I am reading the book Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity by Jen Hatmaker with a group of women. We had our first meeting last night to discuss the first section in the book. I am already looking forward to future discussions.
One of the things that really stuck out to me from the book was when Jen talked about how she spent most of her time blessing blessed people and serving the saved. She’s essentially talking about the Christian bubble. I know that I spend the majority of my time with like-minded people in terms of God.
|My daughter in her own little bubble|
I don’t think that it’s bad to spend time with other Christians. It’s a great way to find encouragement and support. However, if every person I am with already loves and serves God then how am I fulfilling Jesus’ desire for us to love the lost, hurt, disenfranchised, etc?
I am a SAHM so the best place for me to find such people would be through my kids – preschool, activities, play groups, playgrounds and play places. With the statistic that 85% of the people/families in the area do not attend church it shouldn’t be too hard to find people who do not already have a strong relationship with Jesus.
I have several hang ups in pursuing others in this manner. First, I am more of an introvert. I don’t usually strike up conversations with strangers. I’m sure if I felt compelled or a strong urging I could do it occasionally, but it’s definitely not my strong suit (though I have recently found that God has been asking me to do things that are more of a weakness so that he can be the strength I need to achieve the goal). Probably at worst, the person would ignore me which is only a little awkward. At best, I might make a new friend. I think the awkwardness is probably worth the effort.
A second reservation is that it seems like I already am not able to spend enough time with all of the people in my life I’d like to spend time with. There are so many amazing people and I would love to get to know them all better and be more involved in their lives. As it is, the person I consider my best friend I have to schedule a decent ways in advance and we get to spend quality time together once or twice a month. Not that my schedule is packed with these kinds of meetings. There are, of course, family responsibilities – kid activities, cleaning, laundry, cooking, errands, family activities, etc – that require the majority of my time.
The thought of trying to cram one more thing into my schedule is a little overwhelming. I have considered scaling back and seeking God’s leading for activities and meetings. Most of my current things are good things, but too many good things doesn’t necessarily mean better or best. So while less does not necessarily appeal to me, it may be what I need in this season. Perhaps less trying to connect with everyone and seeking God’s leading for the most important things. Maybe I should be like Jen and figure out who “my people” are. Then maybe there will be room for the important work of loving and serving those who don’t know Jesus or have a thriving relationship with him (which, in the end, may not really feel like work).
A third thing that causes me to pause when considering reaching out to people who may not know Jesus is the thought that I will not be able to give satisfying answers to questions they may have. I love God and know that he exists. A large part of my belief comes from personal experience. My faith does not come from receiving a logical and/or scientific explanation for all my objections. I still have questions without answers.
I know that there are many intellectual people out there who want these kinds of reasoning and logic to help them make a decision for or against God. I had a good friend in college who was this way. I felt quite inadequate in my ability to provide a compelling case for my beliefs. In the end, God used my contributions of love and acceptance for his purposes.
I ought to remember this experience that illustrates well that it is not me who will cause another’s belief. It will ultimately be God working in a person’s heart and that person’s own encounters with God. My role is to live what I believe and be open to sharing my experiences with others. The rest is up to God.
And perhaps that is how I ought to live each day – open to encounters God may have for me. Choosing to be open to anything and not staying doggedly focused on my own agenda or to do list. To trust that seeking God will help me to choose what is needed. What is better.