I want to be careful with this series. I’m worried it might get chirpy on you.
“Just depend on Jay-sus!” “God is good all the time!” “Can I get an Ay-men?”
I mean, those things are true. Except sometimes, their cheerfulness makes you want to poke your eyes out.
This is a post about those times.
I asked some of my friends to write guest posts for this series, and a few turned me down. Some of them told me, a bit ruefully, that the theme didn’t resonate with them.
“I’m not in a place to write about an easy-yoke faith right now,” they said. “It’s just not where I am.”
I was really honored by their honesty. It did that loveliest of things, make me ask myself questions.
Because if this series makes anyone, anyone feel bad about where they are right this stinking moment, I will have missed the boat.
The question my writing buddies raised is a really awfully good question: how in the HECK can easy-yoke faith feel like such a burden?
I think it’s like those tousled hairdos that actually take three hours to achieve. In our culture, effortless is about looking effortless, not actually walking out of our houses bedhead.
When I say easy-yoke faith, I mean actual bedhead, with spittle still streaked down our chins and sleep in the corners of our eyes. I mean letting our standards go out the window. I mean going rogue in the most freeing way.
I mean we are acceptable, enough, okay. Right now.
If this good news is not good news NOW, when our lives are to hell in a hand-basket and we don’t feel like praying, and we’re so frickin’ tired of the Bible we’d rather read old statistics textbooks, and church gives us hives, then it is not good news.
If it’s not good news all the time, ALL THE F-ING TIME, IT IS NOT GOOD NEWS.
Sorry to shout at you.
When I was going absolutely insane after the birth of my first child, my sister called. I started crying on the phone with her. I was incredibly bewildered, sure that my insomnia, anxiety and rage were my own damn fault.
Her words made enough space in my chest that I could breathe. It saved me.
You’re not doing this wrong.
What if, at every moment faith was not working, was not giving you shiny results, you reminded yourself that you are not doing it wrong, that it’s just hard?
What if you weren’t trying to manage or correct or explain away your penny-ante spirituality, but accepted it instead?
What if you recognized that belief in God is a gift, not a prize for the hard-working?
What if when your faith feels like shit, it’s because sometimes life is shitty?
What if Jesus is a companion, not a drill sergeant?
I have friends who have lost their faith. I did not do faith better then them. Frankly, I’m bewildered why I still have this niggling feeling that Jesus is Lord. It’s not because I studied more (I didn’t), because my initial conversion was more sincere (it wasn’t) or because I know something they don’t (I really, really don’t).
The faith I have is a mystery and a gift, and I am done thinking I need to maintain it like hair color.
It is going to grow just as God gave it to me, with cowlicks, a boring tint, and frizzy patches.
If this faith-is-easy series is making you feel less-than, I am really, really sorry. Please, know this. You’re not doing faith wrong. You’re not messing it up. You’re not somehow clueless while everyone else has figured it out. You’re not.
If you do lose your faith—if you walk away—it is not because you didn’t try hard enough. I will grieve with you, because loss is loss, but I’m not thinking it’s because you didn’t do your faith pushups on-schedule.
That kind of thinking is poison.
Where you are, right now, that is the place to find easy faith. To admit, crouch down, cry out, and grieve. To rejoice, celebrate, breathe in, and listen. Right now. Right where you are.
I’m there, with you. But more importantly, so is Jesus.
If faith doesn’t feel easy right now, and you’re bewildered about why, may I suggest you check out my most recent newsletter? It’s gives six reasons your faith might NOT feel easy, and I think it will be helpful. If you like it, subscribe—you get some goodies. Join in—it’ll be good to be real together about how hard faith—even easy-yoke faith—can be.
Want to see all the posts from this series? Go here.
Image credit: Evan Long