Not everyone starts out in the same place, so it amazes me that people can expect one another to be at the same destination.
What do you mean Jess?
People grow up with good families or friends they still have and so they might have yet to experience true loneliness, loss, or bitterness towards God.
How many times have we heard that God doesn’t withhold any good thing? And yet it doesn’t always look the same across every individual life story.
So in the spirit of transparency these are some of the ways I have struggled to fully embrace being a ride-or-die Christian in lieu of life’s hardships, the shallowness of the Christian church, and my disappointment with God’s timing or even desire to fix these areas.
There are many many other things I could share from almost 35 years of being alive but you get the point.
So why am I sharing this?
Because while we all have obstacles, some of us seem to have heavier weights than others. It’s not a competition – but it’s worth considering when judging other people for where they are. For some reason when it comes to faith – specifically Christian faith – we act like none of that should get in the way of our spiritual journey, feelings towards Church, or our relationship with God.
And that’s kind of hilarious and disappointing.
While I don’t profess to have all the answers or sometimes any of them to be frank – I have always been honest and that is something I plan to be forever – for better or for worse. I want people to never feel like they are alone. That someone else has also had it hard in life but doesn’t want to be defined by it. Is hoping for breakthrough, or a break at the very least to feel hopeful for change or understood by a spiritual community.
So where do we go from here?
I think we challenge ourselves to be more graceful, understanding, and open to the ways in which people live their lives to start. And if it’s important for you to see them progressing by your “standards” of what a typical Christian life is – see if you’re adding to an existing problem or alleviating it.
If you meet someone like me who has not experienced true family and wonder why that person may be hesitant to connect with other people.
Ask yourself: What have I done this year, if anything, to be a consistent advocate for this person in their every day life. Do I text them every week? Do I meet them for coffee? Do I go over and watch a tv show with them? Am I perpetuating their negative feelings of family or being a source of good, new experiences of what family can be?
If you meet someone like me who struggled or is still struggling with feelings of perfectionism
Ask yourself: What have I done this year, if anything, to perpetuate feelings of inferiority to this person both personally and spiritually? Is my criticism of this person necessary or welcome in their life? Do I show this person that I’m invested in their life regardless of decisions they are making or if I approve of them.
I could go on forever.
But something that deeply disturbs me is how most of the Christians I see on social media, every day normal people, are commenting on stranger’s pages with truly hateful, judgmental, language and there is no way this is changing anyone’s life for the better. Even if you have more tact than those kinds of people, even sharing a blunt word or Bible verse to someone who is experiencing real pain is not the move. I’m sorry it’s just not.
So this is my request to try something different, something more gentle, more loving, more invested. People are worth the extra effort.