Dear God, It’s me, Lisa.
I have a lot of questions, and I often wish that I could ask God the questions that linger in my mind. Those matters of the heart I don’t understand, social injustice issues, why my heart hurts so much at times it’s palpable. Why people are mean to each other, at a fundamental level, which really boils down to why are we so inclined to be up in each other’s business. Why it can be so difficult for us to appreciate people as they are and love them. I’d also want to know how my family is doing. Those who are hanging out in Heaven. Is my Nana dancing to Frank Sinatra? I hope the answer would be yes. And could I also ask what the deal is with Brazil nuts? What was the point with creating those?
There are ways I can look for answers to my many questions. I have prayer. Sometimes I feel I get answers but others I don’t. So, I live in a space of trusting, believing. That’s what faith is about for me. Trusting in what I cannot see. I also have the Bible, which I regularly read and seek to understand, but I’m not one to push the Bible in your face or ask “do you know where you’re going when you die?” Honestly? I know that’s one that some Christians love to lead with. For me? Straight up turn off.
And since I’m putting it out there, I wrestle at times to understand what I’m supposed to do in life, like anyone does. I know I don’t have to figure it all out, that I can rely on God for that. But I still try sometimes. That feels normal. Any one of us wrestles, whether it be about why life can be hard lying awake at 3 a.m. or how to understand areas of the Bible that just don’t make sense to me, in today’s times. I am a woman, I’ve cut my hair, I’m still fairly certain that doesn’t condemn me in the end. And I like bacon. I eat it on occasion and have no plans to quit.
I was thinking about all of these matters the other day and was reminded of some of the ridiculous schemes I carried out in my younger years. Plans in my early 20’s I thought were brilliant that more accurately looked like a train about to run off the tracks. But I also look at the context. What was happening at the time. My age, my life experiences to date, what was going on around me, the social context, what was happening in the world – the challenges we faced. All that impacted what was important to me. Those factors impact anyone, at any time, including today. Looking back with the lens I have today is like comparing apples to a watermelon.
That’s where some of my questions come in. If the context and what was going on 30 years ago is so vastly different than now, what would it have been like thousands of years ago when the Bible was written? Different. Looking at it with the lens of today isn’t just apples to a watermelon, it’s apples to, say, a boulder. And that’s where I have questions. Those things are worthy of having conversations around. What is not helpful is to sit around judging each other. That’s not my job, and really, who am I to judge? All that does is create walls and I’d rather look for ways to break those down. The authentic pieces of me are continually being shaped and formed and asking questions to understand is part of that. To bring out and completely understand what I believe, because at the end of the day, my faith is my own. No one else’s. I am responsible for it.
At the end of the day, I have found answers and at the same time, I still have questions. But I know this. Jesus said to love him and love one another. Period. Not if they abstained from bacon or were perfect (none of us have that claim to fame), but simply love each other.
I can do that. No questions asked.