I had a really interesting conversation with someone this weekend concerning our walk with God and what it should look like and feel like. He was supposed to be baptized but backed out on it because he didn't feel like he was going to be doing it for the right reason so he said he would wait for the next baptism. Normally I don't butt in but I felt compelled to press him a little. So we discussed whether we should do what we ought to because we "feel" like it or because we just should.
I asked him "Do you want to be baptized?" He said "yes". "So why aren't you doing it?" I say. He says "Because I don't feel it and I think if I did it I would be doing it out of others pressuring me to do it." "Who is pressuring you?" "Well no one but I know it is expected of me which makes me not want to do it." Jenn's ears pricked up like a dog...... aha!! A rebel, just like me :) May I insert that I am rebellious in more milder ways and not major sinful ways. For instance my 10 year old found a bumper sticker in my 18 year old's stuff yesterday that said "I'm Naughty......Spank me." I laughed so hard and I wanted to put it on my car with tape and go to church with it just to see if anyone would say anything. It's a small church. I push limits sometimes :) Anyhoo, my husband hid it from me.
So I gently prodded him along in a conversation that leaned towards conviction. I sensed through the Holy Spirit that the root cause of this was guilt feelings brought on by conviction and frustration. The Holy Spirit was right but you know, it also had some to do with him feeling inadequate and less than for only coming to church on Sunday mornings. This is a big sticky point for me as I have lived just this thing and a tussle of sorts over just this topic led me to leave church in every way for 2 years in 2005 & 2006. Sometimes church people need to understand that some people lead very busy complicated lives and not push people to come more than once a week. For some, that is all they can do and that is perfectly fine as long as they are praying and talking to the Lord every day and in the Word. I used to work 50+ hours a week, usually 53 and I had 3 kids at that point, a big house to keep clean, yada yada and I went every Sunday morning and when I could also but good grief, my kids need me too. I would get a lot of flack for not being at every service and for me, that would have meant neglect for my kids. Yes it would. Momma was already at work at 5am, didn't get home until 6pm and started dinner right away. You know the drill, then I was dog tired from lifting 30lb + boxes all day long and working hard. Never mind the stress of supervising people. So, I could understand where he was coming from.
I tried to be helpful and he said he would do it. You know, sometimes we try to help people come closer to God and we drive them away instead. It's a shame. Every person has to walk their unique special walk with God. We all get to the same place by different routes and there are some times in our lives when we want to do more but we just can't. Pressuring someone and putting guilt feelings on them does not bring anybody closer to God. Saying if you had a closer relationship with God you would want to do "these things" only puts guilt on a new Christian if they just honestly don't want "those things" yet or just plain can't out of time constraints. I asked him if he was praying regularly and he said yes. He reads his bible on his cell phone too. Cool, didn't know you could do that. I think he's in a pretty good place for someone who works tons of hours to do what he is doing. I told him just keep moving forward. Don't stay still or go back. You do it how you need to do it but make sure you keep coming one day a week. A log doesn't burn unless it stays in the fire...... He agreed and tried to give me some crazy analogy about the lone log being able to burn by itself and I was like "don't even go there with me".
I encouraged him to keep on doing what he was doing and not feel guilty about only coming one day a week for now. God is not a God of guilt. He is praying and reading....it's all good. I had to make sure to let him know not to be frustrated that life was not going his way and link that to serving God. Serving God does not mean that our lives will be smothered and covered in protection and things go our way when we are good little boys and girls. Wish it did. We talked about that a little. We talked about blessings and worship. It was a good conversation.
Guilt feelings stink. Hate that. I'm sure he will be fine.
The Holy Spirit gave me the next topic to teach for our ladies class. It's on who we are in Christ. One of my favorite topics! I feel like I am supposed to take it in the direction of the Image of Woman in Christ. Well, that's what I got. I'll have to dig in with the Holy Spirit and see where it takes me. Since we will be discussing image I figure I'll throw in a couple of droopy boob jokes and we'll have a laugh or two ha ha.
Speaking of image. One day last week I took my 12 yr old to Gamestop to buy a game and I made a joke about being 40 and the two teens working there were like "No way are you 40, you look so young." Made my day :) Then the very next day I took my wedding ring to a jeweler to fix a prong that broke. He looked at the ring and then at me, back at the ring and said "How long have you been wearing this ring? At least 20 years I'd say." I said "It will be 12 years May 16, thank you very much." DORK. I guess I looked old to him. What does he know? Last night the subject of plastic surgery came up and I just tossed this out to Mike. I said I wanted to get implants in a few years so the girls would stay up. He said that was the stupidest and most insane thing he has ever heard me say. Which considering the things that fly out of my mouth is pretty good. I thought that was nice of him. I guess I haven't completely fallen apart yet ha ha. Maybe it's good that we are studying Image and Identity in Christ next. This just may be for me more than anyone. Turning 40 bites.