Have you ever felt a pull between your everyday life and your spiritual life? Have you ever felt a disconnect between your faith and the everyday nitty-gritty? Such as, weekly (biweekly?) Target runs and eating hot wings while watching Monday Night Football. Do you feel guilty scrolling your Twitter feed when you could be memorizing Scripture? Do you feel like you have to justify spending money on a throw pillow or reading “just for fun” when you could be reading something “more profitable?” Me too . . .
Until recently, when flesh was put onto skeleton.
I grew up reading the classics, translating dead languages and listening to dry lectures. I was taught that architecture mattered. Culture “was religion externalized” and we as image bearers were made to strive after the good, the true and the beautiful. It pulled on my heart strings, knowing that planting flowers and baking crusty loaves of bread mattered. That good wine had significance and Harry Potter wasn’t just a fad. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers and all the dead guys my mom asked me to read outside of class truly did resonate with me. It made me thirsty.
I also grew up attending church and the older I grew the more I realized there was a disconnect between what I was reading for homework and what I was reading for Bible study. In fact, maybe disconnect isn’t strong enough. It seemed as though the two were strongly opposed.
Somewhere in my sophomore/ junior year of high school I began to narrow down what I wanted to study . . . it was somewhere between moral phil, sociology or anthropology. These were the things that pulled on my heart strings. That made me thirsty.
It was somewhere in my sophmore/junior year of high school that I began to “get real serious” about Jesus as well. I didn’t miss one Bible study, small group, summer camp or movie night. I read my Bible nearly every day (no, really, I did) and I prayed a solid amount of time. I didn’t just know the right answers, I could give you R.C. Sproul’s answer.
It was at this time that my world began to crack slowly, my heart along right along with it. According to what I was learning at church, all that mattered was heaven. A world distant, future and un-tangible. All that mattered was the “eternal” and there were only TWO eternal things in this world . . . 1. The Bible 2. The human soul
Like a crack in the sidewalk it spread.
If I was serious about Jesus, then I needed to get serious about the Bible and people’s souls. Everything else was “going to burn.” Recycling didn’t matter, animals didn’t matter, and (this one was really hard for me) Monet’s Water Lilies didn’t matter. It was all going to burn. And here’s another thing, “Jessica, why would you want to study philosophy? Why study man’s wisdom when you could study God’s wisdom?” or the classic, “Do you want to be a wife and a mother? Then pursue something practical, pursue something you’re actually going to use. Being a homemaker is the highest calling.”
So I jumped ship and ditched my dreams. I worked hard. Really hard. I stayed up late to pray if I had forgotten to pray earlier. I wrote out memory verses and carried them with me in my purse. I scheduled coffee dates with older and younger women like I was being paid for it. I even went to Africa (like every TOMS-wearing-plaid shirt- Jane Austen loving-Christian-kid), leaving my entire wardrobe there and buying as little as I could when I returned home because “I now understood poverty.”
I stared boldly into the face of that which was material and knew, just knew, that those books and colors and magnificent monuments in history would “grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
I could attain holiness one disconnect at a time. Like unplugging cords from instruments, I began to pull from one “worldly” matter at a time.
But here’s the thing. When you unplug, all you’re left with is soundless mechanics.
Like a corpse, it’s rather numb.