I do a lot of tough talking on this site about issues that effect young women. I am not always speaking from a place of expertise, as if I have already mastered everything that I am talking about. As Paul says
12 Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.
13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. Phil. 3:12-14
What I present on this site is the ideal. I do, however, realize that life happens. No, scratch that. I do, however realize that sin happens, that sin can overtake us. Some sins we give into and some overtake us at a moment when we can’t see the escape that God always provides for us in any temptation. We are to strive toward being who Christ called us to be and doing what He has called us to do, even if we never fully lay hold to and grasp that.
This post isn’t about that, though. This post is about what happens when people don’t know what to do with you when you try to live up to your calling. Before I say what I want to say about this, let me say this: I love women. I think we are some incredibly complex creatures with a diversity of talents and perspectives. I would love to say I have a host of close female friends, and have tried at every stage of my life to connect with, mentor, and uplift women. But I also have to be honest and tell it like it is: most women of today don’t know how to have the type of friendships that I want to have with women, and aren’t interested in anything but the “you go, girl” friendships that celebrate independence (whatever that means), feminism (whatever that means), competition, fame and material gain grabbing, and equality to men except when they want someone to consider their delicate emotional state. I don’t meet a lot of women in my age group who seek out those “as iron sharpens iron” friendships, women who have sat and are currently sitting at the feet of wise older women learning how to be better women without as many regrets. I don’t meet a lot of women who understand that you don’t have to experience everything; there are some things you are better off not knowing firsthand.
I also want to say that I don’t have a problem befriending women who are different from me. I have many friends who don’t always see things the way I do. The fact that we can share our viewpoints and understand where the other person is coming from, that we can exchange ideas and honestly evaluate them without killing our friendship is one of the reasons I like these women. But my deeper friendships are with people who have the same basis for that evaluation and can tell me without reservation when I am not measuring up to it. That evaluation scale is the Bible. The Bible is the starting place for how I evaluate life. It just is. If you are a serious Christian, this is your starting place as well. So, with that being said:
In the past week, I’ve had some interesting conversations about what I’ve been trying to do with this site and all of my blogs. I’ve been confronted with the fact that many people don’t like what I’m doing/saying on the blog. My aunt called me about the seminar overview I sent her, saying that some of the women didn’t like some of the terminology that I used in the description. Apparently, she had given me the wrong demographics for the group that I would be speaking to, and the older end of that demographic had no interest in hearing about the Quarter Life Crisis. I’ve heard people are expressing discontent about some of the things I’ve said regarding marriage and relationships, women minister, baptism, fornication, cohabitation, and chocolate. Yes, I hate chocolate. I’m actually allergic to chocolate (true story). Seriously, I’ve heard many criticisms lately about what I’m doing. But you know what? As I told someone recently, as long as people dislike me for something I am actually saying or doing and not just what they think or heard, I’m OK with that.
While I believe that we should strive to get along with our fellow women and treat one another with love, I understand that everyone is not going to like you if you stick to any principles or express any opinions, no matter what they are. There are those who are sinful and those who hate sin, and there are those who, as Brother Orlando Jones preached yesterday, have been caught in the snare of a sin they have been trying to get out of so long, they scratch and bite anyone who tries to help them. We have to deal with people and their faults very gently in these situations, being ever mindful of our own. So, while I don’t like that people don’t like me, I understand it’s inevitable.
I hope people aren’t basing their dislike of me on thinking that I think that I have it all together. Just because your sin problem is not my sin problem doesn’t mean I don’t have a sin problem. Just because I hit publish on a post that discusses what we need to do in a certain situation doesn’t mean that I have mastered it; sometimes it means I am struggling with it. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com if you have a specific question on a specific post or topic.
What I seek to do as my plans for this site progress is to have forums for discussion where there is more interaction with other women on the subjects covered. With every topic I cover, I seek to speak the truth in love with gentleness. I can’t, however, compromise or water down the truth to make it easier to take. Sin is sin. The soul that sins, it shall die. The wage sin pays is death. I don’t want to see anyone putting in a lot of energy and effort on the job with death and destruction as their only reward.
I don’t think that I’ll ever be happy about people not liking me, but I have come to a point in my life, both as a mature adult and as a Christian, where I understand that getting along with everyone is not possible. You can’t be a friend of the world and a friend of God. Light has no fellowship with darkness. Some people aren’t going to like you because of where their allegiance lies. Some won’t like you because they don’t recognize you are trying to help them. Then there’s a category of people you’ll never understand their motivations. It’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I don’t take it personally, to know that I don’t have any enemies of the flesh and blood variety. I don’t think it’s a static thing; I am constantly having to be reminded of this simple fact.
One of the bravest thing I’ve ever seen was on R&B Divas when Monifah was speaking to her daughter. Monifah wanted to know if her daughter accepted her lifestyle as a lesbian and her partner. Her daughter said she did not. Monifah’s daughter said to her mother what I will say to you: “I love you, but I love the Lord.” It really is that simple. I am striving to please Him. Christ said if you love me, you will keep my commandments. So that is what I’m getting serious about doing. If you have people in your life who aren’t on board with the mission, set sail without them.
How do you deal with people who have an issue with who you are in the Lord? How do you suppress any people-pleasing inclinations you have while seeking to please God? How do you strive toward your calling?