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Thoughts on Individualism

I am unique. I am a daughter of two divorced people. I made way too many mistakes in college. My favorite coffee is white chocolate mocha with raspberry and whip cream. I love music so much that I have to be sure it doesn’t become an idol. I have a friend who died at the age of 6. I have a friend who spent nine months in Europe so we talk about the times I went to England and China and when she went to Portugal.

Do you feel like you know me now?

I can tell what I have learned from having a father who went from being a Christian pastor to studying Zen Buddhism. I can tell you what Korea looks like at night. I can tell you story after story of broken marriages and triumphant spiritual victories. I can tell you about the drug addicts that live in the sewer in Mexico. I can tell you what it feels like to grow up in a town that is so small that it feels as though it close down your hopes of escaping.

My worldview has been shaped by many things. I can tell you my experiences, and I hope my stories will benefit the world.

However, if I don’t tell you what my Savior says, what would have I done that would really change your worldview? Community is a context for Christianity. Agree? James tells us to confess our trespasses to each other and pray for one another to be healed. Share your real, honest story with someone.

As a Church we must do this, but what happens when we stop here? If I tell someone my story and don’t introduce that person in some way to the One who can fix his or her story, then what is accomplished? Sometimes I’m so wrapped up in my story, I forget to tell His story.

Part of the journey of life is about relationships, but it is also about being a witness of someone. We are constantly witnesses—whether we are speaking words or not. I don’t want to go to another Christian meeting and be real about struggles and then come back next time and talk about the exact same things. Yes, we can be healed. What happens after that? Am I content to gather information in the corners of my brain and keep forming my theology while my neighbor who doesn’t know Christ is suffering without salvation?

It is my solemn fear that in a culture of individualism we have become so wrapped up with what we think, need or believe that we forget that our lives are a testimony to the One who created us. Clearly, we need each other. After all we will be known by our love. My question is our love of what? Ourselves? Our intellectualism? Our selfish profit? Our opinion?

Perhaps one reason the much of the Church has lost its power is because many churches are not longer about God, but about our individual selves.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6: 25, TNIV).

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“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, TNIV).

I want to lose my life so I can gain it. In 15 years you may not remember what kind of coffee I like, but you will remember (even if it is vague) if I introduce you to Jesus. I don’t need another CD. I don’t need another way satisfy my self-indulgence. I don’t need my more of my demands satisfied by God. What I really need is to give away something from my spiritual wellspring. I’m pretty blessed whether I feel like it or not. Someone is going through something tougher than I am.

Why have I given so much time to forming my opinion or my way of thinking? In the end, will people remember my worldview, or will they remember my Jesus? I’m so tired settling for being happy, full and blessed. I am even tired of focusing on myself when I am discontented, grieving or angry. There is more out there. Someone will commit suicide today. I wonder where I will be.

God, forgive me if all I have imparted is an idea of how to struggle through faith. Why didn’t I just introduce people to You?

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