I take a lot of comfort in knowing that my Savior knows how I feel, in every circumstance. Jesus knows being misunderstood. Jesus knows being misheard, and misinterpreted. He knows the truth in love he was trying to share, and that he as God and Man embodied, and people being so caught up in the minutiae that they missed the bigger picture. They missed Him. They didn’t understand it so badly that they killed him.
Me, in my passion and excitement, and my friends, in their concern for me, are so focusing in on the differences between our faiths that we are losing Jesus. And I don’t know how to get the focus back in proportion. Some friends won’t concede that we have much common ground, maybe even more common ground than they realize. Are we never going to be able to grow in our faith together, even through the divide? I hope and pray that it isn’t so.
I have many friends who say they love me, but those same friends are very clearly doubting that I am a Christian, and in some cases, possibly, maybe, that I ever was.
I can honestly say that I respect the Christian faith they are living out, I can even say I understand how they may come to different conclusions on some things. I did that, too. I get it. But some of the most important friendships to me have been the ones where I will be told I am loved, but I have yet to be told that they respect this decision in how JP and I are deciding to live out our Christian faith. But that could be asking too much. It may be unfair of me to ask that. Maybe those that are struggling so much just can’t right now. Or ever. And I need to be okay with that.
I am finding that the depth of Catholicism is so vast, and the misconceptions so deeply rooted, that some of these conversations feel like the childhood game “lava.” I’m jumping around from blanket to couch to table, but one wrong word choice, one thing not phrased just the right way, and I fall. I’m burned.
And it all just leaves me wondering… where is Jesus in that? Is that what Jesus did or how he handled things? And, more importantly, how am I contributing to the misfires?
I am thankful that defending Jesus or the Catholic faith is not a responsibility I bear on my shoulders. God can use me, but God can also defend himself. It will all continue to be and thrive despite my stumbles in speech, my feeling inadequate.
And I hope, somehow, through this all, I am sustained. Whenever I’m in one of these discussions now, my hands have started shaking. I’ve had some anxiety before, and it’s uncomfortable feeling that way again.
I need wisdom. What I need to step back from? And how? And what should I still engage in? When do I speak and when do I remain silent? How much of these hurts do I let go of? Did I hurt them as well? In trying to stay afloat amidst dozens of questions on dozens of different topics, I, too, probably, lost sight of Jesus. God, forgive me.
I think in most cases people have aired out what they wanted to say. I still have a few people that are important to me to tell this week, but I’m going to try very hard to keep those conversations from going down the same path.
I’m so tired. I’m not even fully able to enjoy all I have access to now as part of this faith. I need rest. I need Jesus to be near. This is part of the path I must walk. Things will settle out, people will have everything off their chest.
What I really hope is that these friendships can be preserved, and that people will be able to see Jesus in me as I grow in faith over time.
But what do I need to do now to preserve peace, and calm. I need discernment. I need to keep sight of Jesus through this all and let Jesus pick me up amidst my own failings and lean on His grace as I move forward.