Every now and then, I think God has to smack us upside the head to remind us who HE is (emphasis on the big HE) and who we are (emphasis on the little we). This time, He chose to smack me upside the head with a book called Crazy Love, by Frances Chan.
I have read a lot of books in my life. A lot of really good ones that have gone a long way in shaping the way I believe. And when I’m in the middle of a good book, I find thoughts from time to time that strike a chord. And, when I do, I find myself doing the same thing: Nodding my head, uttering a heartfelt “Mm,” and dragging out my pen so that I can underline it to come back to later.
Crazy Love is a different story. It’s not one of those books that you read and it comforts you and gives you pretty, inspiring thoughts to save for a rainy day. No, no, no. This book could probably be characterized as BEING a rainy day. Don’t you get me wrong–there is a ridiculous amount of truth in it. However, make no mistake; the truth will set you free–but it’ll shake you up first. Make you defensive. Make you uncomfortable. Make you flat-out mad at the person speaking it. But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s the truth, and it doesn’t change the fact that you need to hear it.
I am learning that I have a pride problem. The thought that life is not about me or my comfort or happiness hits me pretty hard. So does the knowledge that I’m just as convinced of the righteousness of my ways as the next guy–that one for whom the word “self-righteous” slides off the tongue so easily. So much so that even as I type that sentence, I fight to keep from thinking, “Yeah, but at least I’m becoming aware of my self-righteousness. God Himself couldn’t convince him that man he’s prideful.”
I’m learning that I am the definition of lukewarm. That God is in my heart–but that hasn’t really changed my life all that much. It hasn’t become practical yet, or honestly started to affect the way I spend my time, my money, my heart. In theory, sure–but in actual practice? Questionable. I still go out of my way to ensure that everything about my life is primarily safe, and secondarily Christlike.
I’m learning that I’m afraid of being an extremist. Not really because of what people will think, to be honest–but because it might take away some of my sense of entitlement to comfort. I’m starting to find it funny how many times I think “I don’t want to be an extremist.” But the only times I ever think or say that are when I’m staring down the barrel of something that might deprive me of some level of comfort that I’m accustomed to. That seems terribly convenient. And in reality…if I don’t want to be an extremist, do I actually even believe what the Bible says? It was absolutely full of characters who did things and lived lives that can ONLY be characterized as extreme–including Jesus Himself. Jesus wasn’t really one to do things halfway. So why do I feel this constant compulsion to avoid living a radical life as though it’s something that would make me crazy?
Comfortable is becoming uncomfortable.