i used to think i was a pretty good communicator. i used to think that i was pretty lucky to be able to form my thoughts, feelings and experiences into words and sentences... i could speak them fairly plainly, i thought, and others were usually able to catch my meaning without too many painful mis-communications or misunderstandings (other than the kinds that were intentional - we all know people like that...)
My biggest fear in communicating (i think) was probably in church - i lead worship lots of times, and i always had a fear that i would say something wrong - that my theology would be skewed and confuse someone or misrepresent my Father. My words in those situations would often come out too quickly and with very little confidence - smothered in disclaimers and apologies. Even then though... i would usually manage to scrape together the words to get across the essence of the thought i carried. Even in my fear, my meaning came through...
But over the past couple of years, my view of my own self - and my supposed communication abilities has changed so that what i thought about myself then, is almost unrecognizable to me now.
i obviously can't communicate.
i've had more people angry with me in the past couple of years than in the past couple of decades. i've seen more precious relationships broken than built, and i've seen my own words put back in front of me with completely different tone and meaning than i ever sent them out with - and honestly - it makes me look at this little blog and go, "No wonder you have gone so silent here..." Words that i hoped would bring healing, brought only misery. When i thought i spoke kindly, honestly and carefully... the opposite was heard - the opposite was felt... and i didn't know how else to speak, how else to be - it was impossible to be heard or understood, so i reacted the only way i knew how... More curling inward, more awkwardness with my own community, more trepidation in exposing my thoughts, my fears, my dreams... Literally, the other day, i listened in on some small talk from a sweet woman sitting next to me. She asked the usual, "So, how have you been?" of an older couple that she came across. "Genius..."i breathed jealously... "how does she know just what to say?" And it makes me laugh now, from inside my house, the opportunity for small-talk long gone, that her casual inquiries seemed so far beyond my ability to formulate and bring forth myself, but the last few years of dealing with broken relationships has brought out an insecurity that i never had before - and that i'm not sure is one that i'm interested in keeping around.
You see, i serve a God who loves people. Relationships are so important to Him that He sent His Son to earth to rescue me - so that we could have a relationship where i could bring my heart to Him - and He could speak to it... i love Him, and because i love Him - this communication phobia is just going to have to go. The enemy would love nothing more than to see me silenced - licking wounds and becoming sulky and awkward... But my Father? He has something else in mind.
On Sunday, our pastor said that God is using our circumstances (including our pasts) to prepare us to accomplish His vision for our lives. Ever heard of redemption? i guess that's what this is gonna feel like... all the brokenness... all the misunderstanding and pain... all of it - is salvageable to my King. i saw Him do it when i was 19, and i had broken my life with disobedience and careless sin... and He gave me a family to love and serve and grow with... That experience taught me that HE IS FAITHFUL. Our pastor's words reminded me... that God is resourceful - He never wastes.
So, if you see me on the street - and i take some time to wash around the words in my mouth before coming out with something like..."So... how have you been?" Please know - that that communication there? Is Kingdom work. i'm breaking free of this fear and condemnation that has been binding me lately. i love my Father, and i trust that as i press in to His Good Heart - i will learn to become more like Him and ultimately it is my goal that He will speak for me.
Speak for me, Father - strain out the me. Even before the thoughts become words - let them be shaped by the fruit of the Spirit that grows in my life. Let my words sprout and take shape from a heart that is full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, faithfulness and gentleness... More surrender of self - less know it all wordsmith.
Less broken. More Redemption.
Speak for me.