Dear Wild Child,
The world (and the Church) has never quite known what to do with you. Not quite fitting in the box, and not quite wanting to. The crazy one who fell in love with a wild, crazy, dangerous God. The one who so often feels silenced, invisible, because when you speak you’re told to be quiet. A still small voice calls you way out beyond where the waves break, and the world calls you crazy for it. You, the wild one, and who prefers a wild, raging ocean that sweeps you off your feet to a smooth sea where the swimming is safe. You live life climbing mountains, chasing adventures with God as your guide. You live whole heartedly, not taking the easy road, and because of that your mountains and valleys feel so much higher and lower than the others’. You, the one who can’t stay still, give in, or let go of your calling; it’s too much a part of you, as is the God who gave you it.
Wild one, I see you. You’re not invisible. You’re not forgotten. You’re not better off staying silent. Too often the only options we see are to shut you in, shut you out, or shut you up but just because that’s the way it is, doesn’t make it right. We need to hear you, and if the Church is a little scared at first, that’s okay. Find your people, the ones who cheer you on, instead of predicting that you’ll fail. I promise they’re out there, and God will lead you to them eventually; it just might take some searching. You are not bound to be silenced wherever you go. Give grace, but don’t settle for less than what God is calling you to. If that makes the Church a bit (or a lot) uncomfortable, that’s okay. It’s not your job to keep them comfortable, but to live courageous.
I know you see them, the ones who aren’t happy to just sit in the pews on Sunday mornings and then go home. They want to start new ministries, not join old ones, and so often it’s easier to place labels on them or to say “We don’t have a place for you here,” than to support them in their callings. It’s certainly easier than facing the fact that although they make you uncomfortable, they don’t make God uncomfortable, and maybe the fact that you’re so uncomfortable with them, and the callings He’s given them, means it’s your heart that needs to change, not them. Chances are, God hasn’t put you into their lives to try to crush the life out of them and keep them quiet. The fact that you’re uncomfortable doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a hold of their hearts, doesn’t mean He’s not calling them, doesn’t make them bad, and maybe, if your biggest fear is being uncomfortable, something needs to change, and it’s not them.
Church, like it or not, you do have a place for them, but it’s a place that’s left empty when you decide to either kick them down or kick them out. I promise they’re not trying to start anarchy; they just do things a little differently sometimes. Church, I know they’re not perfect and their mistakes often seem huge. Frankly, most people aren’t trying hard enough in the first place to mess things up too badly, and, well, these ones aren’t having that particular problem. If you watch them fail while having the ability to help though, that’s on you, and their failures are not the cue for you to walk out and give up on them. Church, what if we stand behind them instead of rooting for them to fail?
Church, your God is the same as theirs; the God of the still, quiet waters is also God of the raging ocean. It’s not one or the other, but all of us, together and maybe, in them, you can see a side of God that you’d never seen before. Maybe the fact that your walk with God looks like a quiet, stable sea while theirs looks like a raging ocean, going (seemingly on a whim) to wherever God calls, doesn’t make you a better Christian than them.
Church, I know you see them, the ones who ask to be sent out, but you’d prefer they’d be less outspoken first. Church, they’re not worth less because they don’t fit into human boxes, because they can’t stay in the pews. God has their hearts too, and it’s not your job to try to crush their enthusiasm into common sense; that so often comes later. Yes, they’re wild, and yes, they’re not what you’d expect (or want) them to look like, but whether or not you like it, they are there, they will make a difference, and you do have a place for them. After all, this is the Body of Christ we’re talking about, and if you’d prefer these ones not be a part of it, then that’s something to take up with Him, not try to deal with yourself by cutting these wild ones off. Church, it’s not your job to try to break them into what you think they should look like, what you think they’re calling should be; chances are, you’ll end up breaking their hearts in the process. You have the choice to put them down, or to stand behind them. Church, treasure your wild ones.