Monday, May 17, 2010

{When Those You Love Don't Get Your Calling}

Confessions from a girl who has learned to love them anyway "Who was that?" My friends exchanged glances as I clicked my cell phone shut. They walked in mid-conversation, and I'm sure what they heard was intriguing. 

"My publicist," I said nonchalantly trying to downplay the fact I was a twenty-year-old college student with a book contract. 

One of the girls snorted. When the other one shot her a look she sheepishly squeaked, "Oh. You're serious." There was an awkward pause. The ink was barely dry on my contract, but the uncomfortable affect it was having on some of my relationships was already sinking in. 

As I've spent the last eight years navigating the balance between the two distinct parts of who I am (the fun-loving girl in your small group and the author of 10 published books) I've learned a few things that might be of help to those of you who are pounding the pavement and chasing your dreams. 

1) It's possible to have close relationships with people who don't fully get who you are. The relationship between Christ and Peter is a perfect example of this. In Matthew 16:21-23 Jesus predicts His crucifixion. Peter's instant response is to proclaim he'd never let that happen. Obviously, Peter didn't understand the magnitude of what Christ came to accomplish. 

2) It's possible to continue to love people who have hurt you in their ignorance. Peter's ignorant rant wasn't the end of their relationship or the closeness of it. In the very next chapter Christ invites Peter to be one of only three disciples to join Him on the Mount of Transfiguration. Christ was able to overlook Peter's inability to understand His mission and could see his genuine love. 

3) It's possible to forgive those who never tried to understand. Christ's relationship with Peter was different. Peter knew that Christ was the Messiah - he just didn't know what that always entailed. He tried to understand. For the most part, Peter made a sincere effort. But there were others. Many stood in the crowd scoffing the day Christ hung on the cross. They never tried to understand Him or what He came to do. Instead, they labeled Him a lunatic and sentenced Him to death. These are the people of which Christ said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). 

You have a unique calling on your life that not everyone will understand. Some people will try to talk you out of pursuing it. A few will ignore any progress you make. Others will outright criticize it. In times like this you have to pray for grace and discernment — grace not to rip their heads off and discernment to know who is motivated by ignorant love and who is motivated by malice. 

There will be times where you have to look the other way. At my wedding, my brother-in-law stood up for his best man speech and told people I wrote children's books (I don't). A few weeks ago I had coffee with a longtime friend and she looked at me and said, "What do you do all day, again?" Life is full of well-intentioned people who understand less about you than you wish they did. 

It's also full of people like the guy I went on a date with in college who told me wanting to write books to teenage girls was a stupid life goal (dropped him fast). Or the woman who told me reaching teenage girls across the nation isn't really ministry since ministry only happens in the church (didn't stay at that church long). 

As you work harder at fulfilling your God-given calling there will be plenty of awkward relationship moments. Learn not to major on the minors. Some things are worth laughing off (like my other brother-in-law telling me he uses my books for bathroom reading). 

Thought Provoking: To error, is to be human. "To be human, and of God, is to attack error head on." F. Lugo - Original Author: Jesus the Christ "Humanly Speaking all things are impossible. Through God, all things are possible." Nice! - My mind, my heart, and my voice filled in Spirit come with the strength of God Almighty. Amen!

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