When I get all angst-y about something, I do three things:
Pace around the house.
Twirl my hair.
Stare out all of our windows.
If I’ve got my head on halfway straight, I also talk with God during all of that pacing, twirling and staring.
And that’s the way it went down this morning. I walked angst-y laps inside of our house, looking out every direction, and asking God questions like:
“Are you sure, God?”
“Did I hear You, right?”
“But what if I don’t know what I’m doing?”
And then I cleared some space in my heart to hear His answers.
And it seemed that God was whispering His peace, and His assurance.
That He was telling me it was going to be all right. That I didn’t have to prove anything, or to perform some sort of spiritual acrobatics, or to offer any profound wisdom. And that I was probably right about one thing: I really don’t know exactly what I’m doing, but that’s OK.
I knew He was speaking this to me: That I should simply follow where He leads.
So that’s what I’m doing. I’m following God.
To Ferguson, Missouri.
My friend Deidra Riggs called me Monday and asked if I would pray about traveling to Ferguson with her — to listen to people’s stories, and maybe to write some of those stories. She and I talked about what it would be like to get a first-hand look at what’s been happening in Ferguson, to talk to people doing good work there, and to see how the Church can lead better in times like this.
You may remember me talking about Deidra in a blog post earlier this month. Back on August 7, I wrote on this blog that I was a “white girl from rural Iowa … and I’m #GoingThere.”
#GoingThere was a figurative concept for me, not an actual place. It was an expressed willingness to sit at the table and have important conversation about race, reconciliation and diversity. It was all a bit fuzzy to me, but my heart was all in.
That was two days before Ferguson was a news headline.
In the blog post, I wrote: “I want to get off the sidelines and onto the field. I don’t know exactly what this looks like, but I”m not willing to sit on the sidelines anymore. … I’m #GoingThere.”
This week, Deidra asked me to pray about Going There … for real. To Ferguson. Not just with my heart, but with my feet.
So I prayed. And my husband prayed. And the next day, I gave Deidra my yes. Because my husband and I felt like we’d heard God’s yes.
Deidra and I leave Friday — as friends and as colleagues with The High Calling. And we’d love for your prayers to go with us. When we arrive, we’ll meet Lisha Epperson, Nish Weiseth and Preston Yancey.
All of us are storytellers,
and we pray that we are also story-listeners.
After all that pacing, twisting and window-gazing this morning, I spent some time in the Scripture and was drawn into the Book of James. I read the whole of James, but these are the words that have stuck with me all day:
“Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue.” James 1:19 (The Message)
So I’m Going There. To Ferguson. And I’m letting my ears lead me. I’m going there to listen and to learn. And then, I’ll write.
But not before I listen. Not before I serve.
And not before I learn.