So I know I’m the only one, but I have some opinions about things.
Lots. Just a few.
And I’ve been known to draw a line in the sand a time or two and resist certain things based on principle (or stubbornness, arrogance, or sometimes just plain stupidity). Most of the time, my resistance is not because the things are necessarily bad, but rather because of a personal preference or a prejudice that I’ve developed based on my experience or advice of others. I generally try to be an open-minded person, but several times I’ve shutdown any and all willingness to compromise on certain matters.
I am a planner. I love to plan and organize everything, and I’d plan and organize your life, too, if you’d let me. If vacation planning were a spiritual gift, I think it would be one of mine. Considering how much I love the act of planning itself, I’m not a big fan of cruises. They just don’t require the use
of my spiritual gift of vacation planning, like say, a trip to Europe does. You show up, get on a boat, eat a lot of food, dock, sight see (from a list of planned activities), get back on the boat, and repeat. I just think it sounds a little…boring. So I’ve never been on one, and I might be a little snobbish about it. I’m okay with that.
2. Books of Someone Else’s Choosing
I flat out refused to read Moby Dick in high school. In my mother’s English class no less. I couldn’t tolerate spending time on a whale, Ishmael, and Captain Ahab, which is interesting considering I am a voracious reader. I read all kinds of writing, all day long. The catch is, though, I only read things that I want to read. I’m voraciously opposed to being told what to read. As a former English teacher, I really did understand my students’ pain about being forced to read Animal Farm. I wouldn’t have read it either if the district hadn’t required me to teach it. Russian Revolution? No, thank you. The Hunger Games trilogy is much more preferable to Orwell when one is in the eighth grade or—in my case—if one is teaching the eighth grade.
3. Small Town Living
I grew up on a farm. Like, 30 minutes away from the nearest WalMart farm. And no matter how The Pioneer Woman portrays farm living, that’s not reality for the rest of us living in the Middle Class. The nearest town for me was 10 minutes away, and it was classified as a “village.” After 18 years of living so far from civilization, I couldn’t get to a big city fast enough. I swore that if God called me back to a small(ish) town, I would run from that call. I needed a nearby Target like the deserts need the rain.
Living in one of the largest US cities has its advantages—one of those being a myriad of places to worship. But sometimes the whole “everything’s bigger in Texas” thing gets a little old, and my childhood farm roots just want to be planted in a small church where I know everyone and they know my entire family line. However, being single and thirtysomething adds a whole other dimension to the church search, and, as it turns out, it’s usually the bigger churches that minister specifically to single adults who are beyond their twenties. I resisted megachurches for a long time, but once three different small groups “died” after I became a part of each them—and the only remaining ones were designated for couples—I let down my guard a little bit and moved outside of the smaller church realm. (I tried to tell myself that I didn’t personally “kill” those small groups, but after it happens three times, a girl begins to wonder…)
For most of us, our biggest issue lies in resisting things that are bad for us—spiritual apathy, the lure of sin, isolation, the Enemy’s lies, self-pity. However, there are others of us who sometimes need to chill with the resistance. We resist so much that we miss the spiritual blessings that come from letting things into our lives. The older we get, the more we tend to think we know it all, have seen it all, have done it all. We build up barriers and resist anything that is new, and we certainly want no part in anything that requires vulnerability or change.
Either way, it’s a struggle against obedience.
I’m so grateful for the promise that when we ask for wisdom, He gives generously to all without finding fault (James 1:5). If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that I desperately want the Spirit’s wisdom that comes from asking in faith and not the facade of my own. And because of my tendency to push back on things I don’t necessarily like, I’ve learned to throw myself at the mercy of His wisdom to overcome my stubborn will.
If I had kept going in my fight against books chosen for me, I would’ve missed reading How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth while I was in seminary, a book that changed the way I read, interpret, and understand Scripture.
If I had kept railing against small town living, I would’ve missed a ministry opportunity to students in my small college town a few years ago. The nearest Target was 30 minutes away, yet somehow I survived. Shopping and geography paled in comparison to being able to disciple college students and walk alongside them as they were growing in their faith.
When I finally let down my guard, I found a church that defies every megachurch myth that I had set up in my head against it. It isn’t run like a business. The Word is unashamedly preached. They do care for the orphans and widows and poor. They aren’t terribly concerned with building the Monster Campus. They have a heart for global missions and the city they live in. They do it all with excellence, and best of all, I found a small group of married and single women who love Jesus and are transparent with each other.
As for the cruise, I’m still resisting that one. My friends tell me I can’t knock it if I haven’t tried it. They’re probably right, but for now I’m holding firm. Sanctification is a process, you know? Rome wasn’t built in a day, y’all…