Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why the "Christian Living" Section Stresses Me Out

Sometimes I peruse the Christian Living section in Books-a-Million. I hate those times.

It stresses me out to no end. I walk along, hoping for a little inspiration or, at the very least, a book without an Amish girl on the cover. (Does anyone else notice that those Amish girls always appear to be wearing mascara and tinted lipgloss?)

I always start to panic a little after reading the blurbs of a couple books. I read about how American Christians have a fast-food mentality towards their faith. And my soul kind of twitches. Like, "Yeah, that was totally me three years ago. Right, God? Right?"

And then I start to look at all those book titles that contradict each other. Like How to Become a Millionaire God's Way on the same shelf as Shaine Claiborne's The Irresistible Revolution.

And my mind says, "Quick, Heather! Decide: do you want to be a radical or rich for Jesus?" And my heart starts racing as I put them down, only to notice Kisses from Katie out of the corner of my eye, the book about the teenage girl who gave up everything to move to Uganda and mother orphan children. And I don't know if I'll ever be able to read that book because I just know it would make me feel like a selfish, first-world piece of crap.

Everyone has their own opinion, condemnation, solution. At what's worse is that they're all Christians. They ALL have God on their side. So who's right?

It stresses me out. I always walk out with my theology completely screwed up. (Especially if I happen to pick up a book by an atheist trying to disprove Christianity. I am not confident enough to flip through one of those books without murmuring, "Oh...snap" at every point.)

Maybe I'm just not mature in my faith.

The Bible has been around for a long ol' time. And there have been a whole lot of people reading it, people with different ideas and worldviews and upbringings and experiences. A verse will speak different things to different people. And I've got to learn to accept that no two Christians are exactly alike. No Christian has this whole thing figured out. Not even C.S. Lewis? We're all just fish flopping on a dock, longing to be in our true home, doing the best we can with what we've been given.

So I take some truth from Shaine Claiborne, and I even take some truth from Joel Osteen (sometimes). Because it isn't their truth to begin with. Their ideas are their own, but those glimmers of truth behind their words? Those are from God. Even though it might not seem like such different theologies could possibly be attributed to the same God.

God's cool like that. He's not frustrated at our differences, like I am, scurrying around a bookstore wondering who's right. He made us all unique. On purpose.

I'm still trying to learn to listen to God instead of people. But I'm also learning that God's people are a reflection of Him. Whether they're living like every day's a Friday or giving the shoes off their feet to the poor.


  1. SOOO Good! I love this!!! hahaha you are too funny! I am so enjoying your blog - every post is so transparent and real! Thank you for that!
    Don't worry about "who's right". Ask the Lord what His heart is on the matter and He'll reveal it to you. Just like you said, listen to God. :D


  2. I relate to this SO much! For me, I was finding my view of faith and even God himself were getting distorted in an unhealthy way and I was avoiding God because he seemed so angry and distant. I'm trying to focus on simplicity - really listening to him directly, rather than everyone who talks about him. It is helping me so much!

  3. I like your little Joel Osteen "disclaimer" :)

  4. Snap. You took the words out of my mouth. I feel this over and over again. I always forget that God just want me, all of me... no matter how he gets that.

  5. Love this!

    This scripture came right to my mind...

    If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given.
    -James 1:5

    Listen to God...He will answer you and let you know...

  6. Beautifully and honestly phrased, Heath. Fish on a dock...Love it! The water is where we belong, but how funny we probably look to God pretending like we are the best dock-floppers out there!

  7. Another relate-able, refreshing (& funny) post. This is exactly the point I'm at in my life. Sometimes within the Christian community there is just TOO MUCH NOISE. All with the best of intentions, but still. Sometimes you need to "Be still, and know that I am God."

  8. Ha! I just love when you write.
    It's so hard to not copy-cat someone who's written a book.
    Because, well, they've written a book!
    But how sweet it is to lean upon God's truth from the word he's given us.


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