Loving Different Requires Doing Something Different

There has been an outward calming of the stormy seas, it seems. The BLM movement is sadly no longer trending yet the unrest and distress is still so potent. There’s a distinct thickness in the air that I can’t ignore and I’ve been on a newer journey searching within myself, trying to figure out (discern) what “my” next move should be. Originally, I felt compelled by nature to dive in head-first to learn all I could and to say what was on my heart if I felt so drawn to do so. I felt I needed to do whatever I could to show—to prove—my care for people, and more specifically, the black community as a whole.

I posted things. I re-posted things. I raised my voice. I quieted my voice at times when I felt it necessary, doing my best to amplify beautiful, powerful black voices around me. I spent hours reading, researching, watching resources to gain better understanding. I took time to unplug and pray. (Nothing really wrong with any of it!) But now on the other side of a tsunami of opinions and valid rage and rampage, I can see how I lost myself (drowned) in a bout of striving. Something I’m so against in every other area of my life, yet somehow I lost sight of that, hoping to please others and also honestly trying to make myself feel better about my position in what’s been going on.

In the middle of the heavy stream of posts, there was one in particular that stood out among the rest that got me thinking. The viral video of a thirty-something year old man passionately conversing with a forty-something year old man in front of a teen—all of them out on the streets protesting the horror and tragedies of a broken world full of broken systems. The lead in the video, mr. thirty-something, spoke such truth that will never leave me. He pleaded with both generations in front of him. He basically cried out, “Do something different!” He, in that moment of visualizing three different generations (and thinking of a forth as he remembered his young son at home), realized that in the next decade, if nothing different is done, they would be out there again. Blazing, in pain, feeling defeated. Because that’s what doing the same thing does…

I think the thing about insanity is that the cycle can lie underneath a facade, going undetected. Fueled by both passion and grief (passion because of grief), usually one may miss the repetitiveness without a proper slow-down. And moreover, in bigger instances like in what we see today, it typically takes a “come to Jesus” moment to realize what actually needs to be done if we claim to love and choose to follow Him. So, I’m stopped dead in my tracks this morning. I’ve pulled back; I’m paying attention to the stirring I’ve felt within me and I’m asking hard questions. Now I’m beginning to understand the fine-lined balance my soul’s been unknowingly searching for all along.

I knew there was some sort of connection between my personal convictions (because of my past experiences) and witnessing “humanity vs. change” try and fail and try and fail and try and fail again. I couldn’t quite put two and two together, at first. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what differences could possibly take place so things don’t stay the same. I felt that deep within me there was an answer of some kind; but because I stunted my own growth and didn’t know the healthy way to raise my voice in this time (mainly due to intimidation of doing the wrong thing), I’m only just now coming to my senses. But even still, I don’t regret the process. Even still, I find it beautiful. Likely there’s something more I could learn from the way I went about things; and I can just be happy that my eyes are opening to Truth again.
There’s Truth within me, and it is not to be silenced. It is not to be hidden by intimidation (fear) of stepping on toes or breaking hearts. If it’s The Truth that’s not my own, it’s not for me to withhold anyway. It leads me to think and to dig deep. What does different look like? And what does my role in that look like, void of all striving?

Early into my wondering, revelation gracefully plummeted and gripped my heart and mind as I began to reflect on the reality of my past experience not too long ago. Separation—divorce—was hell. And although my history will never compare to the ungodly gore (internally, externally) of racism of any stage or type, there is still so much from what I learned that needs to bleed over into what we see today. This is what I mean… despite the pure injustices I somehow endured; despite my voice being silenced for years; despite my built-up, pent-up fears and questioning that for a time left me feeling empty; despite me losing my identity regardless of the reason; despite the gut-wrenching, appetite-stealing, anger-provoking, unrelenting, devastating, unapologetic pain of heartbreak I felt deeply; despite the mess I had to live in for some time that I didn’t choose to create; despite every wrong that I couldn’t (myself) make right, I learned something different. Different.

I learned how to really love. Void of all striving. Void of any expectations or conditions. What I’ve come to realize in all this processing is something many may find unsettling. The Gospel is real! And Truth is, it tells us that we don’t have to wait for opposing parties to surrender to our side or to apologize before we can claim our freedom. Justice is not bound by what we can see or feel. Real, deep-rooted justice is not dependent on anyone else’s actions but Jesus’. The Cross was and is very much enough. The hard Truth is, “Nothing has to change for everything to change” (Havilah Cunnington).

Perspective is everything. And choice is our greatest gift (well, one of them). The Bible clearly states that rain will fall on both the just and the unjust. It’s what we do with what happens that makes us either powerless or powerful. Every story, every voice—every black story, every black voice—matters and should be heard! But, as believers, if we idolize the fight against injustice or let naivety draw us too close to the fire without first looking and listening to Love Himself, the noise around us will continue to cripple and taint our once-pure efforts to bring about the change that we’re empowered to lead.

Yes, we should love the hurting, and yes, we should love them hard. Yes we should tend to the broken. Yes, we should listen. Better yet, yes we need to listen to understand. Yes, we should weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn as the Bible says. Yes, we should lift others up and let humility drive us forward. Yes, we should apologize and ask for forgiveness for when we’ve done wrong. Yes, we should stand with our black brothers and sisters (genuinely treating them as such) and use our own voices to amplify the sometimes unseen, overlooked, unheard. Yes, we should take the time to learn. Yes, we should echo from the rooftops that “Black Lives Matter!” But there is a different way to go about it.

If equality, love, justice, peace, and freedom are what we seek in every sphere, the striving has to stop. Friends, fellow believers, the striving has to stop. We must rest in remembering that our wholeness and healing are solely dependent on Jesus. Without Him, it’s impossible to be free. Without Him, there’s a limit to what we as a people can achieve. Without Him, there will never be unity nor a sustainable peace. Simply put, the way out of this mess is through Him. Truly, the only way to positive change is found in loving different. Let’s let that sink in…

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