A Radical Hears Her Name | By Devon Kravet

As a young seventeen-year-old, I was enthralled by the adventure of following Jesus. I just avoided the surrender part.

I was a messy child looking for love and affirmation in your typical dark places. However, one day, I had enough of the dark, and I met the God who promised to hold me close and heal me if I would surrender my life to Him. I laid it all down that day and began walking, hand in hand, into adventure with my Perfect Leader. I was told my adventure would be wild - wild because God was redeeming my mess to make me a world changer, a catalyst, and a pioneer. Or maybe it was just my personality.

For ten years, I lived up to that in church ministry and, recently, full-time missions. After a while, I discovered I had hard questions and buckets of unattended pain.

I would stop to rest along the way, yank on my Father’s coat, to ask a question or two, only to hear, “Just keep choosing Me. I’ve got you, no need to worry.”

This answer would go on to confuse me for many years.

Over time, I finally gathered the strength to dig my heels into the ground and raise my voice, “Dad, we need to talk.”

Only I was not met with the face of the Father, but the proud face of radical faith.

This could be the story of how I let ministry become an idol, but I have learned that is just not it. My story is of how I have escaped the abusive standards of radicalism.

“You have heard it was said…” Matthew 5:21 (ESV)

I remember my counselor saying in our first session as soon as I returned from my time on the mission field this past April, “You are attracted to radical places, and it seems like most have abused you.”

Of course! To be radical is to have made it in the Kingdom. From church to church and ministry to ministry, I found that revival to most was unhindered obedience, faith until the end, and righteousness - just as I heard it was said.

To hold to this obedience and faith, one only had to perform supernaturally organized works for God. One had to denounce humanness to strive for holiness, and stay in order until Jesus comes back. The narrow way was always growing narrower. I found myself stumbling on the path with my dear Adventurer many times on our journey.

And when I raised my head from the plow with pain, I was shown not the God of love and grace. Love was radical devotion, not a cup of cold water (Matthew 10:42). Grace was measured on leadership’s standards of singular texts of Scripture and not the full picture of the Living Word. God was on the move, and that meant I had to shape up and keep going, or else I would miss out on the call. I thought my obedience would build me into a mighty woman of faith. Instead, I uncovered a whittled down woman with great shame.

Shame that I could never measure up to that world changer.

Shame for having hard questions.

Shame for wanting space to care for my mental health.

Shame that by finding myself in a ditch, burnt out, suicidal and at the end of my rope, meant that I was not choosing Jesus and was letting the enemy win.

Beloved, the call is not to ministry; it is your name.

Devon, I call you by name (Isaiah 43:1 ESV).

Return, return so that we may look upon you (Song of Songs 6:13 ESV).

From the moment our God led us out of the garden so that we would not eat “from the tree of life and eat and live forever (Genesis 3:22 {ESV})” with the knowledge of good and evil, He has never stopped calling our names.

We will enter eternity and His warm, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” will not be because we slammed as many good works into our one vapor of a life as we could. The faithfulness He will speak of will be faithfulness to His call of our names. That is grace.

Today, I grieve for the woman that was lost in confusion all these years. While bitterness and grief come and go, they do not linger because I hear my name! Fear comes and goes of gossip or thoughts of what people think I should be doing. But then I hear my name.

I do not have it all figured out, but I do have this: ministry is not the enemy; it is the grand commission of the saints and beloved of God.

Healing and rest are your inheritance, and no one should ever tell you otherwise for the sake of the commission. You may feel like you have failed; you have not. You may think that you’ll never reach the standard of radical relationship with God. There is no such thing. The standard is love, and that is not something to be reached, but to simply be. No works attached.

To the church and the radicals, enough is enough. Beloved, we must do better. We must heal so that we can lead others to it. We must remember the full message of God and not feed people bits of the text to bring forth obedience and holiness. We must feed people the finished work of Jesus. We must remember their names and not get in the way of how Jesus is calling them. We must carry a sound mind and sound doctrine. We must eliminate shame culture, and we must leave room for the Bride to breathe.

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture.” John 10:9 (NIV)

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