I went to a writer’s conference last weekend to develop my skills as a writer.
During the first workshop I met three people who write in vastly different genres than I do: astrology, steamy romance novels and children’s picture books.
When the time came to introduce myself and tell them what I write, I hesitated. I wanted to maintain relationship with these people throughout the rest of the conference, I didn’t want to stir up awkwardness and alienate myself for the rest of the weekend.
Sure enough, the moment I mentioned “Christian” I could feel the tense vibes.
I quickly asked why they suddenly felt the need to clam up.
One girl, in blunt honesty, blurted out, “Because ‘you people’ are so judgmental. You preach one thing, but practice another.”
Another piped up, “I’ve never met a Christian I would want as a friend.”
The astrologist shrugged, “There’s nothing about Christianity I want or need.”
Interestingly enough, after the tension towards me subsided, the steamy novelist and the children’s book writer started asking the astrologist about life and what she saw in their futures. The astrologist started using sentences like, “Lots of people want to know about purpose and why they’re here. Astrology is the only thing that helps us figure it out.”
For the rest of the weekend this is what dominated my thoughts.
I wish I could tell you something cool happened and that God led me into a life-changing conversation with one of them, but nothing happened. Nothing changed. The tension remained.
But what the Holy Spirit did prompt my heart with, was this:
We all want to feel needed and useful and purposeful. We all want our time here on earth to count for something and to feel like we’ve made some sort of difference in someone’s life.
But my fear is that we’re chasing the wrong kind of need: a need for approval… a need for acceptance… a need for significance… a need to be successful… powerful… rich… famous… secure… whatever.
What about a need to be used for God’s glory rather than our own?
What about a need to live for God’s purposes rather than the worlds?
What about a need to draw people towards God rather than repel them?
There are so many people in the world needing God through us but we’re too busy needing and chasing after what the world is offering. So much so, we look exactly like the world.
There’s nothing about Christianity I want or need.
I’ve never met a Christian I would want as a friend.
‘You people’ preach one thing, but practice another.
We have got to understand the difference between wants and needs.
We “want” purposeful lives, and that’s okay.
But there’s nothing we need more than God.
The world needs us to help them make this distinction, but how can we help them if we don’t understand it ourselves?
“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17 (NIV)