I grew up in as a evangelical fundamentalist and if there was one thing I was sure of it was that we were right. We had the right beliefs. We had the right priorities. We were on the right path.
When I expresses a call to preach and pastor, I found myself on the outside of “being right.” It wasn’t that I was wrong, but I will say I was on an awful lot of prayer lists. I was pushing the boundaries of where women were called and pushing the boundaries of long-held interpretations of women’s place in the church and church life.
I had to give up the being right hustle in order to answer my call.
As I entered into seminary, I was wrong an awful lot, especially in Hebrew class. There was so much I didn’t know. There was so much I had never heard or read. There were entire subjects of study on biblical interpretation for generations that I didn’t even know existed. There were denominations that welcomed and affirmed women pastors and preachers and had welcomed them for generations.
When I thought I was so right and when I was so sure, there were so much I didn’t know.
As I pastored, I quickly realized I didn’t have answers for many of the questions that my congregants were asking about God and the way God was working in their lives. I didn’t have the answers for why a family member had passed away suddenly. I didn’t have the answer for why cancer had interrupted the best years of someone’s lives. I didn’t have the answers to why homes got swept away in a historic flood.
I couldn’t be right because I didn’t know what the right answer was.
I’m giving up the being right hustle.
I am learning instead to walk with people and sit with people as they journeyed through these circumstances. I am learning instead of being right to bear witness alongside them. I am learning that being right was much less important than being right there with them.