When it comes to your love life, let me offer you some friendly advice, don’t take friendly advice, because your friends give the worst. Let me explain.
Tyler’s relationship guarantee: Someday, before you die, you’ll have at least one … ehhhh… maybe two “disagreements” with your significant other. I know that’s hard to believe for you folks dating out there (and I know you’re out there, you compose a significant percentage of our readership), because you found Mr. Right. And she’s perfect. He’s amazing. Cue Canon in D and call Stephenie Meyer because you two aren’t vampires, but your love is something to behold.
I almost didn’t write this blog for one reason… It’s different.
It’s different than what I normally write. It’s different in style, different in content. And when I write different, I find that people tend to like it less, which means they share it less, which means the blog reaches less, and (honest moment of self-reflection and inevitable depravity) deep down inside I want people to read what I write.
Even though I shouldn’t desire it as much as I do, I subconsciously slip into the trap of measuring success the way the world does – Numbers! Hits! Clicks! Mentions! Likes! Followers! Viral!
In the past, I’ve actually trashed topics I’ve sensed God wanted me to write because I knew they were just different enough not to take off. And that’s wrong. So I just decided this time that can’t be the case. I decided to blog this anyways, despite how I predict people will respond (or how people won’t respond), because I believe God has really been speaking to me.
Updated: 8:50AM, 11/4/13
A few weeks ago, in a small-group I lead for non-Christians interested in Jesus, I heard one of the more terrifying stories I’ve heard since starting ministry (for the sake of privacy, details have been altered). It was a story of an older gentleman, a wonderful older gentleman named Theo.
Theo wasn’t a Christian (until recently). He knew of Jesus but, self-admittedly, he didn’t “follow” Jesus. Nonetheless, he had lived a full life, raised great kids, with healthy grandkids, and had been married to the same woman for twenty-five years.
From the first day I met Theo, I liked him. He had this soft smile that lit up the room, and a dignified manner that made me think he was secretly British royalty. He dressed nice, talked nice, and always had thoughtful questions for the group. Everyone in the group loved Theo, and that’s because they sensed Theo genuinely loved everyone in the group.
Then a few weeks back Theo shared his horror story. About six months ago, his wife of twenty-five years left him. Theo said she decided, “She doesn’t love me anymore.” For the seventh time, Theo caught her having an affair, and despite his best efforts to reconcile the relationship… again… she left him. Kicking and screaming the entire way. Blaming Theo for her years of infidelity. Leaving him standing there cold and alone.
Faith isn’t always certainty. Actually, if you think about it, faith inherently implies a degree of uncertainty. It implies room for discovery and reflection, margin for debate and growth. Otherwise, it would be called certainty, not faith.
Now this isn’t to say faith can’t be fact or trusted. It isn’t to say one can’t be confident in their faith-based worldview. (Really, everyone’s worldview is faith-based, religious or not, whether they admit it or not, because no worldview has complete certainty.) It’s just to say that faith and certainty aren’t necessarily the same thing.
Yet, far too often, the faithful crusade that any degree of uncertainty is un-faith. Many venemously argue: A person’s faith is as strong as they are free of doubt. But this causes so many problems on so many levels.
1. This is why many people choose not to follow Jesus.
Busy is in. Like totally. In fact, it’s just what people do. You aren’t cool if you aren’t busy. You aren’t doing life right if you’re schedule isn’t about to explode. In fact, your existence and personhood must be pretty trivial and meaningless if you have time for all three meals and more than five hours of sleep a night. (I imagined writing that in the voice of a middle-school girl.)
When people ask how you’re doing, don’t be foolish, use this recurring moment to cast vision to all your friends, family, and coworkers about how ridiculously important you are, “I’m busy. So busy. Crazy busy. Thank God for coffee, because this week has been nuts.”
And now that you have over 500 friends on Facebook and a few hundred more on Twitter, don’t miss the opportunity to remind your captive audience how needed you are! Remind them how many hours you spent at work today. Update them on your ridiculous weekend. And keep them appraised on all thirty-seven extra-curricular activities your three children are involved in. Oh wait, it’s basketball season again… thirty-eight.
Our cultural proclamation is that achievement is of the highest importance. Significance, security, and joy are found in achievement. If you aren’t achieving, you’re losing. If you aren’t achieving, well, everyone else is, and you’ll soon be left behind. If you aren’t achieving, you’re dying, because every wasted second is but another second you can’t get back in your precious life. And your time is your life, so wasting your life is just irresponsible.