So, I had only been at Spiritex Greenville today for about an hour when one of our semi-frequent customers came in. She's the type of person that I would absolutely love to be friends with; rad style, cool ear piercings, friendly, chill, open book type.
When I was ringing up her t-shirt, we talked about living in Greenville, student life, etc. We transitioned to where I went to school and she asked about The Mountain Laurel (NGU's literary journal) and the few different copies that I had dropped off for patrons to take with them or just thumb through while waiting on their companion to try on clothes.
She asked me if she could take one with her because a lot of the poems she read really meant a lot to her and helped her understand that she wasn't the only person hurting or struggling. She asked if I was published in it. I said I was. There was one poem in particular that spoke to her, so she thumbed through the book to show me which one it was.
It was mine.
She went on to compliment me and encourage me in huge ways regarding my writing. And needless to say, I am just overwhelmed with thankfulness, joy, and a sense of purpose.
This is why Christians need to be authentic in their art and stop worrying about every little detail. Worrying about whether or not the theology is just right or if the words are too angst-y. Most people just want to know they're not alone in their hurt or doubts or depression or their joy, love, and success.
For my writer friends, this is why we write. Being a successful writer doesn't always mean selling millions of books or even getting published. If you have reached just one person, even if that person is yourself, you have written a successful piece.
Also, this reminds me that God can use whatever he wants to when he wants to where ever he wants to.
I know that I constantly struggle with the thought that in order to please God, he's going to ask me to do everything I don't want to do and deny the things I'm passionate about and enjoy doing.
And that just isn't true.
I'm fairly sure that I'm not the only person that has fallen into the trap of believing that God doesn't care or want us to be happy. That he'll ask us to do something because that's how he wants it and we'll just have to suck it up.
It's incredible to me that not only did this moment happen, but that it happened when it did. I've been struggling a lot lately with breaking out from some darker, more conservative-minded schools of thought and also feeling slightly terrified to stand behind my new beliefs.
So, I will tell you all right now: you can do what you love and God will get just as much glory from it.
Not every single movement or word has to be mission-minded, either. (And I'm not saying don't be mission-minded, don't get it twisted.) If you want to grab a group of friends and go on a hike on a Sunday morning, God can receive just as much glory from that as you sitting in church. Church and community are everywhere, not confined to a building or a specific schedule.
There isn't a specific formula for a "good, christian life" which some of us are unfortunately lead to believe. The things that you do as a follower of Christ aren't to gain or keep salvation on lock down, because that means salvation is Jesus + ______. Which is also a terribly incorrect formula. Reading your bible, going to church, living in community, those are things we do in response to God's incredible, incomprehensible love for us, and if we don't do those things on a specific schedule or even a daily basis, it isn't the end of the world, and it certainly doesn't make you a poor christian.
So, maybe it's a bit silly that at 22 I'm just now realizing these things. But for those of you that have been trapped in the same conservative/misconstrued truth bubble as me, it's beyond okay to enjoy your life (ya should) and do things you want to just because you enjoy them or are passionate about them.
God is good, people.
He loves on me so hard, particularly when I'm being an idiot.
And if you're feeling discouraged as a Christian, that you aren't "being used," know that I wrote that poem over two years ago and it's just know reaching the hands it was meant to be in.