I’ve been asking the wrong question. I wonder how often I miss out on getting clear direction from God because I’m wallowing in negativity and my whining is forming the wrong question? Over the past week I’ve made myself all mopey because I wanted the Women’s March on Washington to be a protest against misogyny and disrespect toward other marginalized groups of people. I discovered the agenda was wider than that and I fumed. I fumed and I wrote an essay for my blog. After fuming I began asking God if I should still go march.
Over the last 24 hours I’ve been turned off by my whining. And, not so humbly, I’ve been fearing I’ve been turning others off with my whining. This morning in the midst of repeating the question to Jesus, “Should I walk in this march?”, I stopped short and practically shouted, “Am I asking the wrong question?!” His answer to me was, “Yes, you’re asking the wrong question.”
So then the question became, “What should I be asking?”. I quickly realized the question I needed to be asking. “What am I going to do with my disappointment?” My disappointment is not just over the agenda of the organizers of this march. My disappointment is over what has led up to me wanting to have a march I could participate in. My disappointment is really plural: disappointments.
President Obama said something in his last press conference that really convicted me. I believe God used it to nudge me into realizing I’ve been asking the wrong question. When the president was asked how his daughters reacted to the election results he said, in part, “my daughters are not mopers”. I don’t know that in general I’d define myself as a chronic moper. But yikes, moping is a common temptation for me. By the grace of the Holy Spirit I’m able to fight it for the most part, but the temptation visits me frequently in hopes of taking me down. And I succumbed to it over the last couple of days.
I struggle with my memory. After the primary election God showed me in many ways, including the preaching of my pastor, conversations with friends and through blogs I read, that my response to my disappointment needed to be love. Love in action. Protest has its place but protest isn’t going to strengthen my heart for life here on earth. Love will. I forgot to let this comfort me in my disappointment over The Women’s March on Washington.
Over the last few months of 2016 I purposed to do my part to expand love. 1 Peter 4:8 “Above, all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins”. I choose to remember that now. Yes, rightly, a heart still grieves that the world is not what it was meant to be. A heart still grieves bullying, injustice, and unkindness. And we are called to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.
The answer for the question God gave me today, “What am I going to do with my disappointment?”, is the same for the question “What am I going to do with my grief?” It’s the ultimate balm. It’s what Jesus said is the greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” And the second greatest he said is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
That’s not an ethereal answer. It is substantial. It can soothe my soul and move me into action. I’ve got opportunities to love by helping feed the hungry on Wednesdays at my church, reaching out to friends going through tough circumstances, writing notes to a friend who is terminally ill, praying without ceasing, showing interest in the checker at the grocery store, sharing a joke with the parking attendant who spends his days in the bowels of a parking garage, etc., etc.!
Lord, help me to remember to ask, “What should I be asking?” That is one powerfully healing and life giving question!