“It’s your life. What you gonna do? The world is watching you. Every day the choices you make say what you are and who your heart beats for. It’s an open door. It’s your life.”
The lyrics above from Francesca Battistelli beg the question: What is it that you live for? That’s the question that’s been going round in round in my head as I look at the world around me and consider the people I know and interact with regularly.
I looked at my Twitter profile today, which forces you to give your bio in 160 characters or less. Here is what I wrote: “Mom of three, lucky wife. Christ follower. Pastor’s wife. Communications professional at the University of Washington. Adventure seeker.” That is how I’ve summed up my life for people.
How do you sum up your life? Some of my friends (from what I can tell!) define themselves in these ways: Housewife, Artist, Gay, Christian, Atheist, Political wonk, Techies, PR geeks, Students, Liberal, Conservative, Athlete.
By define, I mean we live our lives in ways that actively promote those definitions. And before I go further, because I’m 100% someone is going to take offense at my words, I want to be clear: my friends are my friends in spite of our differences. I try to look at people’s hearts and learn more about what makes them tick. I try to understand what drives them to act in certain ways. And I sure hope the following explains why some of you may think I’m a little out of tune with society.
In my life, first and foremost, I am guided by my faith in and relationship with Jesus Christ. I believe all mankind are sinners and are by our sinful nature condemned to die. However, I also believe Jesus Christ is the Savior, the long-promised Messiah – and through him I have forgiveness from my sins. We all have that gift of forgiveness; however, many people feel that the gift has too high of a price (obedience to God) or reject it as a fairy tale. I can’t control what you think. But I do believe in God’s word as the guide for my life.
I know I’m far from perfect – not even close to it. But I strive to be an imitator of Christ (and that is a really hard thing to do). But I try. Based on this, where I (and my husband) go, where we work, how we raise our kids, where we spend the majority of our non-work hours (okay – officially some are now “work” hours since Ian is a pastor!), and the lifestyle we live is focused on following God’s direction. It may not always be an easy path to follow, but we strive to follow regardless of the cost. We have so many examples of following when the path isn’t clear only to have the pieces come together in mind-blowing ways.
So what is the cost of my obedience to God? Being called intolerant, racist, and other terms that make it clear we are the antithesis of societal norms, etc. Losing friends – and it’s happened – because the choices we make or support align with our understanding of God’s word. Not fitting in with society. Watching all we hold sacred be cast aside for things we deem morally wrong. The list goes on.
1 Peter 2:11-12 notes this is to be expected. “Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles [in this world] to abstain from the sensual urges (the evil desires, the passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that wage war against the soul. Conduct yourselves properly (honorably, righteously) among the Gentiles, so that, although they may slander you as evildoers, [yet] they may by witnessing your good deeds [come to] glorify God in the day of inspection.” (Amplified version of the Holy Bible)
But the beauty in living this way is noted in Romans 8:3-6: “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” (New International Version of the Holy Bible)
In a time when it’s by all means getting harder to live as a devoted Christian, I’ve put my faith out here for you – I’ve bared my soul. I have traveled the path of self-discovery to know that this is what my heart beats for. You may disagree, you may be repulsed, or you may be intrigued. If you’re surprised by this, we should certainly talk, because I feel that my life is pretty much an open book. But what I do ask is that you give me what I have given you for your different beliefs – common courtesy.
On that fine note, let me ask you: What are YOU committed to? It’s easy to say we’re committed to something, but how committed are you really? Do you donate your time, money, and resources? Do you stick to your word to do something, even when it’s inconvenient? I know a person who espouses many things, but in real life doesn’t act on any of it. There’s always an excuse not to do, not to get involved, to keep the hands clean. It brings to mind this quote:
“You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hard-boiled egg.”
What does that mean? It means unless you actually demonstrate continual commitment – to take a stand for whatever it is – it is just something you “intend” to do. Don’t be a hard-boiled egg!
Finally, in case you wanted to hear the full song from Francesca, here it is for your viewing/listening pleasure. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cavJksxBdOo