Authority. We’re talking this month about authority. And I’ll be honest…I’m struggling with it. Struggling with the words to say, and the grace to extend. Struggling so much that for the first time, I didn't post on a regularly scheduled day. I needed more time with this one. Mainly because this blog is a place where people can be real, honest, and authentic; sharing with our church where he/she is at that specific place and time. And yet, when I think about authority…It’s hard for me to look past how my brushes with authority have left me feeling demeaned and sub-human, and how that’s affected my relationship to the authority of God. And that's very tricky to admit and uncomfortable to talk about so publicly.
I DO believe that authority, though; in God’s ultimate authority. But what does that look like exactly? How does it manifest? I also believe that God has placed people in authority over me here on Earth and that I should obey and submit to them. But when do we choose to obey God over our civil authority-bearers? It seems like scripture contradicts itself when in neighboring books of the bible it says we should follow those God has placed in authority over us and then says we should “Obey God rather than men!” So, when should we be THESE kinds of people?
How do I seek out good authority, for myself to lead, and to be led BY? How can I make sure I lead well, that I don’t abuse my power or authority? How do I know if I’m just seeking out what I WANT, or what I NEED? I know I can trust God, but how do I know when to wait on Him and when to boldly step out in faith?
We will be addressing all of these questions and more this month.
I’ve set May up a bit differently. I think this will look more like a series of typed interviews rather than free-form blog posts. I think this could be viewed as selfish on my part. I clearly am very interested in how my team thinks about and responds to this topic and have specific questions I want to ask and want to have answered. But I have found that the times when I’ve asked the tough questions, the risky questions, the uncomfortable questions…that’s where God meets me. And where He uses you all to do so.
When we butt up against something tricky to discuss, our default is too often internalization and isolation. A lot of this has to do with the fact that we believe somewhere deep down (actually, maybe not so deep down) that we’re the ONLY ONE asking that question, or wondering about that thing, or thinking that thought. So we keep it to ourselves. Better to be consumed from the inside out with our worries and fears, than to externalize them and be met with dismissal and minimization and shame, right? Well, that’s what we tell ourselves anyway.
I find that the grace of God has shown up in these moments for me with a nod of the head, an acknowledging glance from across the room, confirmation, and affirmation. It’s God’s way of saying that He sees me. He cares about and for me. He shows up for me. It helps me to trust a little bit sooner the next time. It helps me to speak up a little louder next time. It helps me to break the cycle of internalized fear and shame. It’s so valuable to me, and I need those little reminders constantly to keep from falling apart most days.
Yes, this is still the introductory blog post on Authority. Hopefully, you’re still with me and I haven’t gone completely off the rails! I wanted to talk about our monthly theme and simultaneously reaffirm the purpose and intent of this blog post: Authentic, Accessible, and Diverse.
I hope we are still discussing things you find interesting. I hope we are still asking the questions that make you, too, nod your head or “glance across the room.” I hope you feel seen. I hope you feel heard. I hope Discovery and the church as a whole seem wider to you; a place where you can come with your joy and your faith, as well as your sorrow and your doubt.
I hope you enjoy this month. If you have any questions or want to engage further, please don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected]