I recently entered into a very thought-provoking and respectful conversation on social media (yes, it can and does happen) about a strange topic. ‘God Never Hurries.’ That is all it said and before I knew it, I had responded with, “Are you sure?” You know those moments when you are contemplating the topic and you don’t realize your fingers are actually responding to it? Yeah, that was this.
This is actually something I have been pondering for quite sometime though, not this particular topic, but it does relate. Now bear with me, I will try to bring it all back around. I believe that we have made a standard out of Christ. Which is good!!! Well, to a certain degree this is good! If you have attended a Christian church of ANY denomination, you will have heard it spoken over and over again that we need to make it our goal to be more like Christ. AND I AGREE WHOLE HEARTEDLY! But I believe, or at least I have noticed a pattern in my own life, that we have strayed from ‘being like” and have now made it our goal to ‘be’ Christ without ever saying as much in actual words.
This became very real to me in the aforementioned conversation. It isn’t that we are striving to be God, but by placing so much focus on being like Christ– which is actually an unattainable goal, we might as well be as we are setting ourselves up for certain failure. And I don’t think that was Christ’s purpose in coming to this earth. We can never be as loving as God or as gentle, patient, kind, authoritative, honorable, altruistic or selfless, put the adjective in and we will never match up; but I think that is because God and humankind are playing two very different games.
Where God came to bring wholeness in the midst of division, we tend to believe he came to bring perfection to imperfection– to make the imperfect… perfect. But I think, if we look at the whole of Scripture, we find that it is the reverse of that. Finding perfection in the midst of imperfection, finding peace inside of chaos, finding hope in the middle of complete despair, and even Christ exhibited this in being completely God and completely human, being in time and outside of time, being the Creator and the created. I think I have lived Christianity as ‘either or,’ but now I understand it as ‘both.’ Because I will never be exactly like Christ, but I can be exactly who he created me to be. And that is one of the things, I think, we have lost sight of in the Christian faith: that we have been created uniquely and have been called to be like Christ as much as we can be while embracing what makes us individuals and human.
I experienced this in a very beautiful way about two weeks ago. I was home alone with the two kids, we had appointments we needed to be at very quickly, they wanted to play, I wanted to duck tape them into their winter clothes, and right as frustration was beginning to mount, in my spirit I felt a quiet realization. I am Bethlehem. I am not Jesus, I am not Mary or Joseph, the shepherds, wise men, angels or any of the imagined animals we so often picture. I am Bethlehem in all the mayhem and rush, tumble, filth (I am potty training my second born, need I say more?) and in this moment, I choose to make space and welcome in the Holy. I can’t avoid all of the busy-ness or hurried-ness, some of it is good and I don’t want to miss out on it– kids, hello!, so I don’t think that is a realistic goal. There will always be a sense of chaos, despair, fear, hatred, and whatever, but I can be present, mindful, and make room for Christ in the middle of it. Like Jesus would for us.