“You haven’t been writing,” a friend declared in the course of our conversation.
“True,” I acknowledged.
“Why not?” my friend pressed.
Her words gave me pause.
It was a fair question.
In fact, other friends have enquired about the infrequency of my blog posting in the past few weeks as well.
What do I say in response?
I love to write. I love to encourage. I love to inspire and offer hope and care in despairing spaces. In recent months, though, it has been difficult for me to type uplifting messages. I only write when I have something to say.
I know many of you look to me for silver linings in the dark, discouraging tapestries of life. After all, I am a fountain of joy. I receive my strength, resolve, and hope in Jesus Christ. Yet, I confess, it’s been harder for me to welcome and gather up the power and might of Christ’s strength this year. Time after time after time my resolve and purpose was pummeled, prodded, poked, and pushed below the fountainhead. There are many reasons. The crux of the matter, though, is that we live in a fallen world. And although people, places and situations have the power to bless, they also have the alternate ability to curse and condemn.
Like many of you, I think, this year has inflicted us with more criticism, censure, and disapproval than I can ever remember. Our joy is being buried under piles of negativity, distrust, and misunderstanding.
I’m fighting it, though.
I want to live into my purpose of joy and live out my joy in Christ – regardless of circumstance.
This past week, I’ve been meditating and praying through Psalm 15. This psalm of David offers ten standards of conduct of living – especially in how to speak and interact with others. The psalm convicts me and challenges me:
Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.
New International Version, Psalm 15
Which guideline for how we live our lives resonates with you?
For me, I don’t want to be caught up in the tidal waves of negativity and condemnation that are inflicting significant harm to us all – even tiny, nitpicky statements have the potential to pierce hearts.
One disparaging word has the power to destroy dreams, dismantle plans, and demolish hopes and aspirations.
One critical word can compel someone to stop writing, stop singing, stop working, stop striving, and even stop living.
I don’t want to be that kind of person.
Instead, I desire to be the person who champions, who inspires, who blesses, and who loves.
I’ve done that for most of my life. This past year, a lot of effort has been given in seen and unseen ways to extinguish my hope, my joy, and my purpose.
Maybe you, too?
If yes, then let’s join hands and hearts to be the people who turn the tide. Let’s transform these harmful waves into spaces of kindness and care. Let’s speak love, hope, and blessing into the lives of those in our midst – our families, our friends, our neighbors, our workmates, and anyone we encounter in our day.
The Lord Emmanuel has come! Right?
He lives in our hearts, our minds, and in our actions. Right?
He leads us this way:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
New International Version, Micah 6:8
Yes, I’ve been discouraged and disparaged this past year. So much so, that I didn’t write – what could I offer?
Well, here I am.
My circumstances in life may not have changed all that much. But, I can allow my Savior and Lord to change me – so that I may in turn continue to love, care, and bless someone like you and be the fountain of joy Christ inspires me to be.
I am going to give it my best shot.