Honesty, Idolatry, and Community

I've always had the answers.  As a kid, I was good at school and better at Sunday School.  As I grew older and was involved in Bible studies and small groups, I've been called a human Bible encyclopedia more than once (and hated it every time).  I might not be the person people go to when they want to have a night out on the town, but I'm the person people go to when they don't understand a doctrine, or when they want a verse, or if they want to share their problems.  Even during the times of my life where I intensely struggled, I still knew what the answers were.  Maybe I didn't fully believe them, or maybe I didn't like them, but I still knew the answers.  I always have.  This isn't a pride-thing.  I've always only praised God for this.  I could have ended up differently.  Much differently, and in a much darker place.  I could be dead, really- so, honestly, it's not a pride thing.  I'm very grateful and humbled.  I never deserved the answers, but God provided the clarity.  He always has.

I think I built an identity around that.  Around knowledge and competence.  Or the ability to feign competence until I got a handle on things.  When God provides something, it is easy to get used to it.  I'm not talking "entitlement," but rather assuming that it will always be provided in the future.  And creating an idol out of a gift?  What a joke.

I didn't realize this problem until I stopped having answers.  My answer-stream slowly trickled away and evaporated into nothing under the heat of the harsh sun called Reality.  The confidence started cracking when I found myself in my first relationship and didn't know how to handle being romantically involved with another human being.  At all.  Then the spidery cracks grew until they became splintering, gaping holes when I realized I needed to make life and career decisions where I had an endgame but no discernible means to get there.  How am I supposed to plan my life when I don't know what's going to happen next week?

Everything spiraled into feelings of inadequacy.  Why?  Because being on top of things was my idol.  It was comfort and security and peace.  Control.

It's funny, though.  People still come to me with their theological questions.  They still come to me with their problems.  I teach, and I counsel.  But as my friend once asked me, "Who's pouring into you?"  At the time the answer was "No one."

I need people.  I need people pouring into me.  Supporting me.  Loving me.  And it's difficult to say that I need people because that means being vulnerable.  But I'm glad I'm so, so grateful for my Mars Hill small group.  Because after my friend asked me that question, a chain of events occurred that allowed me to join this wonderful church and become involved in a community group.  I can be honest there- fears, failures, and all.  Community and discipleship are wonderful things.  And I'm thankful.

I don't have the answers, but I know God does.  I have to be OK with that.  And part of that answer is community, but I have to be honest first.