The Unspeakables

4:11 PM

There's a girl on campus I absolutely adore. She even has a fan club (comprised solely and secretly of me and my best friend). For all purposes and intentions, she is the epitome of Christ-likeness -- leads Bible study, studies hard, responsible, articulate, thoughtful, gentle, intelligent (she'd laugh if she read this, but it's true). Claire and I throw our hands up in the air and moan about how someday, somehow, we want to be like her.

Sometimes, I find myself trying to be like the followers of Jesus instead of Jesus Himself.

I read too much (and then again, of course I don't or else I wouldn't have such a huge stack of Russian novels waiting for me when I get home). I read Christian books, mainly -- not Amish love stories but nonfiction books about Christian life. So many beautiful hearts, beautiful testimonies, sage advice, encouragement. I read these books and feel renewed to copy them. I trot down that road for awhile and then I think, "Wait a second -- why do I have to be like them? Who said my story remotely aligns with theirs?"

I get this idea that Christian life can be extrapolated only one way from Scripture...and it can't. Because it's not about following the most outspoken Christian but about following Christ alone. And He's called me to be Bailey and no one else. 

The thing that hooks me most about Christian nonfiction is not necessarily the content but the person behind it, who pours out her heart in beautiful prose. (Has anyone, for instance, not heard of Jessica Shae? Pardon me while I fan girl yet again.) And I get this idea that the most mature Christians write beautifully, take wonderful photos, speak at conferences, start small businesses and pastor churches that send missions trips to all parts of the earth. They blog, they write books, they speak, they may even do a little poetry on the side.

You know what? We never hear from the Christians whose spiritual gifts do not include leading and teaching, the shy ones, the introverted ones, the ones who get tongue-tied when trying to put into the words the glorious experience of walking with Christ Jesus. Why don't we hear from them? Because they don't show up in the speaking line up at the homeschool conference or write books for Crossway. They aren't the first to speak up in Sunday school. They don't function as visible leaders in the church.

I thought them lesser Christians -- because, you know, to be anything less than a leader is to shrink from responsibility! If you can't articulate every doctrine perfectly, it's because you're immature! If you don't step up to the plate, by golly, you -- you just aren't like me, because I wrote the Christian books and blogs and sermons on what it means to be Christian.

I realized we might never hear the other side of Christianity -- never hear from those who don't yell up a storm in the pulpit over the righteousness of God but instead cry silently in the pew, overjoyed with the mercy and goodness of God. We might never hear from those at home who comfort, pray with and encourage the more outspoken Christians. We might never hear from them, because their primary gifts come from the heart, the hands, time, money.

We need all of the Christians -- the ones who write the books and the ones who live quiet lives worth putting into books. 

I know this, because I need both kinds of Christians. There isn't just one Christian I've found who possesses all godliness (except, maybe, the above-mentioned young woman who I adore), all knowledge, all perfection. I go to one friend for guidance, one for encouragement, one for back rubs, one for a slap in the face, one for a good laugh, one for a good cry. No one Christian possesses everything a Christian ought to be. That's why we have Jesus. 

And that's why we can't follow the followers or else we'll miss out on what it means to be a follower. We'll miss out on a lot of things, actually -- like love and Christ and the entire other side of Christianity.

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3 impressions

  1. mmmm this is definitely something to think about. when I ponder it, it makes me blush, because I realize I do equate the "greater" Christians as the ones who are more extroverted, outgoing, and outspoken. but, honestly, I think it's a mistake we can all make. when someone is, for lack of a better phrase, shoved in our faces on a regular basis, it's hard NOT to notice them. now, is that an excuse? NOPE. :) I'm trying to learn the art of seeing the beauty in ALL people, in ALL Christians. like Paul has steamrolled over several times (oh, Paul. I just love Paul), not all of us have the same spiritual gifts. and I think there's a certain beauty to that -- how boring would it be if we were all the same? and not only how boring, but how much would we *really* get done as Christians if we all had the same spiritual gifts? I don't know where I'm really going with this, but hopefully it all makes sense. basically, AMENAMENAMEN to what you said. :)

  2. Great reminder Bailey - it's so easy to forget WHO is to be our focus! may we press on with eyes focused only on Jesus! thanks for sharing!


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