Saturday, September 1, 2012
Overdosing on the Church
I've discovered: if I'm not careful, I can overdose on the church. It's scary to think it and scarier to admit it, but I'm learning: as long as I don't speak in anger, the Lord uses me best when I speak my scary truths.
Most everyone I know and read--especially on facebook and in the blogosphere--claims to be a Christian. So many of them clamor on about different things, thinking their religious actions and affiliations, even their political views, make them stand out as the real deal. I rarely find myself confused about where I stand on any given issue, just annoyed. I asked myself why the annoyance until I determined: people have agendas. They aren't just blathering on; they're trying, all the time, to convince others--me!--to climb up on their bandwagons.
I wish I were referring to Christians' earnest efforts to win souls, but their words add up to something much darker and more complex. In fact, their cumulative, persuasive efforts form a shouting match in my brain. I feel like my very own Jesus is being crammed down my very own throat, and from several angles all at once.
I start to wonder if there's something wrong with me because I don't appreciate so-and-so's eight scripture "status updates" per hour. What if my efforts in the name of the Lord, I wonder, aren't enough? What if I'm not focused enough? What if I'm not righteous enough?
Then I start feeling judged for behaving or thinking differently than other Christians.
When that happens, it becomes critical that I put on the brakes. I'm overdosing on the church. God may well be calling so-and-so to the foreign mission field, the haunts of the homeless, the abortion clinic, the drive-thru on Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. He may well be calling such-and-such to stand on a street corner or march in a small-town parade and howl for souls. It's not really my business until it's my business, and, right now, it isn't. I need to concern myself with those things the Lord has called me to do.
I'm a small fish in a big sea, and that's alright. Maybe my ministry will grow as my faith grows, or as I become kinder, wiser. In the meantime, know this: I really, really love Jesus, and He loves me. We have a relationship, and it's like any other in that it has its ups and downs. I've learned: inside and in spite of my relationship with the Lord, nothing--nothing!--is safe or guaranteed beyond my very soul. It hurts, sometimes, when things don't go the way I'd like. I grieve; I rage; I break into countless pieces, in countless ways. But over and over again, I find: when I lift my head and wipe my wild eyes, He--having never left--is with me, still.
Sometimes I overdose on the church, but I can never quite get enough of Jesus.