Saying Goodbye to Jen
I’m learning something about myself and the books I read. I am easily affected by books that tell me I just need to sacrifice more, say more of the right things, or live fearlessly and I’ll end up being an amazing force for God. They tug at the deep part of me that never feels like it measures up. I’m one who fees like I’ve been blessed by God because I’ve made right choices and because I toe the line. Going hand-in-hand with that belief is the feeling that I’m always in danger of making a mistake and making God angry at me. Those types of books feed that impression, because they focus on my actions.
I call this the rabid/frenetic genre. Its hallmark is the question “Do you REALLY believe Jesus meant what he said?” The reader is left feeling that she certainly doesn’t believe what Jesus said if she isn’t doing X,Y,or Z. X, Y and Z vary, based on the author, but they typically involve extreme monetary sacrifice, bucking the traditions of the church, or adoption. This genre grabs my attention and pulls me in, because it involves something I can DO.
Yet at the end of the books, I’m left feeling unsettled, inadequate and confused. I’m left with an intense desire to do SOMETHING for SOMEONE, but I can’t put my finger on what or whom.
I’ve decided to say goodbye to Francis Chan, David Platt, and Jen Hatmaker. For many their words have been inspiring, even life-changing. In me, however, they awake desires and actions that are based far too much on what I can do for the Kingdom, what I need to say, what I need to give. They make me forget that the work of evangelism is the work of the Spirit. They turn my focus from “Whom can I LOVE?” to “Whom can _I_ love?” They feed my pride.
Today I began reading a book by Beth Moore. I am always struck by the amount of scripture she includes in her studies. I feel that what she says to me is deeply rooted in the Word. Instead of awaking a frenetic energy in me, her words inspire me to turn more often to the word, to hear what God is saying to me, and to abide in God. Abiding is such a beautiful picture. I don’t have to feel the pressure to manufacture conversations or events that will allow me to share about God. I rest in Him, trusting that He will provide opportunities where I can love those He places in my life.
Goodbye, frantic. Hello, peace.