The Long-Expected {and Long-Winded} Blog Post

Some of you, my unfortunate readers, who also happen to be friends with me on Facebook, may have noticed the lengthy status I posted back in January about this thing called a *Passion conference. You may also remember how I promised to write a blog post on the subject of what God taught me while I was there. I hope you haven't been holding your breath in expectation for this post...'cause you've probably passed out by now if you have. In other words, I'm sorry for taking so long.

To be honest, I've been incredibly conflicted about the best way to write this. As God teaches me more and more, I've come to realize how everything in my life is connected to everything else. Trying to isolate and write about one single incident of my life is like pulling a single thread out of one small figure in an enormous tapestry, and, by showing it to you, expect you to get an accurate idea of the of the completed work. That (I think you'd agree) would be very unfair to you, and nearly impossible for me. But that's essentially what I'm trying to do in this post. My complete life story from infancy to the present day would, however, undoubtedly bore you to tears, so here goes with the thread...


It was a bright, sunny morning in Mozambique, but I was feeling neither bright nor sunny. In fact, I was anxious, desperate...and determined. I had felt an increasing separation from God over the past few days, and had come outside this morning to ask, no, demand, that He tell me the reason why. I found a secluded corner, sat down with my Bible by my side, and told God, "I'm not moving from this spot until You tell me what is coming between You and me." God was incredibly kind to this small, demanding child of His, and gave me an answer much more quickly than I'd dared to expect. The answer, itself, was also completely unexpected...


I was shocked! I could have listed off a dozen sins I knew I was frequently guilty of, but pride? That was never on the list. Still trying to grasp this new mental picture of myself as a prideful person, I muttered something along the lines of, "Oookay, God, thanks for telling me. I'm sorry for letting pride come between what exactly should I do about it?"

God's answer was breathtaking. "Ask Me to break your pride."

Asking God to break something just seems like a really bad idea to me. But, as a Christian, I'm frequently told to leap headfirst into things that look like really bad ideas. So, with certain measure of sheer terror, but also with an unshakable knowledge that it was the right thing to do, I said, "Alright, God, please break my pride. I want to be close to You."

That was the beginning of one very long battering session that has lasted through the intervening years and is steadily smashing through the hideous fortress pride had built in my life. There's still a lot of work to be done, I'm sure...enough work to last a lifetime...but one especially large wall was brought down during the three days I spent at Passion.


I was very unsure about going to Passion. I figured it would be some big, glitzy, come to Jesus meeting with flashy lights, loud music, trendy speakers, and immature kids. But it gradually became obvious that God wanted me to go. I wasn't sure why I was supposed to go, but I guessed I figure that out when I got there. So, rather reluctantly, I went.

On my first morning there, I got up a little early to drink my tea, watch the mist banks roll across the mountains, and talk to God. "Okay, God, now will you tell me why I'm here?" I asked. He directed me to Proverbs 13:10; 'Arrogance leads to nothing but strife, but wisdom is gained by those who take advice.' Immediately, He began to convict me of the arrogance, pride, and general rottenness of my attitude toward the whole Passion trip. I realized how many arrogant thoughts I'd entertained about those who were coming to Passion - somehow thinking of them as lesser Christians because they felt the need to come to a big conference with big-name speakers, while I didn't need to listen to other people because I could listen to God.

God began to reprimand me, "How dare you set yourself up in judgment of MY people - your brothers and sisters? You should be humbled by the immense privileges and freedoms that allow you to come to a place like this. You should be thrilled to have this opportunity to be with so many members of your family in Christ."

By that point, I was, of course, feeling completely ashamed, repentant...and humble. "Oh Lord!" I gasped, "I am so sorry! Please forgive me!"

In that moment, an enormous bulwark of stubborn, ugly pride crumbled away and disappeared.

But God wasn't finished with me yet. Oh no! There was so much more waiting just around the corner...


It was the first night of worship in the Georgia Dome, and I was a little bit freaked out and a big bit judgmental. The music was just as loud, and the lights just as flashy as I had feared. I got the impression that everyone was working extra hard to make me excited about this 'great experience', and my contrary soul just was not buying it.

"This. is. stupid." I muttered under my breath. "These people aren't here to worship God! They're just here to go crazy over some catchy music and impressive light displays. They're doing THE WAVE, for crying out loud! This is just...pointless."

Then God began reminding me, "Being here is a privilege. This is your family. They're not the same as you... but does that really make them wrong?"

I felt ashamed of falling back into the same trap so quickly. "I'm sorry, God, but really, everything's so weird. I am just NOT enjoying myself."

I suddenly thought back to Africa. The people I met there were so different from me on the outside, but I, in my search for ways to relate, discovered that we were all the same on the inside. I didn't judge. I accepted differences as just that - differences - not inferiorities. I searched for a common ground and, because I was looking, I found it.

Somehow, somewhere between Mozambique and Georgia, I had lost that attitude. I had lost the habit of searching for common ground, of overlooking differences for the sake of unity, of accepting people who are different than me without passing judgment.

'Different isn't necessarily better or worse. It's just different.' I reminded myself, as walls of judgment and pride began to totter.

'And I will, I AM thankful to be here with my family in Christ.'

I was, too.

I was suddenly, truly, rejoicing. My Christian family and I might have a lot of differences, but we have even more in common.

The walls that fell that night have never been re-built. Please God, they never will be.


What walls has God been battering down in your life?

*Passion is an annual conference featuring some of the foremost Christian authors, speakers, and musicians. Passion 2013 was held at the Georgia Dome for the purpose of encouraging 60,000 college-age people to live out their faith more fully. This year's conference had a special emphasis on exposing and ending modern-day slavery.