Another Resolution Post
At one point in time, I was interviewing for a job at a church when the question was asked about my strengths and spiritual gifts, a very common and pertinent question. Part of my answer was about discipleship – that this is a very big part of who I am and what I am passionate about, as well as what I’m good at. But ever since I’ve been asked that question, there has been this nagging thought in the back of my mind…
Am I passionate about discipleship, or is it all I know?
I grew up in church. I went to a Christian high school. I was a leader in my youth group. I went to a Christian college. I interned at a church. I worked at Christian camps. I worked full time in two churches. I now work for a faith-based non profit that lives out the gospel in really tangible ways. I recently moved to Nashville, where everyone I know and hang out with is through work or church.
All this is to say, I am genuinely passionate about discipleship, but it’s literally what I know. Ever since that interview, I have been looking around and seeing who I know and interact with, and the overwhelming response is I interact relationally exclusively with followers of Jesus. I’d walk around that church that asked me the question and realized that 85% of my time was spent in that building. And that was my job, and what we were doing was valuable, but it wasn’t challenging me to love better (which is a much bigger commentary on my own character and what was going on with me, and nothing to do with my role or the church). And a lot of time, it had been my job to equip those people to be the ones who are taking Jesus into their relationships, and while, yes, I do take Jesus into my relationships, very often or not, I am not very proactive in developing relationships with nonbelievers.
Before we get any farther, let me be very, very clear: developing relationships doesn’t mean being outside of a solid, consistent faith community, and developing relationships merely for a goal, or any ulterior motives is not ok. That is disingenuous and everyone sees through relationships that are fake. It’s not a relationship if you only interact with someone only to get them to do something, that’s manipulation, and at worse, just sales.
So this led me to think that my resolution this year should be to grow in relationships. I rarely put myself in situations where I can meet people who are different from me, but it’s a lot bigger than just growing in relationships.
The story of Jesus is the story of stepping out, of engaging people for the reason of stepping into their story, and quite often I have been the person who just lets people come to me. So this year, I have decided to stop letting it be a nagging question in the back of my mind, to be more intentional in stepping outside of myself and my circles. This is probably going to be awkward, but I am kinda awkward, so I’m ok with that. But I’m not okay with being safe in relationships. I’m not okay with being passive. I’m not okay with solely surrounding myself with people who think like me, no matter how progressive and cool we think we are.
So this is my resolution: to love bigger.
To love outside of my circles, to love outside my comfort zone. To love people I don’t naturally love. To love people I don’t love easily. My love is so small, and that makes me sad motivated. Love > comfort.
What about you? Do love people a certain way because that’s how you’ve done it or because that’s how you are called to love? Do you want to join me in loving bigger, not out of obligation, but because that’s how Jesus did? Do you have other resolutions?