This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Offering my opinion

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Psalm 37:3-5, NRSV

I am so tired of trying to figure out who I am supposed to be and where I am supposed to be this person. I don’t want to be political. I don’t want to be religious. But I also don’t know what I do want to be.

Am I a theologian? Who knows?

Am I a disciple? I am trying desperately to be one.

But I don’t know who or what I am reaching out to in a world that is crazy and getting more so all the time. When did chaos become the normal order of the day?

We as a country, as a people and as communities have become so opinionated and divided. When did opinions become rights? Do I really have the right to voice my opinion on the serious matters of the day if I haven’t taken the time to research and educate myself on the matter at hand? I mean, really truly study and know the ins and outs of whatever it is that I am about to make an opinion on. Googling and following social media does not count as a valid source of education.

Opinions are not rights. They are educated, intellectually-thought-through pieces of information that should only be offered if I am prepared to have others with differing opinions question or challenge my opinions. It is also expected that others will have different thoughts and perspectives from mine. That is perfectly OK.

It doesn’t make them stupid.

It doesn’t make me stupid.

It makes us challenge each other. It pushes us to be more. It helps us to continue to be motivated to seek wisdom. It challenges me to be the best me that I can be.

It makes me a lifelong seeker and learner.

Funny, because that could be the very first required task listed on the Job Expectations and Requirements for the job of Disciple.

Why are we so afraid to engage with each other in debates? What has happened to agreeing to disagree? Human lives are messy. There is no way we can ever all agree on everything exactly. What a dull grey world it would be!

God has made each of us uniquely different. And he has also made us each uniquely gifted. We are meant to go out and color the world around us with grace and mercy painting fresh ideas of what truly matters.

Teaching what true salvation is.

We don’t always have to agree on everything. I can still love without being in total agreement and perfect harmony on thoughts and important issues of the day with my fellow mankind. We are only here for a short time.

Let us try to make the world around us, a world filled with darkness, a brighter place to live. Shine the lights of grace, justice and humility everywhere that you go. At the end of the day it is eternity that is what matters.

I want to walk as a faithful woman of God.

As such, I must live in community with others because that is how God has made us. We are created to live in community with each other. Every man for himself is a human idea of strength. Survival of the fittest has been one of the fastest-paved roads to hell right along with good intentions.

We each have a place to fill in the kingdom of God here on earth. We must learn to appreciate each other’s gifts and be encouraging to those around us as we each learn to use the gifts given to us.

Don’t step on or belittle my gifts. Let me grow into being the full woman God has created me to be. Help me to spread my wings and explore the different ways I can serve and uplift and bring along others on the journey with us.

Affirm me when I possibly get it right, and encourage me to keep searching and seeking when I get it wrong.

Don’t discount the lessons I have learned along the journey so far. And help me to find rest because we all need Sabbath time. Remind me that my worth isn’t in what I do but whom I belong to.

Pray for me and pray with me and let me pray for you. I am a wife and a mother; I am an employee and a manager; I am a worship leader and a teacher; I am a sinner and a child of God most high.

I am a seeker and a disciple.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34 – NIV

Shannon Martin is an active member of Midway Mennonite Church in Columbiana, Ohio, and a Fellow with The C.S. Lewis Institute of Northeast Ohio Fellows Program. She writes at Wisdom Wanderings, where this post first appeared.

Sign up to our newsletter for important updates and news!