I used to be a good Christian
I used to read old dead guys. I used to journal. I used to write out prayers. I even wrote some poetry or songs or whatever. Back before I had kids, before I was married, before I left home, or graduated high school. When I was an angsty teenager and life was “hard.” (Read: amazingly easy.) In the white bread world where I attended youth group, worked a job and still didn’t have to pay for everything, had some good friends and a family who loved me, went on mission trips, discipled younger girls.
Now, in my can’t-catch-my-breath-to-check-off-my-Bible-reading phase, I am mostly listening via the app on my phone. I scribble down a spiritual thought every now and then, mostly on Instagram, because the fact that a few people will see it motivates me to actually finish a thought, judge me as you please.
Sometimes I can’t squeeze attending Bible study into my calendar for that season, let alone leading one. I hardly have space in my life to write this. Truth be told, I’m writing this in the notes app on my phone as I’m stepping out of the shower, because … alone time.
Don’t get me wrong, my life is harder now, yet it isn’t.
I have a beautiful, healthy family, friends, many blessings. Sure, my life isn’t devoid of trouble. Money gets tight, relationships get strained, parenting is challenging, bodies and spirits fail, plans change, needs and desires go unfulfilled. When we aren’t careful this is where we live, in the trouble.
Then our motivational speakers, Christian living authors, health and lifestyle gurus swoop in to fix it. They push us to live simple, wild and free, to find our destiny, to activate our purpose. They speak to our hurts, boredom, frustrations, and longing to be fulfilled, living a life of purpose. And women like me flock to them. They buy the books, follow on social media, attend the conferences and often turn into mini-gurus themselves.
You know the type. Young moms (or young marrieds) pouring themselves into blogs and start up businesses and podcasts and social media accounts and para-church ministries (not to mention careers) trying to build their platform or put their husband through school. I see moms skipping away to third world countries for a week while their kids are at home.
I recently heard Ruth Chou Simons, an artist, blogger, author, speaker, and social media influencer being interviewed on a podcast. She was talking about what she tells young moms who ask how they can get where she is. “My favorite thing to say to women in this position is, ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.'”
She goes on to say that we need to live our own story, trusting that God is working in and through us while we do the work he’s placed in front of us, instead of thinking it demeaning and wishing it away. “But instead, when we concentrate on the character of God and who He says we are, then you recognize that whether He’s given you Zimbabwe to minister to, or a two-year-old and a coloring sheet, it’s equally kingdom work. That keeps us aligned with knowing, “It’s not me that’s determining my worth today, it’s Jesus.”
Being alive in Christ, living dangerously for the kingdom, finding your true purpose is walking along in your everyday life like Jesus did. Jesus lived and worked for thirty years before beginning his public ministry. He learned a trade, he took care of himself, he loved his family, he loved his neighbors. All normal everyday things.
Wasn’t he God incarnate? Shouldn’t he have been doing something major? Was he fulfilling God’s will any less before performing miracles and feeding the thousands?
Whether you’re a stay at home mom like me, a working mom, or a single woman, when the gurus tell you you were made for more, don’t hear them saying that your normal humble life isn’t enough. Nineteenth century minister and author Horatius Bonar said, “A holy life is made up of a multitude of small things. It is the little things of the hour, and not the great things of the age, that fill up a life like that of Paul and John…” He goes on for a page listing the things that don’t and then do make for a holy life.
Your mom-ing is enough. Your dish-washing is enough. Your consistent-but-sometimes-hurried Bible reading is enough. Your favor for a neighbor is enough. Your time at the crisis pregnancy center is enough. Your conversations with your unbelieving co-worker are enough.
You don’t need mission trips or even the soup kitchen. You don’t need to be mentoring or even journaling, let alone blogging or podcasting. You don’t need thorough inductive Bible study or a cause to stand against or promote. You don’t need a stable career, a social media presence, a checked off reading list, or further education.
What you need is to trust that who God made you to be and what he made you to do, however seemingly mundane, is good because he’s the one who did it. Work heartily as unto the Lord. Serve unnoticed. Not fancy, not Instagram worthy. Serve local. Like in your own kitchen and bathroom and yard. Have children and love them. Make children disciples of Christ. Love your neighbor and your church members. For your whole life. It’s okay to be average, as long as you’re faithful.