The Christian Atheist, by Craig Groeschel. Don’t have it? GET IT. Because any Christian book that references Ricky Bobby and has section titles like “Hell No” has got to be awesome.
I picked it up from the library this week because it’s orange, and orange is my first-and-a-half favorite color. It’s pretty funny, and easy to read and relate to–at least for me. It’s hitting nerves all over the place, particularly playing on the “faith without works is dead” theme. (Thanks so much God! You really packed a punch with the entire book of James!) I’m getting a lot of that lately. Think God’s trying to tell me something?
So basically I’m there right now. I can’t wrap my head around God. Grace, faith, obedience. What do I emphasize most? When I pray, I’m supposed to remember how infinitely powerful and amazing God is, but I’m also supposed to pray like I’m talking with someone close to me. So what is it? Is God unfathomably Holy or is he my bff? How can it be both? What does God want me to do?
Do I sign up for every service opportunity and have less quiet prayer time, or do I have quiet prayer time and let someone else scramble to pick up the slack?
Do I write God stuff on my blog and lose more readers? Or do I people-please by sticking to everyday mom-topics and sneaking in the occasional spiritual nugget?
Do I paint some bible verses on canvas to sell with my other stuff next month at the art market, or do I concentrate on knocking out paintings that are more hipster-friendly?
Do I send friends and family members books I find inspiring and uplifting, knowing they’ll probably just gather dust on a closet shelf and I’ll be labeled as a religious nut job? Or do I keep the books and let them gather dust on my closet shelf?
Do I invite my neighbors to church and inadvertently insult them? Or do I wait for them to approach me when and if they should decide to try it?
Is it sad that these are things that I lose sleep over? That as a Christian, these are the toughest issues in my real life? God says: Yeah, probably. I already know the answer to many of these questions. They’re no-brainers, in fact.
So why the struggle?
I want to say it’s something to do with the fact that I gave up Cherry Coke for Lent, and the lack of caffeine is affecting my thinking and decision-making capabilities. But the real situation is this: no matter how close I think I am getting to God, I am not close enough. We can’t slack off in our prayer time. We can’t not read God’s words in the bible. We can’t ignore our friends or family or neighbors. We can’t pray for God to get us into the art market and then create only what we think will bring in the most cash. We can’t horde clothes and towels in the corner of our bedroom with the intention of donating them to charity and then NOT DONATE them.
I have so much work to do.