More thoughts about being real
I was in Kroger one day recently and this random guy came up to me and asked if I was Jimmy Cochran, the guy who writes in the newspaper. Fearing the worst, I acknowledged that I am, and he grabbed my shoulder and told me, “Thank you. Thank you for writing the things you do. They touch me and let me know I’m not the only one. Thank you for being so real.”
Today, that statement is still in my head. “Thank you for being so real.” Six words. Common, ordinary, everyday words. Yet, when strung together they have given me lots of pondering time.
Am I real? What does that really mean? So many times I consider myself fairly stupid for being so transparent in my writing and speaking about my journeys with God and with His Church. There are those who have seen my words as giving doubt to my belief in God, which is totally false and I hope that I never portrayed that feeling. I have (at times) doubted the traditional church, but not the Church itself. I have had doubts about the structure and bureaucracy of the church, but not the work and ministry of the Church.
I have been asked by a church in past years to remove some of my thoughts from a public social media forum, even though I did not write about specific churches, people or events. Just in general thoughts about events that affected me. Yet, I was asked to remove my reality. Perhaps the fact that I feel the calling to be transparent about my walk is what has bothered some people.
The whole purpose I started blogging back in 2004 and have written books in the “Being God’s” series is because I feel led to let others know that they don’t struggle alone. I have gone through tough times, yet God has always been faithful to me and people have been encouraged to know that they are not feeling anything unusual or wrong in their spiritual life. God Is Always Faithful. The mountaintops will eventually lead to a period in the valleys, yet we learn AND we learn to come back up the hill. We learn that God is with us in the down times and we lean on Him to stay with us during the struggles.
Maybe if more church leaders were open and honest there would not be those falling away from the church. I know a lot of pastors who are extremely transparent with their congregations and community, while at the same time are encouraging and helpful to those who encounter similar experiences. But, there are some who portray a life of “milk and honey” with God and we get the feelings that our struggle is a result of some sin or falling away. This has been said to me and to others and can prove devastating to one’s spiritual life.
As I continue to ponder this guy’s comments to me, I figure that being “real” has given me many opportunities to speak and share to those who need a message of hope. And, maybe being “real” is my calling. And in my way of thinking, that isn’t a bad thing. So, I continue to write, and speak, and pray and encourage folks as I go my merry way. God is Great. All the Time. Even when life doesn’t feel so great.
And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy. The supposed “real” one. But, ultimately, I’m just being God’s.
Jimmy Cochran is a resident of McDonough, a musician, a minister and the author of “Being God’s” and “Staying God’s,” both available at Amazon.com.