Remember that phase I went through in elementary school where I would wear a blonde wig around with a black beret? I’m pretty sure I also tried to convince people I was Australian.
This would have been cool except that I have enough red curly hair on my head to make wigs for every man, woman, and child in Northern Ireland with enough leftover for replacement fur for Scottish Highland cattle. Also, apparently all of my attempted accents sound French. Which would have made more sense with the beret (alas, hindsight is always 20/20).
To everyone who was unfortunate enough to experience me at that time in life must have thought I looked ridiculous.
I was NOT cool.
At the tender age of twenty-seven, I’m still not cool. At least, in the world’s eyes.
Because I’m a Christian.
Movies, television, and songs all say I need to look like a model, love recreational and casual sex, and party like there’s no tomorrow.
Of course I’m not cool because as a Christian I’m called to do the exact opposite—stand firm in the promise God created me for a purpose, looks and all; sex, while awesome, is to be saved for marriage; and while we are to enjoy the life He has given us we aren’t supposed to be getting drunk and living recklessly. To the world, my life sounds awful. Void of all the things that are supposed to make you feel alive and happy. I’m swimming against the flow of today’s tide. I’m counter-cultural. Christianity is counter-cultural.
Christ was counter-cultural.
Christ wasn’t the cool kid on the block. He wasn’t the strong warrior everyone was expecting. He was a humble servant who said crazy stuff like “the first shall be last and the last shall be first.” He spoke in parables and answered your question with a question. He said if you want to follow him you have to deny yourself and pick up your own cross. He captured many, but lost many more. And he died the death of a criminal on a cross.
But he also did some really notable things. Like turning a few fishes and loaves into enough for five thousand people. Or casting out demons. Healing the sick. Raising people from the dead. Including himself. So that we could have eternal life.
Now that’s pretty cool.
Being a Christian may mean that my co-workers aren’t going to invite me to Happy Hour after work because they know I don’t want to indulge in gossip about everyone else at work. Being a Christian may mean I can’t have sex with my boyfriend until I’m married. Being a Christian may mean I’ll be playing board games instead of drinking games on a Friday night. Being a Christian may mean that people may make assumptions about me and my beliefs or judge me because of who I serve and who I believe in. Being a Christian may mean that a television show of my life wouldn’t make it to primetime—or even straight to DVD. Being a Christian may make me seem not cool.
But being a Christian also means I have a fulfillment from something, someone greater than myself, greater than anything this earth can afford. I was created and called for a purpose by a Heavenly Father who knows the exact number of hairs on my head. And who knows the plans He has for me even before I was created. While life isn’t perfect, and I am not perfect, God promises comfort, peace, and strength when I seek Him and seek Him with my whole heart because he sent His son to overcome it all. He forgives me when I screw up. Daily. His mercies are new every morning. Being a Christian means I make sacrifices for things of this world to pursue things that are of Him—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Being a Christian means my time, money, and life are not my own—but belong to someone who holds me in His Hand. I can choose to pursue Him and let Him lead me to His best for me. And He has a best for me. Being a Christian means I have the choice to accept Christ as the Savior of my soul and Lord of my life. Being a Christian means Christ gave His life for me so that I can live forever with Him. All I have to do is say yes, and follow with my heart, mind, soul, in words and in actions, denying my earthly self to follow You—my heavenly Father.
Being a Christian means I’ll look ridiculous to anyone who experiences me at this time in life because of the love I have for You—like a blonde wig and a black beret on a redhead. Like David singing and dancing when the ark of your covenant finally came back to the temple.
I’ll become even more undignified than this when living my life for You.
And I’m cool with that.
Expectations of a Christian mid-to-late 20s-30s something girl:
SCENE: Underneath a cloudless blue sky sits a cozy starter home with three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms on a corner lot of exactly .45 acres. Meticulously clean windows are trimmed with black shutters. The white siding falls nothing short of a dazzle promised by Crest Whitening strips within 2 hours. The shrubbery is green and never in need of a haircut and not a weed (GASP, dare I say the actual word!?) is to be found. A red front door beckons you inside, where we find said mid-to-late 20s-30s something Christian girl. We will call her Chloe.
ENTER: MUFFIN, CHLOE’s hypoallergenic cross breed. Poised, full of (tasteful) spunk, and totally potty trained after watching that Youtube video only twice. She is flaunting a sequined periwinkle canine sweater.
“Did Muffin take care of her business and flush the toilet after herself?”
ENTER: ALYSSA and AIDEN, CHLOE’s three year old twins. Poised, full of (tasteful) spunk, and totally potty trained after watching that Youtube video only twice. They are flaunting matching his and hers periwinkle “play” outfits.
“What have you both learned from Baby Einstein today?”
“Look Mother! I wrote you a symphony.”
ALYSSA hands her mother a 30 page symphony, spiral bound.
“Look Mother! I painted us a family portrait.”
AIDEN reveals a 20×30 canvas oil painting of photo-like resemblance of the four-some.
FRONT DOOR OPENS.
ENTER: Tall, dark, handsome husband (TDH). I don’t even think we need to give him a name.
“Oh, Father! You’ve returned as you always do at 5:15 PM every evening Monday- Friday!”
“Wow, honey. Baby Einstein really has helped his articulation skills! That 25 disc collection sure was an investment we will never regret! Our precocious children are the talk of every parent who drops his child off in the church nursery every Sunday!”
CHLOE flips her perfectly quaffed blonde hair back over her shoulder as she kisses her husband.
TDH slides a package of bacon on the table. This is to be both literal and metaphorical (and every kind of cheese in the dairy aisle).
