Sometimes when I read or hear something about – oh I don’t know, something spiritual, dating, or parenting, or whatever – it doesn’t take me long to decipher how I feel about it, what’s right, and what’s wrong. Generally we are all pretty opinionated. Every now and then though, we read something and it takes a few minutes…hours…or days to digest and really develop an opinion for or collect our thoughts about.
Given that I’m usually pretty strongly devoted to my particular set of beliefs and I spend an obnoxious amount of my time just THINKING about things, I usually have an opinion at the ready (still trying to figure out if that’s a good or a bad thing – I’ll get back to you).
Only a few things really stick out in my mind that I actually had to stop and think about some before knowing how I felt or what I thought. One of them was the first time I’d read The Great Gatsby. I knew this book was good, and I must’ve liked it because I read it in just over a week, but it was striking somehow, and I’ve spent years pondering over it, reading it multiple times and all the while, constantly discovering new things to appreciate about it that left me more and more intrigued. For about two years, I went even farther – I researched the novel, the author, and even his wife; and the more I read other people’s writings, the more I learned about the book.
Generally though, I decided a long time ago that it was my favorite work of fiction.
Recently, I read something much less profound as far as it’s’ stance in culture goes that made me pause: a blog post. A friend of a friend runs a blog about her faith walk, and I follow it. Now, after reading one of her particular posts, I was kind of in a haze; it’s not that I didn’t understand the post, and it’s not that I disagreed with it, I was just kind of stuck and unable to process it, I guess.
As the days went by, I’ll admit, I was a little peeved by this. I read it probably half a dozen times over the course of a week just trying to figure out what it was about it that had me so confused. Did I agree? Did I disagree? I couldn’t figure it out…. But I spent time asking the questions anyway.
Finally, life got in the way and I put it aside. I just wrote it off, like “God, I surely can’t figure this out, so maybe someday, you can figure it out for me.” Today at lunch though, I decided to revisit it one more time to see if I could find any clarity in it or maybe see something I’d missed the other times I’d read it. Sure enough, it was the same old post, but something about it made sense and I saw the ideas it tried to convey more clearly. The innuendos made me laugh like they were intended to, whereas before they made me frustrated, and I began to appreciate its details as well as its main idea.
After wards, I was just mulling over the whole thing and I was reminded of the story in the Bible where the townspeople were going to stone the adulterous woman in the street and Jesus was there. When they asked Jesus what He thought they should all do, He paused. He was drawing in the sand, actually, and He was quiet. When they asked Him a number of times, He finally answered, delivering the ever-famous line, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” (Found in John 8).
But that’s not the important part to me right now. The important is what came before: He didn’t rush into an answer. He may have had one, who knows, but even if He did, He didn’t share it right away.
And I thought, maybe He really was just waiting to hear what God had to say about it…? Maybe He had an opinion about it, but was having it fact-checked against His Fathers?
And it occurred to me that I may have been trying too hard to figure out my own opinion before figuring out God’s opinion. I was asking the wrong questions. I wasn’t looking at it through His perspective; I was looking at it through my own.
Much like the first time I read The Great Gatsby, I needed help. There was something about my level of experience that left me misunderstanding things and not seeing a lot of the beautiful little details in between. I needed help. I sought out the assistance of scholars who’d studied the book already and knew it inside and out to help me find my way through its beauty and craftsmanship.
I’m glad I got so confused, because it has allowed me to see just how much I don’t know and can’t understand on my own. God gently but appropriately humbled me through this situation (thankfully with little to know embarrassment – haha) and it’s really just reinforced the idea that taking the time to pray for God’s advice and wisdom before we seek our own is just another one of those traits we have to practice to become more Christ–like.
Regardless of whether or not something confuses you or not, if it stirs a opinionated reaction or leaves you feeling indifferent, don’t be afraid to stop – pause – and ask God what He feels about it, and give it to Him to explain. When He grants a piece of His understanding or wisdom, everything comes into focus. You’ll see clearly, you’ll understand more fully, and you’re think as of with the mind of Christ
And thinking with that mindset, will lead us to living a life of victory in Christ; it makes us truly the conquerors we were created to be.
Want to know what left me so stumped? Visit shewiththeunveildface.com, specifically http://www.shewithunveiledface.com/2013/05/guest-post-can-christian-men-and-women.html
She’s got a great heart though, any post is a highly-recommended read.