Friday, March 25, 2011

One life, not many

How many different lives do you have? "Wait a sec, Ashley, I only have one." I'm getting there.

Think of how many different hats you wear in a single day, how many different roles you play. For example, how many of these are you?
  • Student
  • Parent
  • Athlete
  • Sibling
  • Friend
  • Employee
  • Son/Daughter
  • Mentor
  • Leader
  • Christ-follower
Sometimes, I think we compartmentalize our lives. Maybe we think it makes it easier to handle; after all, in other cases such organizational tactics seem to work, right? So we open our "family" drawer, put on our sibling/son/daughter/etc. hat(s), be that person that we need to be when we're with our families. Then when we go to school, we take off that hat and open the "school" drawer and put on our student/friend/athlete hat(s), and be that person that we need to be when we're around our friends, or around our teachers and coaches. Then we go to work, go volunteer somewhere, go babysit, etc., and change hats again. Then Sunday rolls around and we finally put on the Christ-follower hat as soon as we enter the building and take it back off as soon as we leave, because, after all, we have so many other hats to wear.

Do you see what I'm getting at? And I'm no less guilty than any of you who may potentially be reading this right now. I am extremely guilty of compartmentalizing my life. Sure, I try to throw on my Christ-follower hat as often as possible, but when it comes to sticky family situations, I prefer putting the family hat on top, or even completely swapping the two hats. It's always been hard for me to shine the light Jesus placed within me to my family. Maybe you're reading this and can relate. I don't know what it is, but it's just harder talking to people who have known you your whole life about Christ compared to talking to complete strangers!

Thankfully, this week I was hard-pressed by God and supported with accountability by my discipler to not only serve my family, being more Christlike to them, but also talk to them about Jesus. It has been a crazy difficult couple of weeks, and I can't even count the number of times where I've been like, "God, what the heck. Can't you make this any easier!?" But I've come to realize, along with being able to evangelize to my family, that God didn't want me to share the Gospel with them solely for their sakes. He wanted me to share for my own sake, too. He doesn't want us to compartmentalize our lives. He doesn't want us to put on the Christ-follower hat every now and again. He wants us to be Christ-followers first and foremost, have that be the core of our very beings!

What I'm trying to say is, when we stop making the term "Christian" into a role that we play, like "Sibling" or "Athlete" or "Coworker," and when we start integrating our faith into the core of our very being, everything else stems from that. We don't have to hide our Christ-changed selves from the world. Hey, in fact, we don't have to go around evangelizing at the tops of our lungs either. We can just be the people that God made us to be, each of us being a single person madly in love with the Creator of the universe, and let who we are flow out of us into our days.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Against versus with the wind

I started thinking about this while spending a morning outdoors in silence about a month ago, watching the morning sun reflect off the waves on Lake Michigan, feeling the winter wind blowing wildly around me.

Think about the wind. Imagine it whipping your hair and snapping your clothes around your body with its chilling force, pushing you to throw your hood up and brace yourself against it. Imagine it taking your breath away and urging you to walk in the direction of its force rather than in the opposite direction. Now imagine trying to walk against that wind. It's a lot harder, isn't it? It's cold, it's rough, it's somewhat bitter and painful. Even though you struggle against it to get to where you want to go, it isn't a pleasant walk.

Sometimes I think we try to go against the wind in our lives. I know I do a lot. We go against what God wants us to do because we know what we want and we want to get it in our own way. We push and brace ourselves past God's whispers and warnings so we can get what we want right now, even if it's not what's best for us. But God knows us so much better than ourselves, and He longs for us to continuously give our lives and everything about them over to Him so that He can make the most beautiful work of art from them, placing you where He wants you when He wants you to be there.

Of course the metaphor breaks down in all sorts of places, but while sitting amidst the wind and the waves I was reminded, dear reader, of how often I try to do things in my own strength against the wind, how often everyone tries to do that. Granted the path following the direction of the wind, the path with God, is definitely marked with its own trials. But it's backed by His will and power, and that makes all the difference.

PS: For those of you who followed my past blog posts...I am going to Costa Rica this summer. Long story short, God is good and always provides.