Speak up, for Heaven’s sakeDecember 4, 2008
Jack, Charlie … in case I forget to tell you later, once you’re old enough to understand –
I connected alot of dots in/after my men’s group meeting this morning. Don’t know that after reading through this rabble, you’ll have done the same, but nonetheless, I wanted to get it down in some form.
First and foremost, it’s God’s desire that we worship and live as a part of a community of believers. Correct? Obviously. Hence, the church. Why? Well, for one reason (and a pretty sizable one, mind you), communities of believers/the company of other believers tends to encourage conversation about Him … exploration, debate, enlightenment, if you will. And while I’ve known this for some time, I experienced it in a bit of a different way this morning.
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly things begin to make sense when I verbalize them. Usually, when I’m sharing a bit of wisdom or an experience … or encouraging someone else. Something I’ve thought about or an idea that’s lived in my head for days, weeks, years, suddenly comes to life. When I turn off the filter – the “what will they think of me” filter, that is – I realize that I’ve lived a little … and that, because I’ve paid attention, I know a few things. I realize what a bank of wisdom my particular experiences (the bad ones, mostly) have afforded me, what value they can have to others and what a waste it would be of the suffering He’d carried me through, if, when I came out safely on the other side, I didn’t use it to somehow glorify Him … or help someone else through a fire.
Alot of times, because I obsess over a thought, belief or idea and replay it in my mind a thousand times, I begin to think it’s ordinary …. something that surely, everyone else already knows. But, it’s not. And, that’s an easy trap to fall into. To assume, that is, that you’re late to the game and that everyone else already knew what you’re just now figuring out. That people will wonder what turnip truck you just fell off of, if you’ve just now come upon that particular – and seemingly elementary – truth. Well, it’s just not true. Everyone doesn’t know what you know – regardless of how elementary it may seem. So, talk.
Amazingly, every single one of processes things differently. If there were 1,000 of us in a particular situation, we’d process it – you guessed it – 1,000 different ways. Others simply have not have assessed a situation from that slightly – and possibly, profoundly – different perspective from which you have. And it may make all the difference. But, when you’re in a situation that offers you the opportunity to engage in a conversation … and when you’re intentional about spitting out, unfiltered, what’s on your mind (as opposed to letting that whisper, that “yeah, they know that already … but, thanks anyway” stop you), without the fear of being rejected or judged or feeling like a hypocrite (as we all know, we KNOW alot of things we don’t practice), you can really offer others – and learn – alot. The best way to learn something, after all is to teach someone else, right? Not that you should talk just to hear your own voice, or in the hopes that something profound will fall magically from your lips. Saying things that are meaningful, I’ve always found, comes much easier when you’re not trying so damned hard to say something meaningful. It’s just amazing how much more sense things make when you give them life outside your head … How much – whether you realize it at the moment, or not – your experiences have taught you … and how much they can mean/benefit others, if you’ll let them. If you’ll commit to transparency.
And, that’s one of the many reasons the church – we, as a community of believers, as the body of Christ – is so critical. To grow with and in and because of each other. I can learn from your mistakes. You can learn from mine. I can impart wisdom here. You can impart wisdom there. I can lead you here. You can pick me up there. I know this. You know that. And, because we shared, we’re all the wiser. It really accelerates the process and builds a much stronger, wiser Christian man (and community).
Very random thoughts, I know … and, ironically, humorously, things the voices in my head are telling me you’ll figure out much earlier than I. But, as was the point here (yes, there was one) … I’m no longer going to assume – and certainly not with you guys. The most important job I’ll ever have is to impart my experiences and whatever wisdom I can, on you … and lead you to Christ.
All that, I suppose, to say … pay attention to what’s goin’ on around you. Always assess the bigger picture, but take in the details, too. Surround yourself with a community of believers/brothers. Don’t always assume you’re the last to have figured something out or that everyone knows what may seem elementary to you. Share. Engage. Empower. The man it will create is a man that feels confident in what he knows and who he is … in where he ‘s going, where he’s leading others and where he’s being led.