Let me share a few lists with you today. After all, don’t we all keep lists? So here goes (it’s a short list, I promise):
In the past year I
1. relocated to Troy, IL, from Toledo, OH,
2. started a new job at a wonderful local university
3. became pregnant and gave birth to my 3rd, lovely child.
I share this list because each item you see there has been both a blessing and a challenge for me. I really didn’t want to leave my husband’s and my childhood hometown, but in order to accept the teaching position, I was compelled to leave home. While starting something new can be exhilarating, meeting new colleagues and branching out in a new work environment can be equally terrifying (for someone like me, at least, who wants to control every aspect of her life!). But here I am, enjoying my new teaching position. And I don’t even need to qualify this, but there just isn’t anything like having a baby. For me, it is the ultimate human experience, but it sure is a draining and thankless job at times.
Lists are powerful. They help us remember what we need to pick up at the grocery store. Lists remind us what we need to accomplish during the day (even if it is that millionth load of laundry). More importantly, lists can highlight what is most important in our lives. Taking stock of my short list above, I recently realized how God has blessed me. And I am humbled by it.
I don’t try to hide it – I’ve been a lukewarm Christian for a long time. I just couldn’t make the connection or the commitment to put my faith in action. The person I saw in the mirror just didn’t measure up with what I mistakenly believed an “ideal” Christian “had to be." I had a fairly long list running in my head dictating to me what an ideal Christian was, and not one of my attributes could be found on that list (sad but true – I really didn’t believe I could be of any use to God). I had come to accept that I was outside God’s full grace.
But I want to share a shorter list than the one above – it is something I recently [re]discovered, accepted and now live by (having children has really revealed new and old insights!). This list is the not-so-secret “set of requirements” to receive God’s blessing, to be the “ideal” Christian:
If I, or anyone, want to be and live as a Christian, all I need is:
That’s it. As Po discovers in Kung Fu Panda, there is no secret ingredient in his father’s soup. (Yes, I just linked my spiritual “aha” moment to a computer-animated film. I have young children, remember?) Po learns that the soup is delicious because everyone believes it is. The soup is special because people believe it to be true. Likewise, I am special because God has blessed me – even if I see myself as just an ordinary cup of Christian soup. All I need to do is believe. All I need is faith the size of a mustard seed.
So today I am posting a new list on my bathroom mirror. It is the ordinary Christian list, and there are just two items on it:
What I need to be an ordinary Christian:
The most special ordinary Christian:
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, KJV)
Amen to that!
Looking for more on faith and the challenges you will encounter throughout life?Check out 1 Peter 6-7
By Stephanie Quinn/@QuinnWordWoman