When my neighbour asked about my day I surprised both of us by starting to cry.
I know her well so it wasn’t super embarassing but definitely not expected.
“I was just talking with my pastor about theology” I gasped out between sobs.
“Wow, it must have been something really deep and important to you.” She replied with curiousity and concern in her eyes.
One thing I love about my neighbour is that she is such a great listener and we stood on the sidewalk for several minutes as I tried to figure out was going on.
Theology is something that may be associated with tears of boredom more than anything else but in the conversation with my pastor, I became aware of a passion as well as weed that was strangling me and causing a huge weight on my shoulders.
It was about evangelism/sharing the gospel/telling people about Jesus.
I share gospels (good news) everyday. About a tv show I like or a health professional who was really helpful or a great restaurant… something has changed my life for the better and I want everyone to know. But with my faith I feel more like a salesperson who is paid commission by God and I better perform well or terrible things will happen. How I came to this place is a big story of both internal and external factors. I am still processing that all privately but what I can share today is that I realized how damaging the burden is to myself and others.
“Jesus is water, he is life. I want everyone to know about him.” I said to my neighbour, “but I worry so much about how the words will come out and I think it is all up to me.”
“When you see yourself in that way,” my pastor said, “you become the hero of the story.” There is no place then for Jesus or for that person. It is all about my performance. He described a pastor who would often ask God, “would you like me to enter this conversation?” before saying anything. He came from the viewpoint that Jesus is pursuing people with love and having conversations with them in so many ways. I may end up being a part of that or I may not be.
We live in a culture right now where words are weighed very heavily and things especially posted online can get you into a lot of trouble. Sharing about anything needs to be done thoughtfully and with care, especially in areas of faith and topics that can touch people deeply for better or for worse. But too much emphasis on that can lead to a paralyzing fear and perfectionism that silences voices needing to be heard.
This blog feels like a pretty safe place for me because comments are very rare (I would like more! lol) and it’s not as accesible as social media. I am at a place in my faith journey where I really want to know the truth and heart of the matter. Cliches and platitudes and random verses are not enough. When I think about Christians in other countries who courageously face abandoment by their families, threats by their government and, in many cases, death, I wonder what they believe about Jesus that makes it worth it.
In the famous “woman at the well” story Jesus said, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling stream within them, giving them eternal life” (John 4:13 NLT).
I think I tasted a bit of that bubbling stream when I wept before my neighbour and I realized that I don’t need to be the perfect speaker/evangelist/Christian. I can’t be. I am not supposed to be.
I can be someone who simply says, “this water is amazing!” And not just saying the words but experiencing it for myself. I feel like I have just had a couple of sips and there is soooo much more.
I believe that faith needs to be “incarnate”, lived out in the every day with toddler tales, stories from the garden and random other things. I am very grateful when I hear that this blog has encouraged someone becaue I usually see it as more for me than anyone else. I am a verbal processor and as I write, the ugly knots in my head slowly begin to untangle. If along the way, any of this processing is helpful to you, that is wonderful. It is great to journey together.