What is your life teaching the world?

“I wondered if there were other restless people asking the question with me: What if Jesus meant the stuff he said.”
Shane Claiborne

 

I would say one of the largest problems with the world today is that we don’t actually mean what we say. One look at the divorce rate and you’ll soon begin doubting if wedding vows are even necessary. One would think that by now we would have someone at every wedding, shouting “Do you really mean what you are saying? Do you really mean for better or for worse?” A simple ‘I love you’ can no longer tread heavy waters, because too many relationships crumble so quickly. Too many are ready to say what really matters. Not enough are ready to do what really matters. I say all of that, because I am just as guilty. I may have never experienced divorce. I may have never stood before hundreds and committed to something, only to break my promise a few years later. But I have committed my life, or so I say I have. I have committed my heart, or so I think I have. I do not write this to pine after your already guilt-ridden heart. I say this to bring to light what I myself feel personally burdened about.

What is your life telling others about Jesus?

If you have grown up with any sort of church background, you have probably heard that question asked countless times.

People are watching. People are also judging, but that’s beside the point. They’re watching you. As if we don’t already have a huge responsibility in being the only light some people see, we are also a light to those who have grown up knowing that truth, or have decided recently that this Light is worth following. Granted, each and every person is responsible for their own actions and decisions there is still a very domineering issue at hand.

Following Jesus is not such a mind-blowing, life-changing and altering experience anymore.
We are communicating to the world that following Jesus is done when and how we say we are doing it.

Following Jesus is buying the T-shirt to feed the hungry child in Africa.
Following Jesus is meeting up for Bible study and just listening to what people have to say.
Following Jesus is living life, going to work, coming home, watching TV and going to bed, only to repeat the same cycle tomorrow.
Don’t get me wrong, that last sentence is unavoidable for the most part.
The other examples are incredible ways to impact the lives of others.

The reason my heart feels heavy is that we are completely content with JUST that. I’m not in any way saying that we need to be in the midst of war, screaming the Scriptures into the barrel of a gun for Jesus. I’m not saying we need to sell all of our possessions and live in the slums. I’m not saying we can’t drink Starbucks and enjoy a vacation on the beach. I’m not saying we can’t eat out and stuff our face during the holidays. I’m not saying we have to boycott all Christmas traditions, the Kranks already tried that once.

I’m asking… Why are we content with doing so little? Why are we content with calling Him, Lord, but not striving daily, moment by moment, to bring glory to His name? I lay awake at night, asking myself what I did that day that pushed me closer to Christ… and sometimes, I can barely even muster enough courage to THINK about the fact that I did not pray once, as if my Savior does not already fully know every detail of my life.

Why are we content? Why do fall prey to this idea that we deserve a life of comfort and leisure? Why are we satisfied with the mundane life?

Following Jesus is more than doing the great things. It’s more than showing up to church and Bible study. It’s more than your quiet time in the morning. It’s more than telling someone you will pray for them. It’s more than saying “in God we trust” when proudly talking about the country you live in. Following Jesus does not have a prerequisite of going on a mission trip or spending a summer in a less fortunate country.

I’m tired of being a part of this ‘bored’ Christianity.

I mean, seriously, we are in our race toward eternity, and based on the amount of deaths I have experienced within the last year alone… it is coming faster than I want to admit.

Following Jesus is letting your life reflect that nothing else matters. Following Jesus is saying “yes” to ‘for better or for worse’ even when you have no idea what your future entails. Following Jesus is being kind to the family member that makes your heart twist and turn in bitterness and anger. Following Jesus is not letting your actions and words control your life. Following Jesus is getting over the idea that you need to go save an entire country from slavery to somehow redeem your worth in Him. You don’t need a “Dr.” in front of your name to be a follower of Christ. You don’t need to be a teacher to teach the world what it means to truly follow Jesus. You need to be willing.

We could learn a thing or two from Katniss and her volunteering.

I’m tired of the gimmicks. I’m tired of the religious reasoning that people try to convince you of. I’m tired of people leaving their families, churches, friendships, organizations, and lives because it does not fit their picture of “ideal” in this life. I’m tired of people choosing a life of negativity, even though they claim to live for the most positive Being I could ever dream or think of.

Where are the people not afraid to be “too” different, “too” loud, “too passionate” or “too” obnoxious about what they love? The way I see it, when you love something, to the point where you give your life for everything it is, you don’t know what ELSE to do besides talk about, act for it, and live because of it.

Who’s going to take the stand to walk on the ground Jesus did?

Who’s not afraid?

Are you the one doing the head check to see who is looking before you raise your hand? Or are you the one shooting your hand up in the air, begging to be picked?

As Francis Chan once said, “isn’t it a little bit of a privilege to be following the God of the universe?”

What is your life teaching those around you?

 

 

(This is a blog I wrote for http://www.reachcommunity.net/blog/ – Check us out!)

“But I feel so alone.”

“We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love” // Mother Teresa.

Words have a way of speaking truth into our hearts. Words also have a way of ripping every shred of hope from our limbs. Words matter. Words speak volumes. This isn’t a word to encourage your heart. This is an open letter I am writing to myself.

I’m not writing this as a writer. I’m writing this as a needy heart. May it breath life into your soul, as the cold, brisk air of pre-winter days fill my lungs each and every morning.

Here it goes…

I believed that it would be easier. I honestly did. I believed I wouldn’t feel this way. I convinced myself with every fiber of my being, that when I chose this path, I wouldn’t feel lonely. I believed the world and the people in it would speak reminders of love to me. Yet some nights, I’ve convinced myself that the world has forgotten me. Who was I to think I was someone to remember?

We shy away from saying what our heart really feels. Often times, that is the only way we will overcome what we are feeling.

People don’t ask “How are you doing?” anymore, fully awaiting the pouring out of someone’s heart. People don’t strive to understand. People don’t strive to ask or even remind.

We live in a world consumed with the idol of being well known, yet wear masks, never knowing what people are hiding. Hiding, only waiting for someone, anyone, to ask.

The nights will come where you will feel alone. They will come in like a storm, and drench you with an anguish you never knew existed. They won’t always linger, but often times, they’ll overstay their welcome. You won’t be able to describe them. You won’t be able to understand their purpose or even their birth in your heart.

You’re going to feel alone. Perhaps, in every worldly aspect, you will be.

But the beauty of loneliness in this world is that God doesn’t adjust His power according to your needy heart. He remains the same. He doesn’t change or walk away or refuse to forgive and love. He’s there and He’s beckoning you to realize you’re loneliness is a human infested emotion.

He didn’t create you for loneliness.

People will make you feel alone. Circumstances will convince you that you are indeed, without. Life will hand you trial after heartbreak, and everything in between.

I may feel alone, but it’s nothing more than a feeling. My Savior is beside me.
People may forget me, but they’re just people. I don’t have to be people.

You know what lonely feels like. You’ve all felt it. Instead of allowing it to create a tangled web of heartache and misery, call it out for the demon that it is and refuse to play victim to it.

When people forget, don’t be people. Remember. Go out of your way.
When people don’t ask, don’t be people. Ask. Go out of your way.
When people don’t care, don’t be people. Care. Go out of your way.
When people don’t love, don’t be people. Love. Go out of your way.

Refuse to let anything consume you to the point where you become just like the world in all the confusion and chaos it creates.

You were made for this: to love, to share, to remind, to give, to care, to praise, to encourage – all for one reason and one reason alone: Jesus.

Love never takes the first step and then refuses to continue until something is given back to it.

It gives. Even when it’s ignored, even when it’s mocked, even when it’s forgotten, even when it’s left alone.

Because when love is left alone… what’s left?

Jesus.