Monday, March 8, 2021

Quiet Believers

Last week I began reading an old favorite that always inspires, The Hidden Beauty of Everyday Life by Kent Nerburn. All of my books are still packed away in storage and it may still be awhile before I have them with me again. But thanks to The Internet Archives and a strong cell signal, most of them are still within my reach.

Just a few days before I'd been lamenting over The Sacred Pathways assessment I took a few weeks back, and feeling guilty for scoring so low in the areas of caregiving, enthusiastic worship and social justice. I felt guilty, ashamed almost, for not being more demonstrative with my faith. But deep down I also knew that this wasn't an accurate reflection of who I truly am. 

For instance, in the area of caregiving. I do have compassion for the hurting, struggling and less fortunate, I'm just not the person to come along side and walk with you day in and day out through that season. But I help the homeless when they cross my path, as I feel led. And prior to Covid my husband and I volunteered in a soup kitchen on a regular basis. In the past I've cooked meals for the grieving and new mothers, all of which I would say express care and compassion. Small, singular acts of service provided at the time of need and with limited social interaction. This is how a highly sensitive introvert with social anxiety cares for others, and it still counts, at least, it does in my book.

As for enthusiastic worship, to be honest, it just doesn't appeal to me. Just recently I was listening to a podcast about the mega-church movement and their high-tech, entertaining, "seeker friendly" approach to the gospel and found myself nodding in near constant agreement. And while I'm not here to preach on that platform (maybe another day), I felt relieved. Apparently I'm not alone in my opinions. I am, however, a deeply worshipful being, I'm just not a jump around the stage, rock star kind of worshipper. But there are songs that usher me to the foot of the throne at the sound of the first note. The quieter, more reflective, and dare I say, more worshipful strains. These songs touch me in a place deep in my soul. They leave me prostrate, bowed down, hands lifted, tears flowing in worship to my Savior and King. It may not be what one deems "enthusiastic", but it is heart felt and genuine, none the less. It is private, and it is personal, but it worship, without question.

And finally, yes, it's true, I'm lacking I guess, when it comes to social justice. At least, if you consider rioting, picketing and chanting outside abortion clinics or boycotting businesses, just to name a few, the "christian approach" to social justice. And before anyone gets their feathers in a ruffle, let me explain. There are many things, especially in this day and age, that I do not agree with. I also know that what we see on television, in social media and read about in the newspaper is anything but the truth. But I do not and will not ever condone "Christians", which in itself means "image bearer of Christ", who participate in riots, who call out women, who on some level are already grieving and at the very least physically shaken, moments after aborting their child, and who single out a company and incite a boycott all while still willfully handing over their money to ten other businesses who support the same if not far worse abuses and practices. In other words, don't preach to me about my peppermint latte as you show off your most recent Target haul. Don't get me wrong, my daughter works for Target and I frequent their aisles more than I care to admit, and they even have a Starbucks at the entrance to the store! But for me if one is going to draw a line, better it be broad than narrow, or at the very least, don't shame the rest of us if we don't follow. And while I am pro-life, I am also pro-love. If you want to know why so many women turn to abortion, look no further than the church who shamed and rejected her for her actions in the first place. If we as the church would come along side these women in the early stages of their pregnancy, offer them guidance, resources and support, present them with options for both keeping their child and for adoption, I believe the number of abortions in this country would drop significantly. So no, I don't believe in taunting and shaming a woman outside of an abortion clinic, it is we who should be ashamed for our judgement. So yes, as you can see I do have very strong opinions, but because of my nature, you won't find me shouting them from the rooftops, to be honest, I'm a little surprised I'm sharing them here.

After I reflected upon all of this, I felt better about myself, and it was a little while after that I came across this passage in Kent's book.

"These are the quiet believers, those who live a life of service, trying to shape their small corner of the world into a place of warmth and love by making each ordinary act of life a prayerful offering to the greater mystery of God.

There are many among us who believe in God but do not loudly proclaim our belief. We know that our minds are small vessels in which to hold so great a mystery. We believe, as the Bible says, that there are many rooms in our Father’s mansion, and that all rooms are welcoming and all rooms are good. We do not wish to tell others that one room is greater than the others, we do not wish to leave anyone standing outside the door."

I don't know about you but I think this is so beautiful, and it makes me proud to count myself among the "quiet believers" in this world. It's funny, because from an early age I've often said that "just because I'm quiet doesn't mean I don't have beliefs and opinions", and that is true. But I never marked myself as a "quiet believer" and I rather like the association. I especially love that last line, "we do not wish to leave anyone standing outside the door." Even Jesus "knocks" on the door of our heart, he doesn't barrel through and break it down. A soft tap upon the door of our heart and it is we who choose whether or not to allow Him to enter. That's how I strive to live my life, a soft answer, a soft word of advice, always with love and never with judgement. You can take it or leave it, I'll love you just the same. We, the quiet believers,  save the world in our own way, one small act, one smile, one kind word at a time. And you're anything like me . . .

Here's to us!


Driving Anxiety said...

Wow, I really enjoyed reading through your blog today. I found it really inspiring! I especially liked reading through your rhythms and rituals posts. This really resonates with me because I too am passionate about finding ways to intentionally reduce stress I have a blog called The Outdoor Apothecary which is focused on inspiring naturally minded people to live with the seasons, connect with nature, and protect their health through herbal living. I hope you’ll consider checking it out and letting me know what you think. Keep the magic coming!

Barbi -

Kimberly Lottman said...

Thanks, Barbi, for your encouragment and kind comments. I briefly visited your blog today and I'm already loving what I see! I've added you to the list of "Kindred Spirits" in my right side bar!