I’m not a naturally bubbly person. I’m not a social butterfly. I’m not often mistaken for an extrovert…like never. I sometimes have a hard time getting along with people, especially people my own age. I don’t really like social functions or parties. I really despise fooling around when it’s time to be serious. I dont see the point of superfluous relationships. I really don’t like disrespectfulness. I hate it when people are always late and don’t show respect for people’s time and resources. I really don’t like bad attitudes and complaining without solutions to the problem at hand. I despise a version of Christianity that is up and down without any commitment to push forward and push beyond the struggle. I will often come away from social functions frustrated with thoughts like, “Why don’t I seem to function on the same wave length as the rest of these people?” Why am I always disagreeing with their point of view?” “Why do I not think that holding hands and singing Kumbaya and talking all about love will solve our problems?” “I guess I just hate people.” I then become frustrated because I know that that’s not how a Christian should feel and really at my core, that’s not my heart. I finally discovered what it actually is that I hate, and thank goodness it isn’t just people. In that discovery, I also discovered what I love.
I believe that God has given us a standard to live by. We find that standard in His Word. In many places God outlines for us what righteous living looks like, these two verses are just a couple that come to mind right away and are really only a glimpse of things that we should shoot for when it comes to following God.
God has shown us as His followers what it takes to know Him and how we can know Him. He wants us to know Him. (I believe that this standard is different than the law. This standard doesn’t offer salvation, but this standard just shows us how to live in a way that pleases God and helps us to have a right relationship with Him after we have accepted His free gift of salvation.) I have a heart to help ladies tap into that. I want them to be able to experience a version of Christianity that is more than just ‘feel good Sunday stuff’ or ‘help me when I’m hurting’ stuff. I want them to know that life change that can occur when you follow Jesus. I don’t do it perfectly. I mess up all the time when it comes to seeking God and getting to know Him personally. But there have been times in my life when a godly woman has stepped a long side of me and helped me and encouraged me to seek God. I have seen God do things in my life that I only thought He did in other people simply because I chose to seek Him. I have never been disappointed in that choice.
I know what God will and can do when you turn to Him and decide that His way is the best way. I want that for my friends! I want them to be able to experience the peace and joy and victory that is found in Christ. I just get so frustrated when I see them go around in circles time after time not being able to understand why they only experience (pseudo) joy when they are in a Bible study or at a conference. I get frustrated when they know the right thing to do and when they know what it’s going to take, but are looking for the “get spiritual quick” plan that just doesn’t exist.
Spiritual pretending bothers me a lot. I’ve been guilty of it myself. But I absolutely can’t stand it. It’s flat out lying to yourself and others. It’s not helping anyone. Not God. Not yourself. And it’s wasting the time of those who may be trying to help you.
I’ve been told that that sounds harsh, “Stop wasting my time.” And I guess that does sound really harsh, and probably does need some clarifying. Here’s what I mean by that: If you aren’t a brand new Christian and you’ve heard what it takes to love God and seek Him, but you are content to just sit in your chair and not do anything about the messages you hear, don’t read your Bible on your own, you hang out with the wrong people, chase love, infatuation, popularity, attention, addiction, and float from spiritual high to spiritual high always wondering why you can’t have lasting joy and can’t seem to make anything thing stick please, just be honest with yourself. You aren’t doing anyone any good by faking your way through the Christian life. Sure you may be on your way to heaven, but Christ came so that we could have life, but not just any life, abundant life (The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John10:10) There is not magic number of community service hours in church or small group that you spend to achieve that abundant life. God wants that for us. But it won’t just happen unless you decide in your heart of hearts that you are going to seek God. You have to decide that you are going to seek God when it makes you uncomfortable, when it makes you more tired because you have to wake up earlier, and when all of your friends think you’re crazy. You have to choose to seek God on your own, for real.
What is so cool about God’s standard for us to follow is that He knows that we aren’t going to seek God perfectly. He knows that we are definitely going to really screw things up. That’s why there’s grace. God’s grace is there to say, “Ya know, My standard is your goal, and you messed up this time, but that’s ok. My Son died for that mess up. So try again. Don’t quit. Keep reaching for that goal!” That’s also why godly community is important. It’s important to surround yourself with godly influences who are on the same track as you are. Not others who are content with the pseudo joy, and the fake peace, but those who are in it for real and want to seek God for who He is. When you surround yourself with those people, they are there to pray for you when you’re struggling. Your community is there to support you and to encourage you and to disciple you and to remind you Who it is that you’re seeking after and how much He longs to know you and for you to know Him right back.
So no, I don’t hate people. I actually love people…kinda 😉 But what I do hate is pseudo joy, and fake Christianity, and people whom I love, missing out on what God has for them simply because they won’t get honest with themselves and with God. I believe in setting that standard and reaching for that prize. I believe that God’s grace is there for me when I mess up and don’t reach my goal and I believe in surrounding myself with people who want to know God intimately and actively seek Him daily and who are even a little bit ahead of me on that journey.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16