On wrestling between super spirituality and apathy

I am kind of an extremist. Actually, saying "kind of" is just a lie.

I tend to vacillate between "treat yo self!" and "nothing will ever taste as good as being thin feels." (again, "tend to" is just a lie.)

Apply extreme views to every area of my life. I'm either all in or I'm throwing in the towel. Running ten miles or lounging on the couch. I have no concept of this "moderation" you speak of... or happy mediums. And, while I try not to impose my insanity on my kids, I'm sure I fail. Like, every single day. Multiple times a day. Fail big or go home!

I am sad to report that my extreme tendencies are not consigned to habits alone. My spiritual life and relationship with Jesus are also susceptible to my polarizing lifestyle.

Why is no one taking the Bible seriously?!!? Why is no one convicted of sin or trying to reach the lost? Why does no one value God's Word or social justice? People are dying and going to HELL! Where is the sense of urgency? Must tell everyone about Jesus.

A few days later...

I can't handle Christians. They take everything SO seriously. Can't we just joke around and read pointless books and binge inappropriate tv shows? Is it really that big of a deal if we cuss occasionally? Do we have to be so somber and devastated over our sin all of the time? I cannot do this today. I am done. I am going to eat some Ben and Jerry's and watch Parks and Rec... again. Or, ooh, Aziz Ansari's show has a second season? Maybe I'll watch that...

Can I be totally honest and say I find myself jealous of people on both sides of the religious aisle? I love my friends that are so ABOUT JESUS that everything is about Him. I remember being in a car with a girl (woman... why can't I say "woman"?) and we were talking about eating spaghetti for dinner and that launched a (fairly long) soliloquy on how God made pasta and food and how good must food taste in heaven. I was pretty astonished... there I was hoping the sauce would be more of the meaty side and she went straight to God's provision and kindness. This lady is one of the most joyful people I know and she always makes me feel encouraged.

Then I have my lukewarm believer friends. They don't seem to have any guilt or convicting over their obviously non-Christian lifestyle. They are totally fine saying they're believers without being a part of a local church or ever reading their Bibles. They say they love Jesus, yet they live as they choose. I find myself jealous of them, too. How do they just go about life so casually? Never actually evangelizing or feeling broken over the unbelievers in their lives? To be fair, I only have pretty surface-level relationships with these friends, so if there is a deeper level of conviction or doubt, I don't see it.

So, where's the middle ground here? How do we feel broken over our sin, wrestle with urgency concerning our friends' eternity, love the Word, be sorrowful yet rejoicing, and not ALSO seem like an out-of-touch Holy Roller on the verge of donning a denim jumper and waist-length braids?

In short, I don't know. I do know that God made us all uniquely... I don't have to stop running in shorts and tank top because some of my believing friends feel convicted to always wear skirts. My friends don't have to give up watching violent films because I feel convicted to do so. There's a lot of black and white in the Bible, true. We aren't giving out passing to commit adultery or murder your annoying cousin and proclaiming grace and forgiveness. But, there's a lot of gray in the Bible, too. I know of believers who only listen to Christian music whereas I am quick to put on some Eminem if my kids aren't around. I don't think I am sinning when I do so, but my friends feel like they are. God is gracious to make us unique individuals with our own convictions. Let's love the Bible and do what it says, yes. And let's pray for one another and (in love) point each other away from besetting sin and toward the Cross. But, let's not get bogged down in a life of Christian drudgery.
Image result for joy public domain

Finding joy in a nonspiritual thing such as a piece of pizza does not mean I don't care about my atheist neighbors. Trying to obey the Bible and pursue holiness does not mean I have to be a killjoy. Knowing my personality, I'm sure I will continue to struggle with this balance. But I think it's there, I think it's possible.

So, let's soldier on, fighting the good fight. But, let's not be content with a life of dutiful joylessness and martyrdom. It's okay to have fun. Let's have fun and do good and love Jesus along the way.


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