You're invited to live the questions with me: A Curious Faith Launch community
We do not have big emotions in our house. We do not have yelling or outbursts of tears, we do not have unquenchable laughter or sadness that won’t dissipate. If there is a gauge for demonstrative, Nate and I fall somewhere below a quarter of a tank. And so when something recently happened to us that left me crying so hard I vomited into a garbage can and Nate so hurt he called one of our dearest people with red hot anger burning in him (not at them, just in him), we didn’t exactly know what to do. We are not adept at big emotions here.
I don’t think it was always this way. Growing up in a houseful of boys, my emotions were foreign and usually fodder for teasing, if not downright punishable. Somewhere along the way I learned to remain indifferent, even stoic. Just the facts ma’am. And phrases like “feelings aren’t facts” crept their way into my mind and heart, even if not my mouth. There was always some question about whether the things I thought and felt mattered.
The less I felt like they mattered, the better listener I became. I listened to girls talk about boys and boys talk about girls. I listened to pastors talk about rejection and people talk about mistrust. I listened to friends talk about their days and strangers talk about their dirty secrets. I became the best listener I could be, always at the ready with a question intent on delving into the recesses of another’s heart. The problem was, though, I never let myself be mined for what was in the recesses of my own heart. Whole hours would go by in which I would only listen to my friends and never answer a question about my own life. Whole weeks would go by without taking the opportunity to inspect my own life and heart.
Years ago a dear friend sat across from me and said, “Lore, you know me better than anyone, and I trust you with everything, but the more time that goes by, the less I trust you. It’s not because you’re not trustworthy, though, it’s because you won’t let me in”
When she said those words, my heart cracked. She was right. I had prided myself on being impermeable because, from childhood, that’s what I thought people wanted from me. But here was one of my dearest people telling me she didn’t want impermeable Lore, she wanted vulnerable, knowable, tender at the core Lore.
From that conversation on, I began to see how lopsided every single one of my friendships was, how unknown and lonely I felt with all of them. And all along, I thought they were feeling known and intimate with me, but because they barely knew what was under the surface, they felt far from me.
I began a series of conversations that have changed me from the inside out. I said to each of my dear friends, “Our friendship has always been like this,” and I described the one-sidedness of it, “But I am working to actively repent for my way of being and to change my ways. One way you can help me is to begin asking me questions, and not settling for the surface answer I give. It’s self-protective and a form of sin for me.”
One by one, those friendships changed. Some of them changed because my friends weren’t willing to go there with me, they enjoyed what they received from my listening more than they wanted to engage in the asking. But some of them changed because my friends tenderly walked with me through the change.
And something happened. I began to love, like, really love these people. Something I had never let myself do before, not ever. And I began to feel really loved by them. And the thing about love is that once you really have it for someone and they have it for you, it’s nearly impossible to imagine losing it.
That day I told you about? The day I cried so hard I vomited? It was because I was faced with the possibility that someone I have loved nearly my entire life, someone with whom I have warred through far away seasons, heartbreak, hope, tears, and moves, would choose to leave me.
“What was that?” she asked a few weeks later, probing gently, so gently, for what was under the surface. “Why did that thought make you react so viscerally?”
I teared up immediately because I knew the answer: “It’s because I love you. It’s because the thought of you not in my life by choice feels unfathomable to me.”
It was not idolatry, I told her (“I know,” she said), instead it is the cost of what this shift over the past several years has done in me. It has made me truly vulnerable. Vulnerable to hurt, vulnerable to being hurt, vulnerable to the possibility that someone I deeply and profoundly love and respect would hurt me. But it’s also made me permeable, permeable to love, to goodness, to feeling my feelings when it’s right to feel them. “It’s actually a good thing,” I said (“I know,” she said.), “It means that this wound that’s been there as long as I can remember is finally being healed.”
“I know,” she said.
This is a story about me, but in some ways it’s a story about many of us and God. Maybe we learned when we were small not to question God or the Bible. Maybe we learned more recently that our questions were a sign of faithlessness, that intimacy with God is impossible. Maybe we learned that when God asks questions, he’s only doing it because he’s cruel and exacting. And when Jesus is doing it, it’s just confusing.
But I don’t think that’s true.
I’m proof that asking questions can heal us. That making ourselves vulnerable to being asked them or making ourselves vulnerable to asking them—these things heal us by degrees. They peel back the masks and the skins and the charades we all have, and get to the meat of the matter, the core. The more we peel, the more it hurts, but eventually we realize the hurt is actually doing something good. The hurt is where we know the healing. “The crack,” Leonard Cohen wrote, “is how the light gets in.”
And maybe that’s cliche, but if it is, it’s because it’s true.
I know it’s hard to be vulnerable, to name the ways we’ve doubted or questioned or hurled our words into the cosmos and heard the sound of nothing coming back. I’ve been there before, friends, and the only way through is through.
I want to invite you to a little community for A Curious Faith. Yes, yes, it’s just a plain old regular launch team. The same old tasks and the same old cheers. But maybe it could be a little different for you this time? Maybe, like my friendships in recent years, it could become something beautiful? A tangible means of goodness through the possibility of question?
To join (and I would love to have you!) just preorder the book and then fill out this form. You’ll get details right away about the group and then once all the spots are filled, you’ll get all the details, including a free early release copy of A Curious Faith! Make sure you keep your receipt or the number on your receipt.
Feeling tender about your big questions in a roomful of strangers? No worries. Really. You don’t have to say a word in there if you don’t want.
This group is not just a group for doubters and skeptics, because that’s not what A Curious Faith is about. It’s a book about learning to trust God with all the things we don’t know for sure.
It’s not the entire journey, it’s just the first step.
Will you join me?