In high school, I wanted to care about God like the regulars at youth group did. Really, I promise. But I wasn't trying too hard. I wasn't letting Him transform my afternoons, which were devoted to CW tv shows like The Arrow and reading teenage romance books.
I wasn't reading too much about God in the Bible and the only extra things I was going to at my church were the Luke 18 retreats. Man, looking back on it, high school was pretty fun (although I didn't know all the fun I was missing).
But now I am a pretty different person. I spend my time differently. Yes, I'm still very much into CW shows, but my afternoons are spent hanging with friends at our campus ministry building and playing chess.
I know Jesus pretty well because I'm trying to. I can tell you all about Jesus' most famous parables, his hard-hitting comments to all his haters, and I can talk about the Old Testament's famous stories (Ten Plagues, the Garden of Eden fiasco, and more) pretty well.
I go to more retreats now, when I can and feel called to. I even went on a couple of discernment retreats. Those are exciting events, let me tell you.
But then it hit me.
There are so many people in my life who don't know Jesus, don't care about Jesus, and don't want to talk about Jesus (because they were introduced to him in either a bad way or they just really dislike his absence/presence in their lives).
There are believers in my life who do know Jesus, but not as well... and they might find my relationship with him intimidating, obnoxious, and off-putting.
Therefore, I have come to the very simple revelation that I need to be (wait for it) a little more normal. As in, take a chill pill, you can be all about Jesus without announcing it every moment of the day (lol)
What does it mean to be a little more normal, you ask?
Maybe don't talk about Jesus 24/7, have interests and hobbies outside of youth group, heck, go for a hike and go to a sports bar every now and then. Why is this important?
Because talking about Jesus to those who don't understand how amazing he is hard for others. It could come across as me being arrogant in my faith (when really, I'm just an obnoxious sinner who needs as much grace as Saul, now St. Paul, did). Talking about Jesus a lot could stop a relationship from blossoming when it could.
Basically, I've come to the simple realization that loving others well where they are at in their own lives is the best way to introduce a bit of Jesus to them.
Loving well reflects God's love for others. That's why I have been writing articles on respect, being mature, and other similar topics lately. I want to be a better person not only because I want to be a better person, but because that's the best way to reflect God's presence on earth.
Hold me to this whole being a more normal thing because I'm a little bit dramatic when it comes to things I love, so I will need your patience to accomplish this. But I'm going to try! Yay!