Lately there has been a gnawing, a stirring, a thought that I just can't get over.
And I think I can sum it up in one word:
Ladies . . . why do we do this??
Why do we feel like if we don't measure up to Sally, Susie, or Sandy then we're lame, less than, or losers?
I promise there is no place I feel more insecure and inadequate than in the kitchen. I feel like to be a REAL woman you have to cook instagram worthy dinners and bake "just for fun".
I don't speak that language. I would be happy eating bean burritos every night for dinner. I literally overcooked chicken by an hour (on accident) 2 days ago and have baked maybe 5 times in my whole life (and by bake I mean dumping the brownie mix in a bowl, cracking an egg, and throwing it in the oven).
Or I get the "Oh you'll see once you have children." or "You can't really understand the love of God until you have children." Really?! Dang. Stuck on junior varsity I guess. And I compare and feel like less of woman because I can't bake or don't have children.
But it doesn't just happen in the kitchen. It doesn't just happen at work, or in the neighborhood, or at the gym.
It happens in church. And this is where my heavy burden comes in.
Why do we compare clothes, families, husbands, cars, homes or whatever and let it place value or worth on our lives?
Why do we compare ministries and feel better than or less than?
Why do we compare giftings and callings and exalt one over the other?
And then Beth Moore & Jennie Allen go ahead and write the words that have been stirring in my mind and breaking my heart these past few weeks:
Living Proof Blog
Jennie Allen's Blog
I have felt such a burden lately because I read great challenging books that call me to reject my comfortable, Christianity is just for Sundays, type of life. But then afterwords, I'm not left with a challenge, I'm left with guilt.
When I first heard and understood the gospel, you know what words came to mind?
When I'm done reading some of these books, you know what words come to mind?
I have felt such a judgment for living in the suburbs, driving a nice car, and having granite countertops & stainless steal appliances lately. Literally an author quoted that "stainless steel appliances and granite countertops". Why?!?! And the sad thing?? I love the LORD, His word, His people and every.single.day I feel like a "less than" Christian because of where I live, stuff I have, and what I drive.
And I feel broken over this. And I wonder . . . when did that creep into Christianity? When did all the comparison for how to do church, disciple, live, and love start? When did all the slander against Megachurch pastors become okay? When did the stay at home mom in the suburbs who love's her neighbors become "less than" the mom who is doing the same downtown? When did fighting for a CAUSE become more important than loving CHRIST?
And yes, some of this needs to be said. Some of the ways we do church or spend our money is not glorifying to God. There are children dying of hungry every day and we're spending money left and right on stuff we don't need without blinking an eye. But a lot of it is spoken out of pride to slander and cut down others, to feel better about self. I listen to John 17 and hear Jesus praying "let them be ONE" over and over. Because He knows . . . we will be different, have different opinions, have different callings, live in different neighborhoods, look different, and love different. And that's good! As long as we have unity.
We NEED our ministries to look different, in different places, in different ways. I need my friend who lives downtown to remind me of God's heart for the poor. I need my friend who is in the process of adopting her 5th child to remind me of God's heart for the orphan. I need my friend who loves God's word to remind me to spend time abiding and meditating on truth. I need my friend who loves the outcast to remind me of God's love for the marginalized. I need that! But I don't need to take on their callings and passions as my own if the LORD isn't asking that of me. Perhaps my calling is different?
If we all live the same, look the same, and reach the same people how is that carrying out the Great Commission to make disciples wherever you are???
I wonder if there's a reasons God's commands say "Love God and love your neighbor" without a specific neighborhood. OR
"Go and make disciples" without a specific formula?
Perhaps because we as "religious" people love to turn this into (as Jennie Allen would say) the "new legalism". Adding to God's word, expecting other people's walk with Christ to look just like yours, otherwise they're probably not even a true disciple. We play the game of who can be more "radical" and then judge each other and compare.
Man that must grieve the LORD . . . when we are constantly looking at one another comparing and feeling defeated rather than looking at Jesus and feeling humbled and thankful.
I think about the Great Commandment, The Great Commission, and Jesus words in Matthew 6-7 & Matthew 11 and I find rest and peace. I fight DAILY to live for an audience of ONE and beg the LORD to help me keep laser beam focus on Him and His Kingdom. And it's a battle.
So I hope that wherever the LORD has you, you're living on mission. I hope whatever he has you doing (changing diapers in the suburbs or starting ministries downtown) you're doing it faithfully and with joy.
Most of all, let's find a way to stop comparing and competing, and find a way to challenge without condemning and love without judging.
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 6:1)
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:36-38)
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)