I get it, it’s hard. It is hard when you are in this land somewhere between procrastinating on everything and constantly signing yourself up for new things. It seems like there is always something. Always an assignment due at 11:59, always a meeting you were supposed to make it to 5 minutes ago, always a long string of priorities on a seemingly endless list that you constantly have to move around.
This past spring break, I went on a mission trip to Brazil.
I loved it.
I loved the way the color green burst from the sides of the streets and filled every crack of open dirt. I loved the fresh fruit juice and the sweet black coffee I sipped every morning. I really loved the people, their beautiful olive skin, and their welcoming hearts, and I loved the simplicity.
At the beginning of the week I felt uneasy, but by the time I flew away on Saturday, I already felt like I was leaving a huge piece of my heart.
The thing is, Christ’s love burst from the little churches, the warm embraces, and the conversations there. I could sense the presence of Jesus thickly in all of the encounters our team had. We were there for one reason, and that was to make the name of Jesus known. No distractions. No 11:59 assignments. All of that was left at the Memphis airport. The Lord used us in ways I would have never guessed he would.
When I got back, I felt like everything I’d once thought was extremely important didn’t matter anymore. It was almost a little humorous to come back to all the little ends I’d been so worried about leaving untied. I was full of excitement and love. I was missing the amazing people I’d gotten to meet in Brazil, but so excited about being back at Arkansas State University and being able to see the Lord work there. I kept thinking how much I wanted to dig my feet into that feeling of knowing so deeply that Christ is all that matters.
The thing is, life hits hard.
Responsibilities, errands, timeslots, phone calls.
All of them poured over my head like a bucket of icy water.
I lost my perspective quicker than I anticipated.
Very quickly the little concerns loomed over my head again. Very quickly I found myself too busy doing assignments, answering texts, and doing the countless other things that college students sign themselves up for.
There weren’t enough empty slots in my planner to share the Gospel.
Or so I thought.
So how do we do this whole living for Christ thing? How do we function and go about our daily lives when we literally have a million things vying for our attention?
In Brazil, evangelical Christians are called “crentes,” the Portuguese word that literally means “believers.” The connotation of being a crente is being completely passionate about Christ; being different. When our Brazilian translators told us this, I found the contrast beautiful. People looked at them, and they knew that their life was an anomaly. So many times I’m not different. So many times I try not to be different. How beautiful, though, to bleed Jesus’ love so strongly that people look at you and wonder why you can have joy in such a painful world, why you seem to glow when you talk about Jesus, and why there seems to be something unique in your Christianity.
What if we lived in contrast to culture? What if we let the gospel bleed into every task that demanded our attention? What if we stopped trying to do things for Christ, and started focusing on making our love relationship with Him our number one priority?
Well, that would for sure not fit our checklist culture. Isn’t that the difference laden in real Christianity, though? Something more than being a good kid or memorizing a bunch of verses; an intense passion for Jesus.
What ramifications does that love relationship have on your day to day tasks, though?
A couple weeks ago, I began a Bible study called Experiencing God. An amazing truth that Henry Blackaby discusses in this study is looking around to see where God is at work and joining Him there instead of going out and coming up with things to do for Christ on your own. Who is it in your environment that the Lord has given you a burden for? Maybe it’s the girl you saw crying in your dorm’s stairwell. Maybe it’s the person that asked you why you act the way you do. Maybe it’s an organization on campus. Be intentional, have those gospel conversations, even if it means bumping them up on your priority list.
So often I become blind in a sense. Blind to what really matters. Honestly, this is where I want to stop typing. I most definitely have not perfected the art of following Christ. I’ll never have perfected it. I definitely don’t have all the answers. I do know this, though. When you share the truth of what Jesus did for you with others, you see Him in ways that you will never see Him otherwise. It reminds you of how it felt to discover Jesus for the first time. Just the look on someone’s face as the truth of the gospel melts into genuine realization is enough to totally level your perspective.
Let’s play the what-if game for a second. I’m an over thinker, so I’m pretty good at this. What if we all went out to our schools and our jobs, and what if we started basing our decisions on Christ? What if we talked about Him openly? What if we took every opportunity He gave us? What if we stopped complaining about the world we live in and walked in boldness? We are crentes. We are beautifully different. The Lord could use you. You could experience Him in ways you never knew were possible. You could see Him. You could live life like you really believed the Gospel.
The fact is, no, God does not need our help. The stunning truth, though, is He wants us anyway. He wants relationship with us. He also wants to use us to play a part in the beautiful narrative that he is writing.
We can live every day on mission. Yes, it is easier to stay focused on Christ on a mission trip or at a church event, but we are called to go out into the world, to get involved with people, and to represent Christ in all aspects of our lives. Even though each and every morning will be a battle, and even though there will always be a list of things to do.
words by Savannah Cooper and photo by Hailey Pierce