As I’ve mentioned, I’m working my way through Beth Moore’s Children of the Day. I’ve been ridiculously convicted by 1 Thess 2:2 where Paul says, “We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition” [NIV]. The way Beth phrases it is that Paul and Silas were “one bitten, twice bold.”
I don’t know about you, but that is not me. (See that emphasis? I really mean it.) I’m the kind of person who, when injured in a relationship or situation, walks away. It’s completely contrary to the stuff I’ve learned in Tai Chi, but it’s still my gut reaction. I think anyone who’s had bad experiences, which is probably most of us, isn’t going to make the same mistakes twice. That whole “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” thing. We don’t take pans out of the oven without hot pads. We don’t do stupid things once we’ve learned that they’re stupid.
But here’s Paul, knowing that preaching the Gospel is going to result in suffering, and still doing it. With God’s help.
I finished my Lois & Clark fan fic. I’ll add a link once I get it archived (or if you want to read it a week at a time, I’m posting it on lcficmbs.com and fanfiction net). Anyway, super fun to write! Lots of angst, as I said. And one of the great things I got to explore was vulnerability, and how love leaves us exposed, but at the same time we’re better people because of it. It’s something I’ve been working on my own life. I want to be a vulnerable person–to share myself with others, the way Paul talks about in 1 Thess. 2:7-8–because I want to be a vulnerable person, not because I feel guilted into it, not because the people around me act in a way that makes me feel like it’s a good idea, but because it’s who I want to be. My relational paranoia means I am quite uncomfortable with that. I give people, even dear friends, a very small level of trust. If they break my trust, even unintentionally, it takes me a long time before I trust them again.
Obviously–quick disclaimer–I am not advocating putting oneself in/staying in an abusive situation.
But there’s something to that whole being open thing. Community is impossible without it. In Children of the Day, Beth says “We were created for community. We thrive in healthy intimacy. We have to give fully to create the space to receive fully” (p. 59). We can’t really have fulfilling relationships without being vulnerable.
But it isn’t natural. It’s not a gut reaction. It’s something we have to fight for, something we have to depend on God for. That seems to be the key phrase there. Paul has to be determined to persevere, but he doesn’t do it on his own. He depends on God.