CHLOE swings her arms around her husband’s muscular frame thanks to his $60 a month gym membership.
“Have I told you how much I love you?”
“Every half hour by text, telephone, or e-mail.”
“I’m so happy we met our freshman year at [Insert name of Christian College here] and that it was love at first sight and you showered me in flowers, jewelry, and Chickfila nuggets. And then you proposed on the beach by candlelight at sunset before the spring of our senior year. I’m also glad we didn’t wait long for our engagement (you know how temptation is!) and were married the day after our graduation. I barely passed my finals, but it was so worth it!”
“Aren’t you forgetting something?”
“Why, how could I forget! And you paid off all of my school loans as our wedding present!”
ALYSSA and AIDEN join in the familial hug, clasping on to a parental limb. MUFFIN barks once, politely, with a stick in her mouth ready for her allotted outdoor time.
A pleasant, upbeat tune signals the closing fade-out.
FADE TO BLACK.
Reality of a Christian mid-to-late 20s-30s something girl:
SCENE: Underneath a cloudy, rainy sky sits the cheapest apartment known in the [insert name of high cost of living suburb of your choice] area. IKEA furniture fills the glorified studio to give a “cute” feel as her friends like to call it who make bank. Bundled underneath a heavy quilt because her 36% below the national average salary limits her heat usage to never, sits said mid-to-late 20s something Christian girl. We will call her M. The only light in the room is the glow from the television.
“DARN YOU CAGGIE! You are obviously into Spencer. Why don’t you just kiss him already?”
M throws her $4 Ikea pillow at the reality-but-obviously-scripted British show that has captivated her since she rolled out of bed at 11:00 AM on a Saturday. The show attempts to satisfy both her latent pining for love and not so latent pining for babies with British accents.
FOUR HOURS LATER. We find M in the same spot as four hours ago (no thanks to the marathon of reality-but-obviously-scripted British show), empty candy wrappers at her feet.
“KISS HIM CAGGIE! GOSH FREAKING DARN IT KISS HIMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Commercial break. M checks her bank account, praying that God maybe magically deposited thousands of dollars in there so she can pay off her school loans and buy some groceries every once in a while. There are only so many flavors of Ramen noodles.
THE PHONE RINGS.
M grabs her dumb phone because smart phones seem like a commodity greater than gold.
It is M’s best friend calling to say she got engaged. M is full of merriment, glee, and [fill in other exuberant phrases here]. She then realizes she has no money to buy a bridesmaid dress.
Five minutes later.
THE PHONE RINGS.
It is M’s other best friend calling to say she got engaged. M is full of merriment, glee, and [fill in other exuberant phrases here]. She then realizes she has no money to buy another bridesmaid dress.
M happens to go onto Facebook and is informed that 17 of her other 406 Facebook friends are engaged. Six other married friends just had their first child. Three are working on their second (bow chicka wow wow).
An Inbox refresher reveals an e-mail that soon it will be her 5 year college reunion. Suddenly, she feels ill.
“WHERE HAS MY LIFE GONE?!”
M opens up a new Google search. She types in “How much does it cost to own a kitten?”
M remembers she does not like kittens. Backspace, backspace, backspace.
M opens up the Amazon webpage. She types in “Kitten stuffed animals” and finds 14 new from $3.56 and 6 used from $1.59.
M orders 5 new from $3.56 at a supplier that is 98% positive over the past 12 months.
A sad, bleak tune not unlike a dirge signals the close out.
FADE TO BLACK.
I used to write love letters to my ex boyfriend that had more cheese in it than the dairy section of Wegmans. Oozing with lengthy diatribes about the color of his eyes, perfect match analogies referencing food items most commonly used in sandwiches, and pathetic stick figure doodles of us walking down the beach holding hands with a sunset in the background.
He reciprocated by writing me a letter that said my brown eyes were like a fine mahogany wood. (Watch out, Pottery Barn.)
Who needs to ride a tilt-a-whirl after eating fifteen hot dogs and 3 cotton candies to vomit, all you need is a good love letter to purge your system.
I’ve read a lot of Christian books in my day that are geared toward single, Christian young women. It’s a common theme among them that it’s a good idea to write a letter to your future husband. Talking about all the ways you have been praying for him, all the things you look forward to, blah blah blah blah blah.
If I could say anything to a young girl my age who is sitting in her apartment by herself on a Friday night, with a microwave dinner on her coffee table, with “Keeping up with the Kardashians” on her television, and a pen and journal in her hand, I’d say “burn that journal!” I don’t care if you got it from Papyrus and it’s homemade from a village in Indonesia. Why waste your time writing a letter to your future husband? Why take the time to put on a pedestal something that God has chosen right now for you not to have? Your letter isn’t a golden calf, but it’s still an idol. I think we too often fall prey to idolizing a future husband and spend time feeding into and building up this image of him. Writing him love letters of adoration, devotion, loyalty.
Don’t get me wrong, praying for your future husband is all well and good—and I know You honor that. The problem is what are we doing with this image of what may or may not be—are we surrendering it to You or are we dwelling on it, letting it become more than just a desire, but something we begin to worship.
What if we spent time—what if I spent time—writing down words of adoration, devotion, loyalty, and love to the one person who deserves my whole heart right now.
I don’t know the color of your eyes, or if you like to keep some scruff on your face, or if you even like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but I do know what you’ve done for me, and characteristics of who You are.
It’s all in the Bible—your love letter to us. Oozing with lengthy diatribes about battles fought and your chosen people and the Promised Land, perfect match analogies referencing Christ and his church, and the illustration of salvation found on a cross.
I should be writing love letters to you.