Gandhi

Ouch!

Christians tend to not like when people correct them, but they make a habit of wanting to correct everyone else so often. What happened to a “meek and quiet spirit”?

Proverbs 18:24 “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

When the world seems to be tumbling down on someone, are we the kind of friends who will be there for them to help lift them up? Or do we have feet swift to run into mischief (Proverbs 6:18), grab the dog by the ears (Proverbs 26:17), and condemn people to death (Jude 1:4)?

I think some people are confused into thinking that being at peace means we need to all conform to make them feel comfortable. This is not peace, this is bondage. People who are at peace internally, will be at peace externally. In turn, they bring peace with them wherever they go, whatever blog they comment on, which ever blog roll they are a part of.

I believe we can not only be at peace with our bloggy neighbors of other faiths, but I believe we can go in peace and commune with them in the spirit of peace in all our endeavors. Embracing diversity can bring us so much wisdom when we can peacefully walk together in this life.

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” ~Khalil Gibran

I don’t have an agenda to ‘convert’ someone to my way of thinking, to my perspective of God, or to a list of traditions to adhere to. I simply would like to be a friend and have a friend. Many times when I think I am on my way to minister love to another, they end up ministering love to me. It’s then that a friendship blossoms…because two agreed that being a friend was more important than the soap box.

Related:

Online Evangelism, 8 Steps to Faith

When Evangelism, Diversity, and Fear Collides

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