Sunday, November 7, 2010

On Why Being Human Sometimes Sucks

YesterdayI had to recite Genesis 1.1-5 in Hebrew to my professor and then read aloud Deuteronomy 6.4-9 to her. Because of the tremendous difficulty of this situation I forewarned her that sometimes, when I'm stressed and discouraged and I forget things and though Jesus and I are working on it, sometimes I swear.

I did not expect her reaction.

She laughed and said that it was her most favorite reading ever. And we hadn't even started yet. This made me feel good. Then when she composed herself (which was only barely composed) she said, "That is so refreshingly human, Sarah. I really appreciate that." This comment made me feel...not as good. And it took me well over an hour to be able to figure out why her comment said completely in kindness and as a compliment made my heart hurt a little.

I have tried to live my life as transparently as possible. 98% of the time I am the same Sarah on Friday nights that I am on Sunday mornings that I am on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Obviously there are moments where I want to hide who I am (there's that pesky 2%) and I'll lie and distort who I am. And I also understand that there are situations that require less..."flamboyant" Sarah - ie: for work there is more structured behavioral expectation and maybe not swearing in from of my Orchard kiddos. But 98% of the time my personality doesn't change.

While I truly believe this is a good thing and that Jesus wants us to live our lives in vulnerability and openly and honestly about who we are in Him, there is still a tension.

As someone who wholeheartedly believes in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, I also believe that the same Spirit that rose Jesus Christ from the dead resides in my body. And I believe that the Bible tells us that those who are in faith in Jesus are to walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh (see the apostle Paul's discussion as it is pretty much a word-for-word screen shot of my brain).

We are called to live honestly, openly, vulnerably in communion with one another and with God in the hope that others will desire to be open and vulnerable and honest with themselves and with God. To this end I generally succeed.

However, we are also called to live holy lives, to be set apart, to walk by the power of the Spirit. Therein lies my tension.

As a seminarian, I am around a lot of very...I don't think pious is the right word...people. They are not "holier than thou" teetotalers, but they love Jesus with all their hearts and they talk about that and sometimes it makes me feel...too human in comparison. Because more often than not I find myself living completely in my humanity more than I find myself desiring to live as a holy child of God, physically, emotionally, mentally... Living in my humanity is comfortable, it is easy. I don't have to strive to be anything more than what I am. And I think God loves that. He wants us to just be.

But I know that He wants more for us as well. He wants us to live justly and love mercy and walk humbly and have our minds dwell on good things. But my humanity is so much more accessible. And that's frustrating.

I love that my Hebrew professor felt that my vulnerability made me more "human" and hopefully she felt the freedom to be vulnerable as well - since that is the goal.

But some days I wouldn't mind being told that it was refreshing how much my speech caused someone else to love Jesus.

Guess that's just the human in me though.


Travis Weil said...

Thanks for being vulnerable. Too often, I feel the same way. Among many of my friends I always feel like the one that isn't excited about Jesus. It was refreshing to hear that I am not the only one like that.

Sara said...

Miss Sarah -
I loved this post, and let me tell you, I love your humanity.
While your humanity might separate you from others that you're around, I (like your professor) find you refreshing. And if that makes your "heart hurt a little," that is not my intention.
As someone who is not around "seminarians" every day, and at a more basic level, people who love Jesus and want to talk about Jesus, I always find a little comfort on your blog.
To be quite honest, I am not out there actively seeking Jesus, I don't hang around people that are, and I don't attend church (regularly).
But I love your blog, I love your lessons, and for the moment that I take time out to read your latest post, you give me a wonderfully refreshing love for Jesus. An honest one. I think that might be what your professor is hinting at with her remark.
I adore you for who you are, and while you experience tension for trying to live a holy life, set apart, etc. To this girl, you are.
It might not feel that way to the people you're around daily, but to some of us others, you are. You're able to connect with all different types of people, and Miss Lewis, I think that's your gift when it comes to ministry.