Sometimes I Wish We All Weren’t So “Christian”

This is a guest post by Wendy van Eyck

I sometimes struggle to talk to people who believe in Jesus.

Sometimes I wish my friends didn’t sound so Christian. Sometimes I wish they’d tell me how they feel instead of telling me what they think I want to hear.

I find it hard because I don’t always feel like we can have a conversation about really matters to them.

Often it feels like we are all trying to sound “Christian” rather than “human”.

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I know from experience how tempting it is to brush people off with a “Christian” sounding, “Yes, what I am going through is hard, but God sustains me.”

I learnt through holding my husband’s hand through two years of cancer treatment, that speaking words that sound “Christian” prevents people from being Jesus’ hands and feet to us.

I think when I read Matthew 5: 3-5 in the Message this really clicked for me:

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can the One dearest to you embrace you.
You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

Those don’t sound a lot like descriptions of people who have it all together. They read more like descriptions of me on my best days.

It sounds like the kind of person who would be good friends with the biblical Job, the kind of person who understands the despair David wrote of in the Psalms.

It sounds like the kind of person who would just come straight out and say, “I don’t know how I’m going to get out of the mess I’m in.”

It sounds like the kind of person who lives openly with brokenness.

It sounds like the kind of person who isn’t out to impress God, or anyone, with holiness.

It sounds like the kind of person who accepts being a Christian is more about what God does in a person than being perfect.

It sounds like the kind of person I want to be.

And I’m realizing that if I want to have the kind of conversations, with people who believe in Jesus, that go beyond “praise God” and “Amen”, I need to start giving honest answers myself. And as I live with honesty in my brokenness maybe it’ll encourage others to share what’s on their hearts.

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wendy van eyckCheck out Wendy’s blog here. She writes devotionals about finding God in ordinary moments. In an inspiring way, she also writes about her and her husband, Xylon’s journey as Xylon fought cancer.
Thanks for stopping by Wendy!

Answers | Prayer Rehab

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I Am Jonah, this blog is also, in some way, a journal of how I’m learning to follow Jesus again. Part of it is about chronicling the tension between what God wants of, in and through me.

Lately, it seems God is putting me through prayer rehab. Reclaiming an appreciation of prayer and its significance. Sometimes it is not that I or we don’t know anything. It is not that we have forgotten but we need reminders. We need renewed perspective, vision, and passion.

A renewed sense of weightiness… It seems, at least for me, God always takes me back to the “elementary” to grow me, mature me to the “next level”, whatever that is.

Back to prayer…

God answers prayer. He does. Many times I’ve been frustrated with Him because ‘He didn’t answer my prayers’. The truth: most of the times He has answered my prayers the answer has been “no”.

Like a brat nagging mom or dad because they answered my request but not with the answer I wanted… That is how my prayer life has been in many seasons of my life.

Nothing but a nag. No depth. Me-focused. Intense on what I wanted… There are times the sum of my prayer life has been me giving God marching orders. My shopping list.

There are times my prayer life is nothing more than a rant about my problems. My challenges. I must be transparent, honest with God as I connect with Him. God is not shocked by my frustrations with the answers I get from Him, sometimes.

My humanity doesn’t shock or surprise God… Those times I rant, complain, and yes, even those times I’ve scolded God for not doing what I asked. For not doing what I wanted. What I told him, no, for not doing what I ordered Him to do.

I’m being reminded that I sometimes God’s answer is, “no”. Sometimes the answer is, “not that way or in this time”. The answer has also been, “never”.

This morning (sounds like a guy on the podium on Sunday morning right, but I am actually writing this in the early morning hours)

This morning, I am being reminded that even Paul, the apostle, the missionary, had desires to go places and God squashed them. Surely, he prayed about his plans… God’s answer to his plans were sometimes contrary to what Paul wanted. This is true for me. For us and our plans… Sometimes our prayers are in our plans / planning…

Sometimes God’s answer is, “Go!” and that can also freak me out. Somehow, God has a way of answering by giving us assignments we feel are greater than us. We feel ill-prepared and perhaps don’t measure up to.

Yet, He still sends me. Sometimes God’s answers are exactly what we wanted… That’s the next post.

Today, God, I pray, give me courage to accept and make peace with all Your answers… Amen.

 

Related:

More, Deeper Than A Craft

More Than A Combination Of Twenty Six Letters

I Have ALL The Answers… [NOT]

Because I (claim to) have a relationship with God, I should have all the answers. That’s an expectation my friends who aren’t in the same faith boat as I am say. (Everybody believes in something, even if it’s nothing). I also have Christ-following friends who take it since I have followed Christ for longer I should understand God better. They feel that because of this I should also have all the answers.

The truth is I’ve been through a period where I tried to answer every question in my bid to for them to understand God and my faith. Yes, I have been that arrogant. I mean, want to answer everything about God. About why He does things the way He does.

i ahve all the answers

There are some things I have an understanding of. Also, there are a lot of things I still don’t understand. I’m that guy who claims to claims to have direct access to God so why don’t I have the answers to all of life’s challenges? Why can I not make a great case for God? How can I follow God and be such a bad rep?

I’ve followed Christ for years and I some of my Christ following friends and I still battle what some things mean. Some Christ-following communities disagree on certain things. I think there’s a special word for it: doctrine. What is taught… How it is taught… How this and that should be done…

Some have agreed to settle on agreeing on the ‘important things’… Some things do matter more than others?

On the other hand, if I completely understood God would He be God? If I could completely define and present Him wholly, to my friends would they choose to follow Him and purposes for their lives for Him?

It is difficult not having all the answers, especially when it comes to those that aren’t following Christ, like I claim to be. If you’re one of my friends reading this, I’m sorry I don’t have all the answers about God. About how life sometimes happens the way it does.

I’m sorry for misrepresenting God by fabricating His perspective. Sometimes I have told you something about how God must be or think, or why he does or did something the way he does / did. I’ve lied for the sake of wanting to give you answer. For the sake of me looking good. For the sake of making sure God wasn’t embarrassed or ridiculed.

I have questions but my belief in the God who made the entire universe, yet numbers the hairs on my head, is greater than the questions. I trust more in what I’ve come to know about Him. In how I know Him, than in the unanswered. I also know that it is His grace that connects me with a deeper purpose for my life and the lives of others.

The best I can do, from now on, is share what I know. When I don’t know I will tell you, “I don’t know”. Then, I’ll pray that the God, who can reveal Himself to you, reveals Himself to you. I also pray that for myself. Often.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

[Photo Credit: BuzzFarmers]