Upwardly Dependent » walking the delicate balance of absolute truth and overwhelming grace.

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Standing in the Middle of No Man’s Land



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I’m suffering from what feels like an eternal writer’s block.

It’s not that I haven’t been trying. I’ve clicked away at the black squares on my laptop for hours upon hours. I’ve scribbled blog topics on scraps of paper when they pop into my head. I’ve kept notes of my thoughts in my journal as I read from Scripture or my latest book, Bonhoeffer.

But for the last several months, any time I’ve tried to put my exact thoughts into words, they all come out more scrambled and confusing than when they were safely tucked away in my head.

This is incredibly frustrating for me because I am an external processor. Many times I don’t know how I feel about a topic until I speak that feeling out loud. Times of quiet meditation are nice for reflection, but absolutely nothing sticks unless I’ve dialogued a subject matter with someone.

Blogging is a joy to me because of this very fact. I have thoughts floating in my head, they are shaped into a semi-organized format, and then you, the reader, continue the dialogue with me.

It makes my heart happy, really.

But lately, this blog space has been nothing but a wasteland.

I thought it was culture fatigue. That’s probably been part of it.

Then, I thought it was a change in priorities. Eh, maybe a tad.

But today as I scrolled past blog post after blog post in my news feed, I realized why I’ve had such a hard time writing lately.

The internet is so terribly click-hungry for polarizing opinion pieces.

101 Ways to Pose Your Elf on the Shelf
101 Reasons Why Elf on the Shelf is the Devil 

Why I Love My Church
Why I Left My Church 

Support this Cause
Boycott this Cause

I can’t seem to find my voice in all the drawn party lines with verbal pushing and shoving.

To be honest, it feels impossible to cram any of my thoughts on a given day into a 700 word cohesive thought. If there’s one thing moving overseas has given me, it’s the gift of many perspectives.

But those perspectives make things awfully cloudy most days.

I’m straddling a fence with a sea of black on one side and a sea of white on the other, and as the colors begin to touch beneath my feet, they turn all shades of gray as I kick and scream, I DON’T KNOW WHAT I THINK ANYMORE!!!

I can’t write about the nightmares in Ferguson because I know the race-related statistics of crime in the U.S. and I’m also incredibly feely about the way white people and government projects have placed my darker-skinned friends in generations of poverty.

I can’t write about adoption because I feel so much instinctive protection for the defense of my next child, but I also am keenly aware of the corruption that exists when money and international law get mixed up with vulnerable children.

I can’t write about church theology because things that seemed so weighty in the United States have ceased to even be real in our Asian context. When I see doctrinal battles being fought over social media, I watch as two sides simultaneously take each other down and completely miss the ultimate purpose of glorifying God.

My point is, I don’t know how to identify myself anymore.

I’m too conservative for my liberal friends and too liberal for my conservative friends.

I’m too communal for my friends in American and too American for my communal friends in Asia.

I’m too religious for my justice-fighting friends and too justice-fighting for my religious friends.

And I’m standing in the middle of No Man’s Land, totally understanding both sides but not willing to fully join either one. And I wonder when someone is going to stand up for that middle ground.

Where’s the balance in our theology? Where’s the balance in our political views? Where’s the balance in our basic capability to live peaceably with one another?

I don’t know the answer. I don’t know if anyone else feels this way.

But I know that a man walked this earth many years ago that was teaching the kind of balance I’m hungry for.

He was the kind of man that said the person without sin could throw the first stone at an adulteress woman. He also told that adulteress woman to go and sin no more.

There were always two sides with Christ. And somehow, he always found the perfect Truth that covered all people with loads of Grace.

That’s where I want to find myself, too.

So pardon me if I continue to struggle for words. I’m finding it hard to write exactly how I feel these days. I commit to sharing my journey with you as I seek to find that delicate balance of absolute truth and overwhelming grace.

And if you’re up for it, I’d love some company out here in No Man’s Land.



Melissa TDecember 12, 2014 - 12:14 pm

So, so true. An eloquent way of expressing what so many of us feel… And what I’m dealing with right now on furlough!

BethDecember 12, 2014 - 2:01 pm

You are not alone! You put into words what I have been feeling for years. Thank you!

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