Preach it George!
What? I’m the only one who breaks into song when almost every word ever reminds me of one? Especially one from the man who also begged us to “wake him up before we go-go.” No? Ok, moving on.
Once upon a time, there was a girl in her early 20s, we’ll call her… crap, nothing rhymes with Alex. It was me, ok?
Anyway, “she” was living her life doing that thing that Christians do, where they live how they want and then feel like bad Christians and then they remember that they go to church, have quiet time more often than not, try to avoid cussing, and watch what they spend their time doing and then feel better about themselves. This is of course until God used Jen Hatmaker and her book “7” and a few other methods to screw everything up for her. THE WORST. (That was only semi-sarcastic, you should still be afraid of standing next to me because lightning.)
Enter a very overwhelmed child of God with her newly found give-a-crap, straddling the fence between wanting things the way they were and marching forward now that I’m becoming more “in the know.” Part of me (the part with crazy eyes) wants to take one of GOB’s “forget-me-nows” from Arrested Development to empty my brain of all of the scary knowledge of the real world behind the curtain of the western church. The other part, the goody-two-shoes of my brain, knows that this is scary and raw and painful and sad, but is saying BRING IT.
Fun game: spot the pop-culture reference. I physically cannot write without one, apparently. There have been several so far.
So this is where I am RIGHT NOW. I’m not past this or on the other side of “figuring it out” or something. KNEE DEEP. It sucks. It’s no fun to see the world through a lens of greed, hostility, and pride. It’s hard to not be able to buy anything without thinking about tightening the binds of forced and unethical labor, or who and what I’m supporting with my dollars for that matter. Guess how much fun it is to become disgusted by habits and practices that CURRENTLY DESCRIBE YOUR LIFE. Not. That’s how much.
Ugh, Change is hard! And yes, I realize this is quickly becoming my mantra. But it is!
One thing I know for certain, and I’m totally stealing this from an awesome writer:
Jesus needs new PR.
There is a reason that Christians leave a bad taste in people’s mouths and a lot of other religions don’t. Christians are awful a ton of the time. I’m sorry but it’s true. Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said to love our neighbors, forgive as we have been forgiven, and not to judge. Did we seriously think that those things were just entries in some sort of churchy suggestion box? This crap is on us, people. Start focussing more on damage control and less on being a hater.
Also, when Jesus said it would be hard for rich people to get to Heaven, sorry but He meant us. We may not feel rich by North American standards, but we SO ARE compared to the rest of the world. When we’re comfortable, we depend little to none on God for stuff like food and shelter and life. We get stuck in the “fill yourself up” phase and then stop, not going and making disciples of all the nations and sharing our GREAT GIFT and caring for the poor and widows and children and ALL THE THINGS.
Believe me when I say that this is where I am. I’m stuck.
It’s no fun and it feels like a swarm of emotions and things I need to be doing differently and I don’t really know where to go from here. But here are a few more things that I do know:
I am called to love people. Not only that, but I am called to love them AS MYSELF. That’s not just like a cute little thing Jesus said that one time. It is for reals, and trust me people, I love myself A LOT. It’s gotta be one-for-one. AS YOURSELF.
Another thing Jesus didn’t do: put an asterisk on the word “people” and then explain that it’s only the people who look, think, and act like us. Everyone. All of them. Even the ones who have hurt us, are criminals, or side with a different political party than we do.
Lastly, I know that caring about this stuff is a decision, not a feeling. It’s hard to always be conscientious about what you buy and how well you care for God’s creation and whether or not your time spent is edifying to Jesus. It’s not something you can either “feel convicted” about or not. (Gotta love Christianese)
These things aren’t really up for debate.
Giving of what God has given us? Puting other’s needs ahead of our own always? Treating ALL of God’s children with love and respect?
Not “feeling” issues. Not up for debate.
It takes effort and thought to live the way God created us to. It’s so incredibly overwhelming. We live in a world where we are abundantly blessed. Even on our worst days. BLESSED. We have to decide to live the way Jesus wants us to and die to our own wills and plans and desires.
I’m done ignoring all of this stuff. The faith I thought I knew is broken forever, and I have to spend my entire life enacting God’s purpose for it. It’ll take a lot of prayer, research, and sacrifice, but what other choice do I have? To squander my life on things that will pass soooo quickly? No. NO. I have never felt more alive than I do right now. In the midst of the brokenness and confusion, I finally feel like I’m not wasting time and energy just living the way Alex wants to.
I for sure don’t have it figured out and never will. I will never be perfect at this stuff. I will literally die trying, but it’s worth it.
I’m so happy I’ve been broken, and I’m glad the faith I knew is ruined!
How has God broken your faith? And what did He use to do it?
PS: Stay turned for an in-depth look at my “7 Experiment” for further news on how my faith was ruined!