I feel something different these days. I’m sitting here, having spent several hours de-cluttering my daughter’s room, and I’m looking around at my house and thinking, what can I do now? It’s not like I haven’t already been busy today, yet I can’t seem to be okay with having finished something. I can’t seem to enjoy that time between projects and so, I fear that I am never really allowing myself to recharge. Part of the problem is that lately I seem to get derailed by “projects” that never seem to bear any fruit. Relationships that go nowhere and ideas that seem to fizzle out before they gain any real momentum. It makes for some long, boring days. And it takes my focus off of the relationships that I’m supposed to value the most. One being my relationship with God.
Some would say that there is only so much time you can spend studying the Bible or reading spiritually-oriented material; but I would argue that if your focus really is supposed to be on God and living a Godly life, then there shouldn’t be a problem replacing all of your worldly entertainment for something that more closely resembles what He wants us to be absorbing from this world. But when we start to do this, the people in our lives look at us like we are growing a third eye in the middle of our forehead. What is so alarming about someone deciding to lay everything down to follow God? Why does it make others so uncomfortable? Why does it invoke such scorn from the people who claim to care about you?
In the days of martyrs such as Perpetua, people were being killed simply because they called themselves Christian. Perpetua was a woman who was still nursing a young child when she was imprisoned by the emperor of that time. Her crime; she was a Christian and she refused to say that she wasn’t. Her punishment; death in the ampitheatre. She was put in a ring with several different kinds of wild beasts and gored to death as part of the day’s entertainment. That’s kind of harsh considering her only crime was in acknowledging that she was following the teachings of the most peaceful, loving person who ever walked the face of the earth. She hadn’t killed anyone, she hadn’t stolen from anyone, she hadn’t done anything wrong other than express her belief in something that threatened the livelihood of those in power.
Being a Christian, taking it seriously, and acknowledging it to others calls into question the beliefs that others hold. Even if it isn’t your intention, the person on the receiving end of your testimony may be offended by your steadfastness or your excitement over having accepted Jesus as your Savior. Instead of winning them over to Christianity, your enthusiasm may just drive a wedge between the two of you. Knowing this, we sometimes attempt to tone down our joy or act like it’s just some little part of our lives that we can pick up and put back on when no one else is around to take offense to it. So the challenge lies in whether or not we are willing to make our relationship with God as obvious as say, our skin color. Are we willing to embody the relationship with Christ in the same way we wear our own skin? Or is it something we have to put on and take off depending upon our audience?
On day four of my journey, I’m preoccupied with the need to keep God in the forefront of everything that I do. It has to be a deliberate action right now, but I’m hoping that one day it will come as naturally to me as breathing and that there will be no question in my mind as to whether or not it is “safe” to do so. While I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a Christian, I’m sometimes plagued by the knowledge that some who knew me before simply won’t believe that I am or that I am serious about it. I’m sure it’s hard for some to believe. For now, the objective is to move past my ideas of whether or not I’m a “good enough” Christian. I need to constantly remind myself that my faith in God isn’t dictated by what others are willing to believe of me. And when I’ve got that down, I need to remind myself that what others believe me to be doesn’t dictate who God made me to be. This is true even of those who see me as a good Christian. Only God knows what He intends for me and that won’t be changed by anyone’s opinion or assessment; good or bad. This is what I’ve been thinking about today. With God’s help, I’ll have more thoughts tomorrow.