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Friday, April 19, 2013
Being Quietly Honest - Eleanor Shepherd
Today I had the joy of meeting with a
friend, a soul sister, for lunch. What I
love about getting together with her is that there are few things that are off
limits in our conversations.
we sat at the table, catching up with each other the conversation flew off in all
different directions circling around my new ministry, the challenges facing
urban pastors today, the need for those in ministry to have prayer supporters,
and her fundraising endeavours. We
shared anecdotes of times we have been misunderstood when we talked about faith
and times we failed to understand where friends were on their faith
journeys. An important element we grapple with in our
faith is the importance of being centred in our relationship with God.
As we talked about our lives, our parents, our
husbands, our children, our joys, our fears, our faith journeys, and our
challenges we realized we have come the place in life where we are able to acknowledge
to ourselves that we are simply women who love God intensely. On the verge of what are called the golden
years, we can put away pretence and game playing and just be who we are. We are Christians. We are learning the joy of
being able to be quietly honest about our identity.
know that today to declare this is who we are, in some circumstances
immediately makes others uncomfortable, for a variety of reasons. There are some who have boldly and defiantly declared
themselves as Christians, with the good intention of taking a stand for the
faith. Sometimes their fearlessness has
been mistaken for arrogance. In all honesty, there are times when our faith has
been declared in arrogance, as if we alone have all the answers and are willing
to bludgeon others with the truth. This does not help our cause and dishonours
the One who said that our greatest identification mark is our love.
admitted during our conversation that not wanting to identify with this kind of
insensitivity and appear as overly judgemental, I have sometimes asked myself
if I have gone too far to the other extreme.
Is it possible that by my openness to others I have appeared to deny my
faith, by not declaring boldly wherever I am the truths that govern my life? For me, to behave that way would be as
dishonest and unfaithful to the person I am as jumping up on a soapbox and
shouting out my faith through a megaphone.
things that I most firmly hold to are those that I quietly affirm to those who
want to listen and discover who I really am.
A few years ago, I found that I was tiptoeing around talking about my
faith to some folks who were close to me, for fear that I would antagonize them
and threaten the trusting relationship that we had with each other.
one day, I realized that I was not being genuine with them by hiding behind
that fear. I gathered up my courage and
approached them. I told them that I
wanted an honest relationship with them and that meant that I was going to talk
about my faith with them, because that is an important part of my life and
defines who I am. What amazed me was the
graciousness of their response and the expectation that of course I would talk
about it. They knew that my faith
defined me and expected me to do so. That
was the day I discovered the strength found in the quiet honesty that comes with
admitting I am a woman who loves Jesus with all my heart.