This is going to be one of those posts that ruffle some feathers, but let me tell you, that is not my intention. I am honestly coming to you all with an open heart and a confession on my heart. I am being challenged. And it hurts.
My walk with God has always been one of ups and downs. I have experienced many trials in my short life, this last year being the hardest by far. And can I admit something? When I walk through the desert place, I am not singing “Blessed be the name of the Lord”. I know it’s okay to mourn. I know it’s okay to lament. I know that when my heart is hurting and angry it’s okay to shout out to my God “Lord, why have you forsaken me!”.
This last year has been one of questioning, one of yelling, one of many tears and a lot of “I’m not talking to You right now”. But as promised, the skies are clearing up once again and I’ve found myself on my knees begging to know God like I used to. Before I got tired. Before I gave up.
God is answering me. And He’s telling me how I can get back there. And it’s going to hurt.
It’s going to hurt because He’s opening my eyes to the contradictions of living in this world and following God. And I’m not talking about gossiping and sexuality and the typical things we Christians like to stand above. I’m talking about life. The more I beg to be close to God, the more confused I am by Christians in this world, and I am not being judgemental, because believe me this includes me as much as it does you.
I’ve been asking myself Why?
Why does the Bible say “the borrower becomes the lenders slave” (Proverbs 22:7) but we continue to get credit cards to maintain a standard of living? We buy cars we can’t afford? We buy homes we have to get loans for? We take out college loans? Why are we encouraging, supporting and normalizing becoming slaves? Like I said, this hurts me. We are about to buy a minivan, and I can tell you one thing, we don’t have the cash for it. So, yes, we are taking out a loan. Do I feel good about it? No. Do I wish this struck me a year ago so we could have planned? Absolutely.
Why does the Bible say “children are a blessing from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3-5) yet there still exists an idea in our society, even among Christians, that children a burden? Even if one won’t say “children are a burden” though many do, it’s apparent in our culture, by our responses to families with many children (“you know how that keeps happening right?” or “you must have your hands full”), our reponses to pregnancies that are spaced differently than what is normal (“don’t you use birth control?” “was this planned?”). While using family planning can be responsible, smart and even used when a child would be greatly rejoiced over (an illness in the family, financial hardship, etc) it is also an example of how our society has led us to believe that we have the final say over our reproduction. When a baby is created, whether it was done with intent from the parents or not, we have to let go of what we think is the right time and say “Thank you Lord for Your indescribable gift.” And if it’s not your baby, just rejoice for the parents. (That, my friend, is a personal request!)
Why does the Bible tell us to be modest, not flashy and not adorn ourselves with braids and expensive things, but we still buy designer clothing (on those credit cards that make us slaves) and die without makeup and wear bikinis to the beach? Now, this one I can live with, because I don’t buy expensive clothes, in fact, I hardly ever buy clothes for myself. And I gave up bikinis just before I became pregnant with Matthew, because I realized it was ridiculous to walk around in underwear, regardless of the fact that everyone else was doing it. I don’t really get my hair or nails done, at least not as much as I’d like to. But I’d like to! And I like to feel beautiful. I think feeling beautiful is okay, I think making ourselves look in a way that makes men lust over us or women jealous of us is not profitable to godliness, however it’s generally accepted in our Christian society. Please know that I’m not suggesting the Bible says we ought to go out in torn clothing and without washing our hair. I don’t think that people who curl their hair and wear eyeliner are in sin. I just think that it’s become such a social norm, that we forget it’s not always leading us, and others, towards godliness.
These are just a few, I’m sure, of the contradictions in life and the Bible. But these are the few that are standing out to me right now, as I battle with myself and battle with the world, feeling like I’m going the wrong way down a one way street. I don’t necessarily think these things are sinful, but are they leading us towards the abundant life that Jesus has called us to?
Not only do I want to be closer to God, but I want others to feel like I am moving them closer to God. I don’t want the be the person who says “Take out a loan!” when someone says they need a new car or want to finance a homebirth. I don’t want to be the person who says “Oh my gosh, buy those shoes! You need them!” I definitely don’t want to be the person who makes a woman feel like her choice to give her fertility up to God is crazy. Because I think she’s brave. Because need and want are not the same. And because I want to know that and live that.
*I’m adding a disclaimer here: these are not my full and final thoughts on any of these subjects, this is just me wondering out loud. I am trying to figure out the contradictions, where the lines are, and what things are beneficial and profitable, not just permissible. If you have scripture references and would like to discuss any of these items, feel free to comment below! I always appreciate good, Biblical information.