If you are familiar at all with Twitter, you know they have a space for a bio on your home screen. In a 140 characters or less, you are supposed to write something compelling about who you are and/or what you stand for. Make yourself interesting to potential followers. Until recently, mine read as follows:

 

Stone thrower. Undeservedly standing in the grace of the one who is Grace, 
as He sings love songs over me.
 
 
In the last few months, I have felt that sentiment radically shifting. Oh, I’m still a stone thrower. I’m not sure that will ever change! And yes, I am definitely still undeserving. I am still standing in grace; for no other reason than it is a gift freely given to me. It’s the love songs I feel are missing. Well, missing may not really be accurate. It’s more like I just don’t hear them anymore. They’ve become lost in the noise of this world…
 
Lost in the noise of religion.
 
In my last post, Longing for Grace, I wrote about not being in church on Easter Sunday. About some of the things I had experienced in church and at the hands of church leadership that brought me to that place. Where God was painted as harsh and judgmental. My salvation was based on the things I did or didn’t do. I had to behave a certain way, say the right things. I couldn’t let my behavior reflect badly on the church. I had to be for the church and everything they stood for. I was being molded by legalism to fit into a neat little gospel box of conformity. I either had to live by the law or die by it. I was slowly dying and becoming more lost by the moment…
 
Lost in the noise of religion.
 
At any given time these days, my Facebook and Twitter feeds are a hotbed of negativity. I encounter it on a daily basis. Christians posting on social media, espousing all the things that they are against. That we as Christians are required to take a stand against. All the things that don’t fit into our neat little gospel box of conformity. And when we don’t agree we are judged as having compromised the gospel of Christ. So those of us who won’t take a stand on the side of the law are found wanting and hang in the balance between heaven and hell. Whatever thread we are holding onto ready to snap; sending us plummeting into the depths. Quite obviously having lost our way…
 
Lost in the noise of religion.
 
And I’m weary. Weary of the infighting. Weary of reducing people to labels because we don’t agree with their choices. Weary of seeing those same people hurt because they don’t fit our idea of Christianity. Weary that we make anyone who doesn’t fit into our boxes less than. Less than worthy of the love and grace that we so readily say we stand behind. Weary of being told I need to put aside my hurts; die to my pain and suffering in order for God to use me to reach the unchurched.
 
Frankly, this is not the church I want to share with anyone. If I didn’t already have a relationship with Christ, however fragile I feel it is at this moment, I would run screaming from this church. This church of rules and regulations. This church that is strangling the very life out of me. This church that is losing me and many others every day. This church that is lost…
 
Lost in the noise of religion.
 
So, I am finding freedom in the wilderness. Freedom in wandering. Freedom in asking questions. Freedom in doubting. Freedom in the Jesus that wrote in the sand for the woman accused. Because I have been that woman. Facing those with the stones in their hands. Facing their judgment. Facing their contempt. Freedom in the Jesus that met the woman at the well. Because I have been the woman outcast. Shunned and rejected by others in the church. Dismissed as a lost cause. Valueless. Unworthy.
 
I’m finding freedom because the Jesus of the wilderness is finding me. Actively seeking for me. Accepting me regardless of the things I’ve done. Seeing my worth. Wanting to know me intimately, caring for me, even when I can’t see any value in myself. Extending Grace so radical as to be considered scandalous. Even as I walk away from religion, this Grace stops me and wraps me in unfathomable Love. I’m learning that even though I wander, I am not lost.
 
My twitter bio now reads as follows…
 
 
Stone thrower. Wilderness dweller. Wanderer in search of Grace.
 
 
For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me.
So I died to the law–I stopped trying to meet all its requirements–
so that I might live for God.
Galatians 2:9 NLT

This article has 4 comments

  1. Laura Reply

    It is for this reason that I bow my knees before our Father in Heaven, and pray:

    Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen Your daughter Carol. Fill her soul with the power of Your Spirit so that through faith Jesus will reside in her heart. May love be the rich soil where her life takes root. May it be the bedrock where her life is founded so that together with all of Your children she will have the power to understand that Your love is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. And to Know deeply for herself that radical love so far beyond our comprehension, surpassing everything anyone has previously experienced. May Carol be filled through all her being with God himself.

    To Him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine—to Him be glory through Jesus Christ for ever and ever, amen!
    -based off Ephesians 3:14-21 Personalized for you my sister-in-love

  2. annette skarin Reply

    I get you. And I won't go blah, blah, blah. I too like the tax-collector standing next to the pharisee have to bow my head in need of mercy. Thanks for sharing, always encouraging.

  3. Carol Vinson Reply

    It's nice to know that someone else 'gets it.' It's difficult traveling this road and for the most part feeling like I'm doing it all alone. Thanks for taking the time to share. Appreciate it so much.

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