I am afraid of what I love.
Let me back up and explain that statement. If you asked me what I love I’d tell you, “I love my husband, my kids, this calling to write and the women I write for. And I love the God who has given all of them to me.”
But about a month ago my husband introduced me to the writings of a professor who gave a talk at Biola University that has been picking away at my thoughts. In his talk, Professor James K.A. Smith says, “You are what you love. But you might not love what you think.”
Sit with that for a while.
He goes on to tell a story from a Russian film where the entire plot is focused around a journey to a room. And in that room you will come face to face with what you want. In the room you will achieve your heart’s desire. I immediately started imagining the room. I was excited to go into that room. I imagined how opening the door to that room would fulfill all those broken places in my heart that struggle with being dissatisfied with my life on Thursday afternoons when I’m tired of deadlines and the fact that I can’t seem to quit staying up too late to binge-watch old episodes of Frasier.
But while the main characters in the movie spend the entire plot trying to get to the room, once they’re there, they’re too afraid to go inside. What? What on earth? Why aren’t they shoving each other out of the way to get into that room and get what they want, I wondered to myself.
Why would you spend one second hesitating to open the door to your heart’s greatest desire?
Because, what if it isn’t what you think it will be?
This is the thought that has been haunting my head for the last month.
What if you open the door expecting to see your kids and husband and some kind of living depiction of your faith and instead all you see is a giant television screen, endless supplies of junk food, and not another single living human being that matters to you? (And by “you” I mean “me.”) Because for so long you’ve longed to be left alone, uninterrupted, undisturbed so you can feast on entertainment unbothered by having to take care of someone else.
These are my dark thoughts when I imagine the room.
So you can see why I am scared by what I love. Because what if a lot of my life is consumed by loving the empty things, the things that can’t and won’t love me back?
I know these things about myself – how tired I can get by the endless cycle of being someone’s mother and how many nights I have wished I could escape to a hotel room alone except for a giant TV and room service.
I don’t mean to scare you. Or guilt you.
But I think pausing to consider what might be inside our room is always wise. It’s an opportunity to remind ourselves of what matters. What matters the most.
Because I love downtime and obviously I love TV. But I don’t want them to be the loves that shape me and my story. I want to be radically shaped by something worth opening the door to.
I’ve been reading someone else at the same time. I’ve been reading Beth Moore’s latest Bible study, Entrusted. And in it she reminds us that we’ve been entrusted with something sacred. Something that Paul constantly reminds Timothy. We’ve been entrusted both with the Gospel of Christ as well as with the unique gifting to share it with others.
And while I love a good movie, I’m never more alive than when I’m leaning into the Gospel and letting that unique gifting God has entrusted to me spill over into the lives of the people around me. Into the lives of my tiny humans and the women I serve online. Into the lives of my neighbors who come by at inconvenient times and into the lives of the people in our home group. Into the life of the man I’ve been married to for nearly 20 years and the lives of his family and my family a world away.
The Gospel and the gifting you’ve been given to give it away will always, always interrupt us. It will come knocking at inconvenient times and we will have the choice to ignore it. Too tired or too irritated to open the door and the chance to keep changing what it is we love.
For me, my love is always in tension. My love of self in tension with my love of the Gospel and my desperate love to live up to the gifting God has entrusted me with. Maybe you can relate? Maybe we can encourage each other today. Because sometimes the best way to reshape what we love is to say it out loud.
I’ll go first – I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I’ve been entrusted with the gifting to share it with other women through my ability to laugh at myself and learn out loud through my mistakes – in writing and in person.
Your turn? What unique gifting has God given you to share the Gospel? We’d love if you’d share with us in the comments.