Sometimes it's very hard to have relationships with other church people.
Not because they act like people or because they have done something terrible, but because I respect their opinions so much. I believe that they have good heads on their shoulders. I think they have a good relationship with Christ. I trust that when they say something it comes from a place that is right and true. I listen when they open their mouths because I know they are going to say something insightful. I read their blogs and find wisdom in their posts.
But I get into trouble when I start reading and adhering to The Gospel According to Saint So and So. I find myself listening to what people say, and sometimes I find myself overly convicting my past and my present. These are dangerous waters, because I do believe that the Lord speaks in a variety of ways. I believe that His Spirit fills our ministers who aim to speak on His behalf. I believe that His people minister to one another.
But sometimes I feel like I look for the Message in every single conversation--and sometimes, it just ain't there.
There have been times in my life that I've been in a predicament. Times when I didn't know up from down--and instead of running to Him, I've turned to my closest family members and friends. People that I really trust, people that have my best interests in mind, people that are honest enough to tell me the hard things. I have spent a good portion of my life concerned about how those people view me. Does Saint So and So feel that I made a good decision in that particular situation? I hope so, because I believe that they have God on speed dial.
Other times, I've gone to Him and received answers, but I have often wanted to test His responses by seeing if others will say the same thing. I've looked at Facebook posts and thought that perhaps the Lord was speaking to me through a random post from a person I barely know. I've been in conversations about one thing and found myself convinced that perhaps the Lord was convicting me about something else entirely. I've let innocent conversations with perfectly nice people turn me into a ball of anxiety and confusion and guilt.
I am such a stupid human.
And unfortunately, I don't have any tricks to make it better.
This year the Lord has proven o'er and o'er that I am to trust Him--and only Him. To trust what He says, to trust when He speaks, to listen and to believe He has my best intentions in mind. He has made it abundantly clear that I am not necessary for His big plans to come to pass. He doesn't need our human selves to work out the details. When I've given things to Him, when I've surrendered the very things that have caused turmoil in my life--He has responded in ways that could never be orchestrated by human hands. I have seen things this past year that could not be described as coincidence--only things that made me swell and swoon from the love He has lavished upon us.
He can do all of this without me and my opinions and my need for approval ratings. He can do all things without the help of His people, well-meaning or not. He can do this without speaking in code through Saint So and So.
He can do all of these things because He's God.
The blessing of Christian friendships is something we need and learn from. However, we need to remember that while it is good to take the advice from Christian friends at times, we need to ensure that we aren't substituting them as our primary god. We need to ensure that we aren't letting them solve our issues and give us the answers we seek in lieu of going straight to the Source.