Sunday, November 10, 2013

Losing your life to gain what

When she started to follow Jesus seriously, she gave up the thing she was best at and loved most: writing about music.  Recently, as we were studying Luke 9, she wondered if that counted as laying down her life to save it.  At the time, she thought it was.  She couldn't see any way that her writing about secular music could lead anyone to Jesus, so she left it behind.  (Oh, hyper-evangelicalism, you make me so sad.)  As far as I can tell, she didn't really replace it with anything.  So now she is not doing what she loves and not necessarily leading anyone to Jesus that she can see, and she is miserable (for this and many additional reasons). 

It seems like she is more miserable because a couple of people in the group ARE writers and see that as part of who they are in Christ.  And it kindles this longing inside her that she isn't sure she shouldn't smother. 

I had to resist the urge to respond right away, though several things came to mind.
  • The Bible doesn't necessarily indicate that we need to leave behind anything that isn't directly related to leading souls to the kingdom or whatever evangelical, Christianese phrase you prefer.
  • Jesus didn't tell soldiers or tax collectors to stop what they did, drop everything, and go become full-time preachers.
  • The Bible does say we should work heartily as unto the Lord, not for men or praise. 
  • The Bible doesn't really indicate that vocation and avocation must be the same and anything that is not avocation must be abandoned.
  • God loves beauty and beautiful things, and good art is beautiful.
  • God sees beauty in broken things/people other people think are worthless and dirty.
  • It's okay to work hard at a craft and create beautiful things; we serve a creator God.
  • What exactly did stopping writing about what you love do to help you gain abundant life?

I shut my mouth firmly and resisted the urge to say anything or even follow up because she was Not Making Eye Contact in that skittish way she has of offhandedly revealing truths about her life that she is deathly afraid will get her judged in some way.   Normally, I would not have the presence of mind to notice the body language and think thoughts and stop myself from saying them.  Perhaps this gluten-free thing my doctor is having me do is a good idea.  Or maybe the Holy Spirit hit the brakes for me?

I really need to ask a lot of follow-up questions to get a better understanding of the situation before I start throwing out statements that she could take as judgments.  (She can twist almost any statement into something she perceives as a judgment. : )  If I understand the situation better, maybe I can ease things slowly into a direction where she can think things through and make a different decision now.

Things I want to know
  • What did she write? 
  • Who was her audience? 
  • When did she make this decision? 
  • Why, exactly did she give it up (there had to be multiple reasons beyond the simple one she tossed out there)? 
  • Does she feel the same way about these reasons now? 
  • Can she see a way she might be able to use her writing for a purpose she feels is more redemptive? 

Any other questions you can think of that I can try to slowly and slyly trot out there so as not to scare this fragile honesty away?

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