I liked my quiet little life where no one knew who I was. I liked my quiet little faith that never required much risk or vulnerability. I liked my quiet little image of God as a genie who could grant my wishes on demand.
You see, I never wanted to be a suicide speaker. I never wanted thousands of people reading about the hardest moments of my story. I never wanted my journey with God to be transparent and messy, broadcast for thousands to read.
Yet here I am standing in the storm that is my life, waking up each day to an endless thunder of hate-filled emails like this one:
“You are a little, spoiled punk in need of a good old fashioned wood shed whoopin’!!! How dare you throw mud on Jesus Bride. WARNING: It will NOT go well with you when you face Him.” I mean, who doesn’t want to have a cup of coffee with that guy?
Or my personal favorite, “Maybe you should have just killed yourself.” Well, aren’t you just a spring peach.
The truth is people, I don’t have the strength to fight this fight. Maybe you think I do. Maybe I give off this fearless, macho-man persona in my classy black-and-white headshot (hey girl…). But behind that smile, I am exhausted and weary.
I want you to think I chose to live because I have some crazy inner strength. But really, I’m just not that strong.
I want you to think that every good thing that has happened to me didn’t come from above, but came from my own will. Really, I don’t have that much will-power (See the 3 empty boxes of Girl Scout Cookies in my trash).
I want you to think I am amazing. But anything amazing that has happened to me isn’t because of who I am, but because of who God is.
I’m telling you of my weakness because I keep reading this book called the Bible where Paul obnoxiously calls us to boast about them in 2nd Corinthians.
So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (MSG)
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I really hate this verse. Insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles I suffer for Christ… I do not take PLEASURE in them. I take pleasure in beaches and cardigans and spoonfuls of peanut butter. No part of me ever wants to be humiliated for Jesus.
And yesterday I lived just that; I lived my worst nightmare.
I was invited to be on the Jesse Lee Peterson radio show to share about my millennials article and my suicide prevention ministry. The truth is, I will go anywhere and talk to anyone about this amazing man named Jesus and all that he has done in my life.
I was so excited to have a chance to share my heart behind those words that keep getting misconstrued and used against me.
You’ll hear in the first half I hold my own pretty well. He calls me dumb and later apologizes. We even have a moment where we both agree about giving millennials a chance to ask tough questions. Yes!
Then things take a turn. Jesse asks me about “white privilege.”
Great. The only problem—nowhere in my article do I write about white privilege. He is quoting another article I wrote, A Beginner’s Guide to Ending Hate, without every giving his audience (or me) a head’s up.
In the context of that blog post, I’m sharing about using the power we have to love and lift up the oppressed members of our society. He goes into attack mode, “white men are the most hated men in America.” To which I say, “That just hasn’t been my experience.”
Side-note: to anyone who is non-white reading this—I am so sorry for his words. I hope you can hear my attempts to spread my love for you and every injustice you have faced. Please know I am standing with you to make this world a better place.
And then things go from bad to worse. Jesse pushes and probes about my relationship with my father. He says, “you don’t love God because you don’t love your father,” and later “your suicidal thoughts haven’t gone away because you haven’t returned to your father.”
And there it was—my suicidal thoughts being thrown in my face, my lifelong battles with a father paraded on the air for everyone to hear. My worst nightmare.
And I felt utterly humiliated… by a reverend.
Sorry Paul, but I don’t find pleasure in the attacks that have been hurled in my direction. I don’t find joy in the nightmare I lived yesterday. And honestly, who would? What insane person would suffer on the behalf of others?
Oh right, Jesus. Jesus was humiliated in front of his people. Jesus, the only perfect man to ever walk the planet, was crowned King of the Jews then beaten relentlessly and nailed to a cross for us.
Jesus suffered the ultimate humiliation in the name of truth and in the name of love.
I think if we’re living with reckless faith, if we’re doing everything we can to show people the light—we’re all going to face humiliation at some point. We’re all going to fall flat on our face and want to hide from the world.
My first thought was to bury this interview, to never share it or speak of it again.
Yet I’m sharing this story of humiliation with you, my blog family, because I want you to know that I’m not giving up this fight.
I want you to see that I don’t have the strength to keep fighting this fight on my own, but God does.
I want you to know that yes, I have a lot to learn about giving interviews (cough, understatement), but I will always stand with Jesus for Truth and love.
I want you to that know that I will be humiliated for Jesus every single day if he calls me to.
I do miss my quiet little life, but given the chance, I wouldn’t go back in a second because that safe life isn’t really living at all. Jesus called Peter to trust him so completely he would step out on the waters when the world was screaming “you will sink.” -Matthew 14:22-33
So I’m following Peter’s lead and stepping out onto the water.
I hope you’ll join me out here. I hope you’ll take risks and stand up for what you believe in. I hope you’ll fight for the injustices of our time and those trapped in darkness. I hope you’ll find the courage only God can bring to tell the world how weak you are, but how unbelievably strong He is.
So the question is, are you willing to be humiliated for God?
Bring it on.