{photo by mwichary}

How shall I say this without sounding overly vague? I’ll try this—my family and I have been in the non-profit world of being the hands, feet, and mouths of Christ and his teachings for quite some time now. If you get my drift.

Whether directly “out there” being a light in a dark place, or more “back here” supporting it in various direct and indirect capacities, we’re no stranger to this world. For about two decades, I’ve been involved, somehow, in a global mindset to give as many people as possible access to knowing about the death, resurrection, and teachings of Jesus.

And so when you’re entrenched in this world, it’s easy to overanalyze, become overly concerned, and overcomplicate this business of “being light.” We strategize and analyze a plan for being an available conduit to anyone who might be in need of a bit more hope. We aim to be normal people in our intentions, so we go out of our way to understand what it means to be normal in our cultural context, whatever that may be.

Because I’m no stranger to this approach, I have quite the radar for it—which means I can pretty easily see that this strategy isn’t dedicated only to the professional Christian. It’s rather widespread, whether it’s on social media, at the park, in our front yards, or at the doctor’s office. It’s the idea that if you’re a follower of Jesus, you “should” have your guard up at all times. Be prepared to give an answer. Be culturally relevant while still being different from the world.

It can get stressful with all that pressure, 24/7.

Yes, when you think and act like what Jesus said was true, that means your lifestyle will inevitably sometimes be different than someone else’s. And yes, if you’re consistent in your lifestyle, that means you might sometimes say something to a neighbor, answer a question asked by a fellow mom at the playdate, or not laugh at the crude joke everyone else finds hilarious at the office.

But might I make an alternative suggestion to the self-imposed pressure to Be A Light, All The Time?

Just be a normal person.

Be a normal person who laughs, loves, gets frustrated, even angry, and sometimes sad. Be a person who gets the stress of paying bills, the exhaustion of nursing babies, and the humor of Nacho Libre. Be a regular neighbor who likes barbecue and is willing to share it over some potato salad and an evening fireside chat.

And when things are rough, don’t be afraid to say so. Being a light doesn’t mean that every Facebook status has to involve a verse, or that you have to force a pithy spiritual anecdote into every situation. Being a light, many times, is admitting that life is just plain ol’ hard.

We Christians sure can add more pressure to being Christians than Christ ever intended. When Paul said that we have been crucified with Christ and no longer live because Christ now lives in us, and that the life we now live in the flesh is lived by faith in the Son of God—that means we got some new DNA. Our flesh wasn’t repaired; we got a whole new spirit inside us, and that spirit is Christ Himself.

Relax. Just let the Christ who is already in you be revealed in all its marvelous everyday ways. We’re secure. Relationships don’t need a project-like pressure attached to it. Go on, and just be a regular friend (Emily said this well recently).

Life isn’t always about being “out there,” always with a smile on our faces and willing to give a measured account of Christ’s death and resurrection in fine-print detail. Sometimes, life is about—well, everyday life. And just being ourselves—normal people—is enough to bring hope where it’s needed.

So whether you’re in the business of being the hands and feet of Christ, or if you do it just because it’s who you are, honor God’s creativity by firstly being YOU. He’ll take care of all the details. Especially if you just relax and be your normal ol’ self.

How are you putting too much pressure on yourself to be a light? And what’s your favorite Nacho Libre line?

by Tsh, Simple Mom

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  1. 1

    Tsh,
    I love the line, “Just let the Christ who is already in you be revealed in all its marvelous everyday ways.” Often I am guilty of trying too hard in my own strength to reach others for Christ, when what I really need to be is just plain normal. Help me to also not make people “projects” but to just love them and be there (normally) for them, right where they are. Great post! Thanks for sharing…
    Blessings,
    Bev

  2. 3

    I needed this so much today.

    My husband and I recently “broke up” with the church we have been attending for the last 2.5 years. It was an intensely personal and painful decision, and, when we decided to leave, we also decided to take a break to heal before dipping our toes in the water again. I feel alot of pressure to jump back into the search for a new church because it seems to be the right thing to do, not because I’m actually ready. My husband keeps gently reminding me that a walk with Christ is not about “checkboxes”, but about a real, personal relationship, and that right now, the best thing for our hearts is to “just be.”

