This Is Where I Sit

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Nichole Forbes -Where I Sit3

I grew up in a church culture full of absolutes—the whole world was black and white, light and dark, us and them. We were taught, with darkness pushing in all around us, we needed to take a stand. Take a stand for Christ. Stand for what is right. Stand as the light in the dark world. Stand against. Against. Against.

The firmer our stand the more Jesus-y we were.

As I’ve matured (aka aged), I’ve come to question this idea of taking a stand. I’ve spent time pondering what really happens when we stand? What message are we communicating, simply by taking this posture? How Christ-like are we really when we’re standing?

When you stand you draw attention to ourself. You declare what you are about (and not about) in the world. You pick a side. You link arms with your like-minded allies. You assert your strength. You declare your righteousness. You face toward your banner, your cause. But as you turn towards your chosen side, who are you turning your back to? When you stand with your people, who are you excluding? When you militantly raise your banner, who are you fighting?

When did Jesus stand? When I look to the Gospel, I see Jesus kneeling to comfort the sick, sitting to hear the story behind the sin, walking beside those on a journey. I see him more concerned about being engaged with the people than with righteously declaring his stand. It was by his life and his love that people understood his character and values—not by othering or taking a holy stand. Jesus was uncompromising in his truth while still opening his heart to relating with every person who crossed his path. So why do we think we must stand so militantly?

It seems to me that when we make these grand declarations and stand so firm in our unwavering opinions, we set ourselves up to fight the very people Jesus calls us to love. Just as he loves us. Our posture causes us to turn our backs on the ones who need to see our face the most, because our face is meant to reflect His face. Our hearts are meant to mirror His.

So, I will not stand with you. Or against you. But I will invite you to sit with me and I will accept your invitation to sit together. 

I will not march in your parade or fly your flag. I will not pick up your banner. I will not bang my drum for your cause. But I will sit here, with you, in this moment, and get to know you. And I will allow you to know me. I will hear your heart, your history, your hopes. I will open my heart to hear you and really see you. I will step into relationship with you.

I have profound convictions and a deep-rooted faith. There are absolutes in my personal faith, but you do not need to share those absolutes in order to share in friendship with me. You don’t. And I hope you feel the same about me. I hope we can come together and build community based on our mutual respect and affection. I hope that when we link our arms we form a safety net for lost souls rather than a wall of separation.

Jesus was, and is, all about the abundant life. There was always room for more with him. The more who came to sit with him, the more room there was for more. There was no cut-off point for who was included with Jesus. No willing heart was ever turned away. There was always, always room to sit. There was always room to know and be known–just as you are.

I believe that’s the gold ticket. That’s the key to the Kingdom. It’s in the knowing of the person. It’s in the laying down our arms, our banners, our preconceived ideas and sitting with each other. It’s in exhaling, relaxing and leaning in. It’s in sitting. It’s in listening and really hearing. It’s in knowing and being known.

I still have my beliefs, the things I know to be true in my gut. But those are mine. We don’t have to think the same to sit here. We don’t have to live the same life, share the same faith or agree on the same theology to be in relationship with each other. We just have to be willing.

So, here I am. Willing. Open. Ready.
Sitting.

Will you sit with me?

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Nichole Forbes
Nichole is just a regular gal loved by an extraordinary God. She believes in community, justice and freedom. She tries to live brave everyday and to say the kind words that need to be heard. She raises her three Not-So-Wee-Ones in the middle of the Canadian prairies with her favorite person ever, her husband, Brad. On an average day you can find her running errands in her really rad mini-van while sipping coffee and rocking out to The BeeGees. She blogs and is the author of Finding Me in Him: One Woman’s Journey to Discovering Her Identity in Christ.
Nichole Forbes
Nichole Forbes

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Nichole Forbes
somerandommother http://somerandommother.blogspot.ca
  • Beautifully said! Usually the standing is ego-driven, to assert oneself. Sitting levels the field, as it were… After a stroke, I cannot stand for long, so I conduct services sitting, and always invite others to do the same – to sit as equals in the presence of God.

    • Claire, just this brief post from you inspires me — that you continue to minister to others after such a huge life-change. Thank you for persevering in your calling.

      • Thank you Michele, it’s been a long 10-year absence but I’m back in the saddle (where I can at least sit 🙂 ). I confess I was rather overwhelmed in the first services (I never imagined I’d get to this place again), but it’s getting easier each time (with the encouragement of the congregation willing me on) Where do you blog? Here’s mine http://nestofmist.blogspot.co.uk/ Lovely to ‘meet’ you 🙂

        • And thank you again, Michele, for dropping by my blog and leaving a lovely comment, it means a lot <3
          Today's journal prompt is 'Blessing', and I am indeed richly blessed!

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      I honour you for continuing to minister to others even while you are healing. Authentic nurturing flows from a willingness to connect and it’s evident from your comments that your heart is for community. ❤️

      • I just had to reply Nicole, to say thank you for your lovely, lovely comment! And you use the word ‘authentic’ – I’m actually leading a month-long art-journalling online ‘thing’ on my blog called Authentic August 🙂 http://nestofmist.blogspot.co.uk/p/authentic-august.html
        Anyone can join in, and already the blessings are flowing… and today’s word just so happens to be ‘Blessing’! Lovely to ‘meet’ you here x

  • Thanks for this portrayal of Jesus — sitting with and listening to the willing heart. I miss hearts sometimes in my rush of words and activity.

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      I think we all do sometimes Michele … my own words are a reminder to myself to remain available 💙

  • Nichole, this is incredible…. “When you stand with your people, who are you excluding? When you militantly raise your banner, who are you fighting?” Yes, let us sit together! You living your journey, me living mine, but still coming together to learn and grow. Truly an image of the kingdom.

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      Thank you, Annie ❤️

  • Sandy Hay

    “When you stand with your people, who are you excluding? ” Oh boy do I see this and it’s been bothering me so much the past few months. As I’ve matured (aged;) I see my world expanding and for some reason at the same time my world is closing. It’s almost a catch 22 within the church world…sadly. Thank you xoxo

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      When you continue to respond with love your actions will overshadow all else. You are such a nurturer, Sandy! You’re very presence is an invitation to lean in and be cared for ❤️ Keep loving well❤️

  • Sue Hay

    Just wow! So insightful, humble and beautiful.

    • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

      Thank you, Sue 🙂

  • You and I grew up in similar church backgrounds, especially that language of standing up for Jesus. And I am so glad, I’ve seen a better way. I have friends of rich diversity who I do not see eye to eye with, but am so grateful I have the chance to love. And it seems some Christians are creating greater and greater divides and it breaks my heart. On a very practical level how will those “sinners” ever see Jesus, if you as his representative deem them unworthy of friendship?

  • Tracy Nelson

    NICOLE!! fantastic. Thank you for this- am re-posting on my page, because I have some friends who are far too militant and not so open …. I wish I could sit with them and just BE. Perhaps they will hear your words. I love the comparison to Jesus, and how He was unwavering in truth and love, yet really engaged all types of people … may we too be people who truly hear and see others – with compassion, and truth in love.