"I didn't have the heart to tell them."
"I didn't have the heart to tell them."
I heard someone say this the other day and for some reason it just lingered inside my head the whole night. I made a mental note of it and went on with my life. But over the course of the last several days I feel like I've heard it a couple more times in different contexts of humanity.
It takes heart to share certain things with certain people. I think it's easy to just glide through life taking the path of least resistance with the convoluted motto: "The safest place to be is in the center of God's will". A motto I've found to be so misleading it makes me want to vomit. I think the most dangerous place to be is in the center of God's will. Climb into God's will and you'll experience butterflies and battlefields like never before. You'll be called upon to do the unthinkable. You'll undergo a gauntlet of misunderstandings. And above all, you'll be asked by God to muster the pluck (heart) to tell people things that are unnatural to say out loud.
It reminds me of what Jesus told Peter just before he took off and went to sit at the right hand of his Daddy, "You used to be able to dress yourself and go where you wanted to go, but now someone else will dress you and you will go where you don't want to go." A very interesting bit of enlightenment from the Messiah as to the rigors of discipleship. Namely, "you are in for a counter-intuitive" Jesus-journey. You will be asked to do things that any thinking human being would intelligently decline. You will be taken to places that will crucify you upside down. You will be invited to join Jesus in proclaiming his upside-down, inside-out Kingdom message...a message that, frankly, people will feel uncomfortable with. They will kick against the goads. Heck, we will kick against the same goads on days wondering if their is any other way -- "let this cup pass from me"?
Sometimes I struggle to have the heart to tell people what they desperately need to hear. I'm scared of their reaction. I'm wondering if it will sound maudlin and sappy. I'm scared to tell my wife what's bothering me. I'm fearful that my dad wouldn't understand. I don't want to go first risking no reciprocation. I'm nervous of being misunderstood by my colleagues. I'm anxious that it will come out wrong or that I'm in no moral position to point out the glaringly obvious. I feel my insides contracting and constricting with self-doubt and self-paralysis.
Even in ministry, I can sense when it's time to go there. God is telling me to address something that can't be delayed another day. To broach the issue. To ask the question. To share the dream. To wonder out loud in the presence of the staff. To ask my wife the fearful question, "What's wrong?" Oh my, having the heart to go there not knowing where there might take you is often a daunting notion. In some ways, I'd rather go anywhere but there. Is there another way? Can't someone else do it? I'm not equal to the task! I'm out of my league!
And then the voice of God whispers in the stillness and the smallness I've become accustomed to: "Now is the time, this is place, you are the person. I will be with you." And with painful trepidation, I muster the man inside me to take heart and speak truth as I see it. I may not always be right, but at least I'm not living in silent misery. I'm making my mark on the sands of time. I'm staking my claim. I'm numbering my days instead of numbing them.
Lord, give me the heart to tell people whatever you lay on my heart to share. "I love you." "You make me proud." "I disagree with you." "I have an idea." "I'm scared, are you?" "Thank you." "I miss your friendship." "That is sin." "I'm depressed and borderline suicidal." "I'm lonely, can we meet up sometime?" "You hurt my feelings." "You make me very, very happy." "Are you ok?" "Why do you keep doing that?" "I'm going down...I need help." "I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?" "You know what I love about you...?" Yeah...give me the heart to tell people what could easily just rot inside my soul.
I want to number my days instead of numbing them.