so here is my first piece of published material, ever. hope you like. it is on the topic of "what is god doing in your life right now?"
So what has God been teaching me lately? I could say something trite and totally made up about how when you’re bummed out and depressed that we should look to the imagery of the eagle and soar, soar above the storm and use it to move us higher and higher, almost like you are soaring to heaven! Yeah, right. My dark, tortured soul has yet to believe that is true. I was struck while watching the Nooma about “Trees” where Bell states that even though there is a beginning and an end to creation, those being the two major “landmarks” of our world, God is doing things in our life RIGHT NOW. So again, what is he teaching me right now, at this moment, in my own world around me?
There are actually a million things that are going on in my mind. I am a thinker and have always been one. I have recently been struck by the fact that what we think is the right way to do things is not necessarily the right way. I remember growing up in a very conservative Christian home believing that every decision I made was either In God’s Will or Apart From God’s WIll. I have recently discovered that God doesn’t really care what kind of toothpaste I use. (What freedom!) I have also learned that my faith looks very different from my mom’s. It looks different than my best friend Fran’s, who serves in the inner city or my friend Aaron’s, a missionary in Africa. I have learned that you can be a liberal, a feminist, a democrat, a humanitarian, and a follower of Jesus. (Gasp!) But the biggest thing God is teaching me right now isn’t even about me. You see, I think the biggest thing that God has taught me lately isn’t about myself, it is about the world around me and how I relate to it.
I think it is really awesome how God works in your life. There are little things around us that he uses to shape our thoughts and even our actions. Let me explain. I was watching MTV or VH1 the other day. They were doing a special about how they were sending movie stars and rock stars to AIDS ravaged areas of Africa. This particular episode featured Ashley Judd and India.Arie. As these two women explored the travesties that have befallen this continent of people, I cried. If you know me, you know I don’t cry, well, hardly ever. Huge, baby-like tears were falling down my face. I watched as a 14 year old girl related her story of loosing her mom to AIDS. India.Arie wanted to do something for this young lady and learned that she needed a backpack for school. When they gave her the gift, she acted like she was the Sole Survivor and had won a million dollars. She was jumping up and down and squealing. A backpack? That was the amount of kindness it took to make her day? Her entire year? At this point I think I may have looked a little like Alice Cooper because my mascara had run and formed two inverted triangles under my eyes. Why on earth was I just sitting here not caring that thousands of people are dying and hurting from a disease totally preventable? Why is it that MTV has to send ambassadors to other countries to help? Is it because we are too busy working out mission statements and fighting over if this is God’s punishment on a people who have turned their backs on God? What happened to “they’ll know we are Christians by our love?”
I think the answer is really simple. Our faith should not be about us. It should be about those around us. The evidence of our love for Christ should be apparent in how we treat those who are hurting. Jesus said it himself, when he was talking about how to love others, “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me--you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40, The Message, Remix) We have turned a blind eye. I am not talking about having pity on people, not the, “Oh, I’m sorry for you,” attitude, but to really see ourselves as servants to others. That is the paradigm shift. Jesus puts it this way, “That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served--and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.” (Mark 10:45) If I am really striving to be like Jesus, for him to be my teacher in every aspect of my life, some things have to change. When I started to see my faith as it relates those around me, I started to see other people as the ones who play more important role in my faith than my own petty wants and desires. I don’t want to serve the downtrodden because I am commanded to, but because they deserving of my service. I started to feel passionately about humanity, not because MTV says it is cool to act like that, but because Jesus cares about humanity. I realized that for me, as a Christian, I cannot follow Jesus and not be a humanitarian. I can’t sit back and and say, “Oh that’s too bad.” I want to be the type of Christian who radiates love, not condemnation, so that everyone around me can see how Jesus changed my life. I don’t want to sit back and watch as people around me are hurting and without hope. Jesus didn’t do that, and I won’t either.