    Here’s to trying to relax more in the waiting.

    Thanks for sharing your words this morning.

  3. 5

    Thanks for this, Tsh. We’ve been missionaries for almost 10 years, and the number one struggle we’ve had is the expectation that we shouldn’t struggle. Sometimes, you need the freedom to just “be”, even on the front lines. And my Nacho Libre line (My kids can quote this movie verbatim–with the accents–we live in a Latin American country, so it’s even funnier)…

    “Chancho, when you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room. It’s for fun.”

  4. 6

    Ahhhhh…this post made me want to sit back and breathe in the peace of Jesus! Sometimes I do feel like I’m trying too hard…in my own strength…and I know that’s not what God wants us to do. It is a good reminder here to just be “normal”…”ourselves”…and then Jesus can use us to bless others!

    As I read your post I pictured the gentle Jesus walking amongst the people…always being kind, and calm, and loving. The Jesus who had friends, loved children, grew weary, and needed nourishment, just like we do. Yet he lived his life here on earth to be an example…and we should do the same. He will give us the opportunities to witness, and to give… and times to share His love with others. He will give us the peace, and the words to say as He leads us.

    I know He had His times when he drove out the money changers and times when He rebuked people. Times when He stood up for what was right…but He did it all without sinning. When we get on our soap boxes and try to persuade people to accept Christ, they most often turn a deaf ear, and feel like we are preaching “at” them…and I know I have done this before, and then felt defeated because it was all in my own power, and the results were not what I was desiring. But when I have “let go and let God”..things have gone so much better, and people are more receptive.

    The Spirit will lead us if we will just be us…normal…and willing people!

    Thanks so much for this reminder!

    Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

  5. 7

    “Don’t you know I have had the diarrheas since Easter”. nacho libre

  6. 9

    “just be yourself.” What a great thought, one that I find uplifing, upsetting and all round difficult. Praise God, He made me, knows me, and walks with me. I have
    struggled my entire life to measure up, and it hasn’t worked yet I grew up
    in an environment that was always fearful of never measuring up. It is a hard road to
    escape. Raised five daughters, and I for sure don’t measure up to their expectations.
    I am so glad to read the comments of women that struggle with everyday thoughts
    and learning no one is perfect. I pray for freedom to be a blessing to myself as well
    as to others. Thanks for listening.

  7. 10

    “They think I don’t know a buttload of crap about the gospel, but I doooo.”

    Can I say that here? Hope so, that’s just me being normal.

    I love this encouragement to just be who we are, be real, be normal. God made us that way for reason.

    • 11

      Gina- this is my favorite line from the movie. We just watched it last night because my kids bought it for their daddy for his birthday. I’m going to be hearing quotes from this movie all summer!!

    • 12

      First, I love you, Gina.
      That quote is one often used at our house.

      And Tsh? Thank you. Thank youuuu. THAAAAAAANK YOUUUUUUUUU….
      I am so tired, so very very tired, of Christians always acting like they are ON.
      I am not on. Not even close to being on. Some days are better than others. Some days I am an example. Other days, I am a mess. Most days, I am somewhere in between.

      When my child has colored on the wall with a Sharpie or flushed my cell phone down the toilet, that is not the time to tell me, “Children are a blessing from the Lord. All is grace.” I know all that. That’s the time to google “sharpie removal” and look up Verizon’s number for me. :)

    • 14

      Not sure if you can say that here ;) , but I LOVE that line, too.

