What Do You Think? Wednesday
I never thought the challenges would come like this: mostly from family and friends who don’t understand my evolution and want me to be the woman they knew me to be. I was fierce and fought battles that I now know were not my own; I took on assignments and roles and a demeanor that God never meant for me. These shaped my strong black woman mantle that I later laid at God’s feet to pick up the charge He had for me. Marry who I say marry; vote for who I say vote for; parent the way I say parent. Follow me the way I say follow me. But my loved ones’ responses to my choices should not be a shock to me. Jesus’ family didn’t believe He was the Messiah and folks in His hometown dishonored Him (Mark 6:1-4). So if that happened to Jesus, surely I should expect the same to happen to me. And if my loved ones challenge (persecute in some cases) me, even if the Bible didn’t say so I should expect the world to do the same (John 15:20). My job is to shrug off the criticism, respond if I’m led and do so in the manner Jesus would have me to. This is not always easy. I’m clear about my ministry calling, to the world and to my family, and this clarity gives me the direction I need to accomplish my calling. Trying to explain, defend even, my choices beyond what God tells me to, takes time and energy away from fulfilling my calling and can lead me back to my strong black woman fierce talking ways. I must remember that the only one who needs to understand what God has called me to do is me.
For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:11-16).
Though these verses compare the spirit of the world to God’s Spirit, which all believers in Christ have, the spirit of the world can apply to believers who the Spirit hasn’t spoken to about our calling. Their response to us may be just like someone who doesn’t understand something spiritual; they may follow the ways of the world and may use the mind of the world when challenging us. So we must know what God is saying to us. We must ask, believe and walk out what He says (James 1:5-8). All this pondering came about today as I reflected on a challenge from my mom to participate in a sorority event, a friend questioning the depth of one of my analyses and a New York Times editorial on homeschooling, which is how my husband and I educate our children. Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum and his wife’s decision to home educate their children was the author’s launching pad; the story was bigger than home schooling, though, and challenged the effects of parents’ choices to in any way isolate their children. Another Times article outright said home schooling “is shortsighted and cruel” and “misguided foolishness,” comparing it to “home dentistry.”
In this world, you have to know who God has called you to be and what He has called you to do. If not, you will doubt what you heard and be a double-minded woman, unstable in ALL your ways (James 1:6-8). We are called to stability and can stay focused with God’s help (2 Timothy 1:7; John 15:4-7).
For those of you who have learned to shrug off comments and respond to others according to the Spirit, how did you come to that point? You can read the New York Times articles here and here and, please, tell me what you think. Also, check out my best friend Carla Yarbrough’s blog post Purpose and Persecution and Kim Cash Tate’s posts Strategic Plan and D6 Parenting and chime in on those too!