Monday, January 27, 2014

I Over-Think Myself Right Out of My Calling

I think about faith in Jesus a lot.  You've probably clued into that given the content of this blog.  There are times when I'm going deep - really deep - and find myself in rabbit holes.  I'm wondering if my last post didn't end up being one of those and I could probably find 10 more that would fit in that category too.  Perhaps "rabbit hole" should be a new search label....

The problem with being in a rabbit hole is that I'm over-thinking things.  When I'm in deep, I burden myself with rules, guidelines, parameters and boundaries.  I start structuring a way to be like Christ instead of giving His Spirit the opportunity to mold me.  I start hammering away on my to-do list, rather than being gently spurred down the right path.

I realized this as I read a meditation on the Methodist lectionary for last week by William Willimon in Christian Century.  It's pretty unusual for me to be reading that, given I don't have a subscription and I have at least ten other items on my docket to finish.  But I grabbed the latest copy while I waited on the Olders during choir practice.


I've read books of Dr. Willimon's and proudly bear a family connection to him, (as insignificant as it is).  You see, my cousin was a Methodist Minister and encountered him numerous times while she was in school at Duke.  Those "lofty" references aside, I really like him.  He is real, honest and his writing smacks of truthful and Truthful communication.

If you would like to read the whole of his thoughts - you can find them here (after subscribing and it is worth doing).

It was Willimon's treatment of John 1:29-42 that pierced me.  He reminds the reader that John the Baptist's "job" wasn't huge by the world's standards.  We in the modern Church might secretly think John was down right lazy.  We are expected and expect people to do now, but John was always meant to be (just) a witness.  He was called to testify to Someone greater than himself and that was what he did.

Why do I expect to do more?

In thinking about the future, I wonder where the Spirit is taking me.  When/What/Where/How/Why dominate a lot of my unregulated thoughts.  As a result, I try to make faith harder than it is, which honestly sucks the joy out of it.  I try to do when I should be waiting, watching and responding.  My calling is the same as John the Baptist's. 

I'm called to be a witness to the Truth of Christ and to testify about that truth every chance I get.

That doesn't mean I stand on a street corner.  My street doesn't get enough traffic for me to make a dent that way (plus I would mortify my husband.  Oh and the children need to be fed).  I'm in a love story with Jesus, which is full of MIRACLES!  People need to hear about them so they can be drawn in to their own love story with Him. 

Contemporary Christian Music Artist Mandisa won not one, but two Grammies last night (for her latest song and album Overcomer.)  She wrote today about why she wasn't there to receive the awards in person, (go here for the full entry).  This line struck another the same cord in me that started twanging last night,

I can’t force my morality on anyone else. What I can do is live my life in such a way that reflects well on my Savior, stand firm in my values, and do all of these things in love. 

Our "job" is to be a living witness.  As Eugene Peterson writes in Romans 12: in our every day, walking around lives.  We don't have to keep trying so hard.  Isn't it exhausting to have to DO all the time? 

I know we must feed orphans, comfort widows, visit prisoners, free captives and preach to the lost, but we shackle ourselves with burdens we were never meant to carry when we focus so hard on the DO.  We don't have to have outwardly amazing gifts to make a difference because His love puts those on the inside.  The world doesn't have to see us as long as they see Christ in us.

When we testify to Him, hope is tangible. 

We don't have to overthink our faith.  We just have to be ready to joyfully live it.  The Holy Spirit will work out the rest.  He will assure the results are good because He is good.

If you are struggling with faith being hard, maybe you're in a rabbit hole too.  Walk backwards a bit and you will find Christ patiently waiting.  He loves you and is waving you back, light in hand, to the straight and narrow path.

We may yet be called to be big and global in our service but in the mean time, let's try to "just" be witnesses.  Let's try to "just" testify with our merciful words and loving deeds.  Let's walk around focused on God's love, which helps us love ourselves and others the right way.  We will never fail to point everyone back to Jesus when that happens.

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