  8. 15
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I really needed this today. I have a friend that is caring for a dying spouse with pancreatic cancer. The road has been long and difficult. I was asked by my friend to walk along side them through this journey and I accepted the invitation. I have asked God over and over “Why was I the one selected for this role.” I don’t know if I have what it takes to be the hands and feet of Christ in such an important task. This has been a daily, 9 month journey and now we are at the final, toughest stage. We have come so far and yet it feels like a rough, treachous mountain ahead. Hospice has been called in and everything except pain meds have been discontinued. It is now just waiting for the hour when God will call another child home. Everyday I have asked God to reveal himself through me. I have wanted his light and presences to shine through me. But the days are getting harder and the dark clouds are hanging lower. I still wonder why I have been the one who was asked to walk this journey so closely. I feel so inadequate especially now. When you said in your post “Being a light, many times, is admitting that life is just plain ol’ hard.” This has been such an unbelievealby, incredible place to be. How do you hold up under the pressure when going gets this tough. I know that God is at work through me and he never asks more of us than we can handle.
    I need God to help me just be that regular, normal friend with his light shining through me to the end of this journey.
    Thanks again for this touch post.

    • 16

      When my grandpa died, my grandma kept saying sometimes you have to just make it through the day; if you can’t make it through the day, make it through the hour; if you can’t make it through the hour, make it through the minute. It sounds like you have already offered a beautiful gift to your friend simply by being there, but I know these holy moments can be so, so hard. Praying for you, for your friend, for her husband. May you all feel God’s peace and His arms holding you during this time.

      • 17
        Anonymous says:

        Thank you for your thoughtful words of encouragement, Amanda. And thanks for your sweet prayers.

    • 18
      Jeanne says:

      To Anonymous: God ALWAYS gives us more than we can handle! ALWAYS. So dear one, know that when he gives us that special charge, He wants us to call on Him for wisdom. He wants us to call in the saints of the church for encouragement, help, kindness. If we could handle it all, what use is He or others? He never made us to be alone, mushing our way through pain and sadness, or joy and celebration by ourselves..:)

  9. 19

    “and beneath the man, we find his…..nucleus.”

    • 20

      I can hear him saying that line now…

      • 21
        Missie says:

        When my daughter was about three (she’s now almost 8), we watched this movie so much that she had this great version of “Get that corn outta my face!” that just sent us into fits of laughter every time.

        My husband, our 17 year old son, our daughter and I can all quote this movie in its entirety. Along with Elf and Napoleon Dynamite.

        Please don’t call CPS.

  10. 23

    really, really appreciate your words here, Tsh, particularly as someone in a similar “line of work.” feeling so much the push to “do do do” when as a mom of young kids and a wife of the primary “worker” feel like I just want to “be be be.” Thank you for writing about this… think more of us wives in ministry (particularly those of us who are in more support roles as opposed to parallel roles) need to hear and be affirmed in this.

  11. 25

    “Chancho… sometimes men wear stretchy pants.” Thanks Tsh… I so agree and yet the reminder is so necessary.

  12. 26
    mom@LTHfarm says:

    GREAT post! Shared it with some friends over lunch, and we were all in agreement that this is SO true! Thank you for touching us today, Tsh! You are a light to many!

  13. 27

    Yes. Nacho Libre and all. Somedays – some moments – all I can muster up is normal. Other days, I just question of there even is such a thing. Eventually, Christ gets a hold of my heart though, and reminds me that I’m His and that if I will just remember that, I’ll be living as normal as He wants me to be. Thank you for this post!

  14. 30

    Good thoughts. I’m going to let them marinate for a while. I agree, wholeheartedly. People want to be treated like friends, not projects. I want these words to have some time to penetrate, see if I’ve strayed a bit from this mission. Thank you.

  15. 31

    I love this, so much. I have to keep reminding myself that if I abide in Christ, his light will shine through in ways I don’t even notice, because it’s just Jesus in me.

    And as much as I’d love to insert the entire Nacho Libre script right here, I’ll stick to this line:
    “They gave no eagle powers. They gave me no nutrients!”

  16. 32

    When you are living with Christ in your life, it does become your normal world. Of course, I still struggle with bills and other frustrations, but having Christ in my affects all my behaviors. Thanks for this message today.

  17. 33
    Rebecca McMaster says:

    God doesn’t need our help to save anyone. If you are salt and you are light, then you just are. I love it! Thank you for this post, I’m sure it helped a lot of people breathe much easier.

  18. 34
    Mary K. Bridges says:

    Great post, Tsh! Thank you!

    A Nacho Libre standard in our family whenever we have Mexican food: “Are those The Lord’s Chips?”

