Tuesday night, swerving on stools beside the curved wooden bar of an expensive Decatur steakhouse, a handsome man with green eyes and a goatee asked me something deep:
“Gina – name your 3 biggest passions. Go.”
Without hesitation, I rattled them off real coy:
Bam bam bam.
I’d bet you that no one else on earth who might find themselves in a similar situation would answer those questions in that particular way. And I think – no, I know – that’s one thing my God loves about me. He loves that I’m confident in His call on my life. He loves that I don’t conform to the life of another – because I can only fulfill what He has for me by being me. I believe my God loves that I’m not afraid to be me.
I’m not afraid to be free – and I’m not afraid to be me.
Being free has its perks, trust me. Being free makes the gospel attractive to others. Being free teaches those around me about the impossibly possible love of Jesus.
But being free also comes with a responsibility – not to use my freedom as a license to sin, thus contradicting my so-called freedom from sin; and instead, revealing it as slavery to sin. Instead, as followers of Jesus, we are called to be so infectiously free that we inadvertently invite others into said freedom.
Forgive me for rudely ignoring your obvious question – how I even found myself in that conversation?
Well, first, let me tell you about that day.
On that day, I felt super “adult”. I filed my taxes and successfully switched to a more affordable car insurance. Two major wins.
While most 27-year-olds might not see anything too triumphant about these activities, this 27-year-old doesn’t quite feel like an adult yet. Most days, “Adult” is the antithesis of how I see myself. While moved out of my parents’ house 3 years ago, in many ways, I just see myself as “GINA”.
Not a child, yet not quite an adult….maybe Britney Spears circa 2005?
I digress: when I do something uncomfortable, whether it ends up a success or a failure, I feel like I need to counteract the uncomfortable with something comfortable. And I find comfort in doing something that reminds me of myself.
What reminds me of myself?
I celebrate saving money by switching from Geico to AAA by strolling into an obviously out-of-my-budget steakhouse, (only after making eye contact with the handsome piano player through the window), parking myself at the bar, flipping my hair and smiling at everyone who seems to care, chatting it up with the piano player after his shift, and confidently ordering a couple of overpriced glasses of New Zealand Sauvignon blanc and a souffle of truffle Mac & cheese.
And suddenly, I feel like me again.
But what defines me?
If truffle Mac & cheese means me, then I’ve traded my identity as a child of God for a food fad from 2010. That’s cheap.
Here’s the problem with this approach: if I continuously counteract the uncomfortable with the comfortable, I’ll never actually grow in holiness. And I’ll never truly be free.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
What is that same image that we all are being transformed to? The image of Jesus.
How can transformation happen if I continue to reward my flesh right after my faith has risen to new heights?
Now, while filing taxes doesn’t take much faith, it does take discipline. Why counteract discipline with gluttony? What is the return on overpriced mac?
At the end of the day, I’m just trying to live life abundantly. I stay covered in the blood of Jesus; I attempt to keep in step with the Spirit – and I just try to be me.
Yet, while it does feel good to be me, let me not neglect the voice of one crying out in the wilderness.
For ultimately, He must become greater,
and I must become less.