In Studio 60, Matt Albee says this:
“I didn’t say anything because I was scared and I’ve been scared for 5 weeks and that’s too long for a grown man.”
I understand why Moses said no to a burning bush and the visible glory of God. And maybe it wasn’t because he didn’t trust God. And maybe it wasn’t because he didn’t believe God could do what He said He was going to do.
Maybe it was too much, too terrifying – to go back.
When Moses fled Egypt, I imagine – as horrible as it was – to leave behind all of your friends and family and position of influence and power – maybe the wilderness felt a little like freedom. The weight of the pressure lifted, the release from all the systems, and the striving and the rules and the approval.
I can imagine him carving out his new life in the wasteland, telling himself he had nothing left to lose. He was free. But it turns out – sometimes the years in the wilderness make the fear of Egypt grow. You are cast aside, and surely the lesson you’re supposed to learn is that you don’t need to belong to survive, but when those sweet soft faces find you in the wilderness, and you build a family here, maybe you sometimes accidentally learn to fear anything that might threaten that belonging.
I’m not Moses.
No one is asking me to part the sea. No one is asking me to go to Pharoh and be the one to turn the tide of slavery and fear.
I wish they were.
If I’m honest, I think maybe that’s what I’ve been waiting for. God – give me some mission and send me back in there with a supernatural staff and your power and then they’ll see.
See what Fabs?
I can feel her inside of me – the little girl trying to prove herself, the broken sinner trying to find validation, the kid trying to belong, the rejected trying to regain power.
But whatever’s next, it isn’t that.
There’s no burning bush. No parting seas. Just a still small voice in this quiet corner of the wilderness saying: it’s time now. To stop being afraid.
I didn’t say anything because I was scared. And I’ve been scared for five years now. And that’s too long for a child of God.
Didn’t say what? What is it that I haven’t said cause I’m scared?
A million things.
I’m sad Rachel Held Evans died, and I love Beth Moore, and I think there are really broken cultures in the church, especially around women, and I cannot believe any of those statements are in any way controversial, and I am no longer sure about things I used to feel sure about, and sometimes people quote me to me and feel a shudder of nausea, and glorious truths are being used to teach lies about God, and – I’m sorry. For the role, I’ve played in systems and cultures that crushed, even as they intended to heal.
I was afraid. I am afraid to say anything. Afraid about how it might be perceived. Afraid of what it might mean for my future.
And that makes sense.
Because I am not naive and I know how this works. Loving people is the same as declaring public allegiance to every view they’ve ever held, and joining their ‘team’ whatever that means, and whatever side you pick, you better show unwavering loyalty. Everyone is waiting for you to show your cards and reveal who you align with as if there is some great war beside the cosmic one being fought in the invisible spaces between us.
And where is the space for those of us who don’t agree with all the things but don’t disagree with all the things? Where are the spaces for the wrestling?
And where do we – who have changed, but aren’t different – where do we belong?
And what do we do next?
Do I take down all the old blog posts with views I no longer share and start a new site? Do I point at all the things I once said, or once did, all the people I aligned with once and say none of it was real? Nothing was true?
Exodus talks of Moses running in fear, but Hebrews sings his song as if he fled in faith. And maybe this isn’t an epic rewriting of his failure but instead, evidence for the complexity of being a human. Maybe we’re all a little more of a mixed bag than we might like.
Maybe it’s less choosing wilderness or Egypt and more living like an exile in both places? I see brave AF Beth Moore chatting with Jen Hatmaker, and tweeting wild words and I think maybe this is just a little simpler than we’ve made it out to be – those of us scrambling for belonging.
Maybe we need to be less concerned with how they’re spinning our story in Exodus or Hebrews, less afraid of what they think of us in Egypt or the wilderness, and just – be you.
I don’t know.
But I know I’m setting a new category on this blog called #rebuilding. And I’m going to find this little space on the internet to reclaim my wrestling spirit without fear of how its perceived or what potential book deals it might one day cost me.
And that’s what courage and calling looks like today. For me.