  19. 35

    Thank you so much for this encouraging and beautifully written post. What a refreshing reminder that it is in our weakness that He shows his strength, that we are not adequate in ourselves but adequate in Him. After years in vocational ministry and now home with my kids, I still struggle with the earthiness and …. Normality?!…. Of the life God has called me to now. But in your post, (along with a few other markers in the last three weeks, the most notable of which i wrote about at http://bronlea.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/the-pair-at-the-door/ ), God is reminding me that in the midst my chaotic, messy, dirty dishes and diaper-championing, not-well-put-together life, we can still be effective for Him.

  20. 36

    Thanks Tsh. Sometimes, when living in a world which is all about setting goals and 5 year plans, we make everything too complicated, even our faith and sharing our faith. I don’t pretend to have it all worked out, but I do know that the Christ-filled life shouldn’t be as hard as some people make it.

  21. 37
    Brooke Burger says:

    I don’t know I never saw that movie. I’m not really a movie kind of person. LOL, that isn’t normal for me. :) I do like this concept, though. I pray daily to be salt and light to my world. I have recently become involved with a performing group where Christians are few and far between. Thank you for this. Blessings!!!

  22. 38

    I am so happy to see that I am the only one with the problem of doing too much on my own. I was just praying that I wanted to be normal and allow God to use me without forcing myself to minister or say something spiritual to people. My family and had to leave our church two years ago where we had been members for almost twenty years and there was a lot of hurt and pain that was done to us. We hated to leave but it was our only choice. The hurt we experienced has caused us to have a lot of distrust of people who say they are in the ministry. I thought we were supposed to get right back up and find another ministry but it has not worked that way. No trust. So thank you for this encouragement and I know that we are not alone. We are waiting.

    • 39
      Shelly says:

      Elsie,
      We’re in this together! Trying to allow God to work through us is difficult, mostly because we don’t know what to expect and there is this pressure of having to be salt through action, like we have a spiritual quota of having a certain # of people turn to the Lord because of us or something along those lines. Gosh, I know I struggle with that “am I doing enough” and “am I enough light for God’s plans” and such, as if I actually have control.

      “Just Be Normal.” I’m trying to let that sink in. When we look to God, the idea is that he’ll shine through us. I’m learning that sometimes we want to second-guess that because we have such a critical nature as humans. God has been showing me that sometimes I just need to live, always looking to him for guidance, and knowing that he’s got this. It’s much easier to always fret about if I’m doing what God wants.

      He’s the Alpha and Omega, the omnipotent. He’ll do whatever he wants anyway, so my fretting won’t change it. :)

      • 40
        Anonymous says:

        Shelly,
        Thank you for those encouraging words. I feel a lot lighter. It has always been a thing with me that if I do not mention anything about God that I failed to do His will. So now I can just be normal and let the Holy Spirit work through me when He wants to and do my best as a child of God without pressuring myself. Life will be a lot less stressful now. Thanks again and God Bless you.

  23. 41
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the encouraging words, it makes me look at life on a different scale.

  24. 42
    Beth Williams says:

    Tsh,

    Our ladies Bible study has often talked about Christians “putting on face” at church on Sunday AM. I just wish everyone would be normal. If you’re having a bad day say so–I can pray for your situation.

    I feel my actions should speak louder than words. If I consistently act like Christ and show the world His love then that is as good as if not better than talking about Him.

    Thanks for a wonderful post!! :)

  25. 43

    You want a good indicator of how “not together” I have it? I’m so behind in my inbox that I’m just reading this now about a month and half after it was sent (thus this comment, more than a month after everyone else’s). And the rest of my life is pretty much like that. :)

    And oh my goodness. Am I the first person to heart Nacho Libre’s talk of nutrients?
    In our house, if we’re talking about vegetables, sleeping, medicine and just about anything else there is gonna be talk about if it’s going to give, or give you no nutrients, in a certain almost-hispanic-but-more-jack-black-than-anything-else accent. :)

  26. 44

    Admiring the hard work you put into your blog and detailed information you provide.
    It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information.
    Wonderful read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

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