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