I sit here in the middle of my apartment’s living room floor, snuggled up between a rollback candle from Walmart and a whole stinky pile of responsibility. As with every other college student, projects, papers, exams and holiday preparation have occupied most of my life in recent weeks. Stress has never been a fan of mine, and as this semester has proven to be the weirdest, I knew I wanted to write you (after all of these years lol jk oops). Bear with me as I intend to reawaken a little monster inside that has allowed me to write with frankness and honesty in the past.
First, I wanted to let you know that you are enough. Throughout this year, specifically in regards to the presidential election and the events that followed, the American voice has become hopelessly divided between an Us and a Them, transforming a once united nation into two sides full of loud-mouthed and irritated people who have forgotten what it means to take care of one another. A civil war fueled by angry tweets, entitlement and pseudo-tolerance, our world is facing a time in its history, where the beginnings of ancient Rome’s mighty demise is quickly translating into our own.
America has been set on fire, and you are left there, feeling little and very, very insignificant. But you aren’t. Know that your words mean something. Your values mean something. Your faith means something. There has never been a time quite like this one in history, and it is imperative that Christians take a stand today. A stand, hear me, not a push and a shove. (You know what I’m talking about.) Everything you do carries weight. Consider what you do in every situation, consider it because of the simple fact that it matters. You can come in contact with one person during your entire day, or ten thousand, your influence is the same. In the mind of one person is a world that is wholly comprised of an entrusted faith system, a worldview, and a series of ever-changing external and internal circumstances. You do not fully understand this person nor the gravity of a single word. You do not understand the importance of brilliant word nor the seriousness of a malicious one. You have your past experience, but please understand that your past is not any other person’s past. So don’t act like you know everything. Because you don’t.
From modern church behavior to society’s inflamed sense of entitlement, this is a concept that must be carried out on a daily basis. Intimidating as it is, I believe that if we take an honest look at how we are treating others, it is inevitable that this mirror will expose core heart issues that directly affect the way we see others.
- Insecurities ranging from supposed physical ineptitude to shame
- Lack of honest commitment to Christ
Believe you me, I have never struggled with these more than I have in the past six months. (NOTE: I write you because if my authenticity and transparency helps you understand your own heart aches, I have done something right in this world. Only when you know something is there, can you begin the process of mending it. I do not write you because I want your opinion or judgments. Please respect this as you continue.) Shame has played a major role in the questions I had, and continue to battle with. Bible bashers and hypocritical Christians are two more excuses, not only because they come in the plenty loads and are very easy to find, they are loud enough to bring the public’s opinion of a beautiful and redemptive faith, down to its knees. Finding reasons why was especially easy when I was desperately looking for someone else to blame.
I learned something though. Distance is the dangerous space between because, when you are far from one thing, you are, by definition, closer to another. You start with your back turned to the Unknown—just one more step, you say. Give it enough time, friend, and you will be staring straight into the eyes of Thing you now know so well.
As I move forward, I want to encourage you. I have smacked you in the face with a sack full of bricks, with an honesty I don’t even think I was expecting, and you’re probably thinking one of two things. 1. Wow. This author is actually insane or 2. Well. Crap. There goes the universe. Basically, what now? you ask.
I want to encourage you to take a hard look at the people you surround yourself with. We were created to be with people. A community-- because it was not good that man was alone. These people you see, however well you know them, were purposefully given to you as a gift from God, so that, in this stage of life, you may have companionship, challenge and the opportunity to grow. You are affecting them and they are affecting you. You have control over one aspect of this equation. Make sure your piece is a good one. We can’t be perfect, but never let be an excuse not to be extraordinary. God makes each person with intent, precision and beauty. Once you open yourself up to the idea that you were created wonderfully, God’s love tends to radiate.
You have been given the gift of influence. Whether you're Mark Zuckerburg or the the guy who holds up a sign between Main Street and Market, God has allowed you the ability to make a powerful impact on another human soul. In all of the world, you have that one person's attention. You must remember that you are enough to make someone smile. You are enough to bring heartache. You are enough to make a difference. You are enough to destroy. And you are enough to stand back up again.
This divine ability is easily
compromised, so please tread softly, friends. People are fragile. But also remember that you too, are fragile. Careful you do not consider yourself a man so powerful, you do not need God. An overused euphemism, perhaps, but read it again. Slowly. What is it that you consider you have power (or control) over? Careful you see yourself as a tool and not the carpenter. Your hands can do mighty things, but they are not God. You are enough to break, bend and shake, but He is more than enough to deliver us from ourselves, our greed and our shame.
I love you all, and know that whatever it is you’re going through, God is present.