This evening, I took a glance at the seeds I had planted the day we moved in. I was shocked to see that one of the pots had tiny green sprouts coming out– and they looked kind of moldy.
Will I ever have a green thumb? Probably not. Is it a symbol of my life? Not really, but I felt stupid giving you the “so we actually did move like I said we would” update. A couple of posts ago, I felt the Lord telling me to uproot. To pack up my things and follow, to consider changes I hadn’t before, to make space for replanting. I spent so much time fantasizing what would come my way when I replanted. What adventure starts here? How will I be growing? And when I replanted, I asked God, “What next?”
He’s been eerily quiet lately. Periods of silence are a normal part of a relationship with God, but this feels different. Like when someone grabs you by the hand and leads you towards something. Someone once told me that if God has commanded you to do something, keep doing it until He says otherwise. Perhaps you aren’t done yet.
God’s been my sounding board as I process, listening as I pray throughout my day. His Spirit has been present in my day-to-day activities, listening intently and saying nothing, just offering a hand. I reflected on my life and where I’m at, and I came to realize that even though I’ve replanted many external pieces of my life, God’s wanting me to replant my heart.
Okay, that sounded cheesy. God wants me to rip my heart apart and rebuild it in His image. Maybe that’s a little too Gladiator, but you get me, right?
There are these deeply ingrained things in my heart that need to be removed. There are things I need to spend time working on within myself in order to serve those around me better. The thing about sin is that it permeates everything we see and do; we’ve never seen life without sin’s influence. Our world is warped by sin, and it ultimately affects our choices, perception, and our very state of being.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will.” -Romans 12:2 (NIV)
In Romans 12, Paul is describing what it looks like to be a living sacrifice for the Gospel. In renewing my mind this season, I want to do some serious work in myself. The Lord has been grabbing me by the hand and silently leading me towards these dark places I’d been avoiding. He says nothing and allows me to sit and look at the damage. In Hebrew, the word leb (pronounced LAY-v) means heart and mind, and culturally, the heart and mind were considered together, as the same interdependent system. In context, the work of the mind is the work of the heart, and vice verse. If any of these things I’m about to share ring true with you, I’d encourage you to walk with me.
Not being complicit in white supremacy. My fellow white Christians, we’ve got plenty to talk about here. There is no such thing as a “good” white person in terms of racism. As not-racist as you may feel, we are privileged by systems that benefit us at the cost of others, especially in the States. As Rachel Cargle (@rachel.cargle on Insta) has said, it’s not enough to be not-racist. You must actively be anti-racism, and we are responsible for deconstructing the racist systems established by our ancestors. The steps I will be taking towards working through this is re-reading The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James H. Cone and The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. I will also be doing Layla Saad’s “Me & White Supremacy” 30 day challenge, available from her Instagram (@laylafsaad). If what I’ve just said makes you uncomfortable, good. Talk to me, read with me, listen to Black Indigenous women of color. I feel like this season will better prepare me to write a longer post about racism in the American church, and I’m looking forward to it.
*As a side note, I highly recommend you follow @rachel.cargle and @laylafsaad and learn from them. They are educators, and I also ask if you take in their work, you pay them for it. You can pay them via links in their Insta bios. They also provide tons of resources. Please respect their work and spaces, and take the time to read their guidelines before jumping ignorantly into the work they do with their pages.
Not consuming unethically. I’ve been working on being aware of the things I purchase, but we’re going deeper. R. Kelly, you’re cancelled. Chris Brown? Cancelled. Artists and creators and those who benefit from my consumption will be people who actively recognize their mistakes when called out and learn from them. I will be filtering through my music the most (because I’ll admit, in terms of content, I listen to some stuff that would make Eminem blush). I will not support violent men, people that are complicit in the mistreatment of others, and I will pay attention to where and who the things I consume come from. I’ll be taking time this season to go through what I already consume, and research anything new I am considering.
Walking through past trauma. Recently, I admitted something to some of my friends: I think I’m interested in being open to dating again. They’ve been freaking out with excitement, which is concerning on its own level. I have a myriad of reasons why I haven’t wanted to, some surface-level that are easier to share; and some deeply rooted fears that I’m going to have to face if I ever want a partner. In a previous post, I talked about how many fears I have surround the theme of family. It’s time to roll up my sleeves and do some work.
Being more intentional with my belongings. Taking quality care of the items I do have, and not wasting money and time on items I don’t need. I’ll be continuing to watch “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” (perfect organization and efficiently folded clothes are what I imagine sex feels like). I’ve already started this process, but I want to be better about taking care of my clothes, caring for my home, and for my car. I’m ignorant in all three of those categories. I also want to take the time to invest in emergency stock of things I might need, and being intentional with my money.
Now that I’ve written this all out, I’m not gonna lie– this feels like a lot of work. If these were New Year’s resolutions, I’d feel a little better. But I can’t neglect God like I neglected the six-pack abs that I resolved to obtain eight years ago. This list also vaguely reminds me of Rachel Held Evans’ book Year of Biblical Womanhood, which I highly recommend. These are a few of my practical steps and challenges towards living a life that reflects the God I love.
Instead of growing outward, God’s telling me to pause and focus inward. Dig up some roots. Maybe deal with some moldy seedlings, like on my kitchen windowsill. He’s seen me gather all my energy to move forward, and is telling me to sit still and sift through myself.
It feels like preparation of something big. Maybe not Noah’s ark big, but a movement of something coming in my life. I’m not claiming I’m a prophet, but I trust my gut feelings. I’ll let you know what God does.
In the meantime, I’ll pass this challenge to you. What roots to you need to dig up this winter? Feel free to reach out if you want to walk with me or have questions.