First, let me say loud and clear: I LOVE the ministry of Jen Hatmaker! I think she is an amazing, funny, inspiring, kingdom-loving mom and leader. If you’ve been following this blog long you’ll remember when we did our own “experimental mutiny against excess” motivated by her book, 7, so clearly she’s been influential. If you haven’t read her stuff, you should!
But the other day I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and came across this:
So I’m looking at this and thinking, “Oh, that’s nice. Family. Beginning of summer. Building good memories.”
I’m happy she could post that, but it’s not a big deal, right? It’s not like her kids won American Idol or converted Kanye West. I would hope many of you could post some nice slice of a pre-bedtime moment if you have kids, or a nice pic of you and friends relaxing on your deck if you don’t, right?
What baffles me is what’s under the update. 4,700 people “liked” this, and 138 people commented!
I showed husband John and asked him why he thought so many people engaged with a simple picture of someone’s kids playing in their back yard. He said something which I thought was brilliant (I think most of what he says is pretty brilliant though). He said:
“We live in a culture of celebrity and everyone wants to feel like they are part of a bigger story. They see Jen as living what they feel is a more relevant, important story than they do, and they want to be part of it. “Liking” or commenting makes them feel like they are.”
I don’t want to make too much of this, but I wonder how much we’re sometimes willing to settle for a second-hand story, or a second-hand faith.
Are there things about the stories of others that you admire, but are afraid to embrace yourself? It’s a lot easier to “like” the life of someone else stepping outside our comfort zone to live missionally or sacrificially than it is to actually do it ourselves, eh?
So my challenge to all of us is to ask, “How are we going to live out a first-hand holy adventure with God instead of just “liking” it as we watch through a computer screen? What small counter-cultural, Jesus-loving choice can we make today? A few suggestions…
- Engage. Personalize and pray through one passage of the Bible. (If you want a suggestion, try Philippians 1:9-11.) Write a date in your Bible next to commandments or promises you’ve prayed.
- Serve. Volunteer at a homeless shelter.
- Invite. Organize a block party to get to know your neighbors.
- Purge. Do a radical spring clean and give away anything you haven’t used in the past year. Commit to use all the food in your freezer/cupboard before buying more.
- Stretch. Give an extravagant gift to someone in need.
- Power down. Turn off every electronic device in your life and be totally present to your family and friends.
- Listen and respond to a nudge from the Holy Spirit today.
Then, may you be able to say “Thank God for the story He is writing through MY life!” and further, may you see God answer YOUR prayer, and use YOU to make a difference, and speak to YOU through His Word, and nudge YOU to take a step of faith – first-hand faith.