Stuff I Wish You’d Quit Saying: You’re SOOO Religious
I loathe the statement, “You’re SOOO Religious!’
No really, I’m not.
I have been married to my husband for 24 years. I fell crazy hard for Justin the first time that he stepped out onto the front porch of his parents’ farmhouse. He was dressed in dusty wranglers, and his faded denim work shirt was untucked, slightly sweaty from a long day of plowing for his dad. I was going to meet him under coercion. He was my best friend, Lisa’s cousin. Justin and Lisa’s moms conspired for Lisa to take me out to the farm so Justin could “Get a look at her!”
Iris, who, unbeknownst to me, would become my mother-in-law said, “Ya’ll I’m calling him now! Take her out there, he’ll flip!”
I grumbled the whole way, Lisa thought it was hilarious. Second only to the hilarity that ensued upon our introduction when we both looked at each other and lost all judicious cerebral function. He hates the story, but there were witnesses. He did in fact gawk at me and then stammered, “Wow. You’re tall…so tan…and blonde.”
I am pretty sure I said something equally awkward like, “You too, happy birthday, I mean you’re welcome.” To which he replied, “You’re tall…so tan…and blonde.”
And Jane and Tarzan fell in love.
We got married. Together, we love, laugh, cry, fight, make-up, herd cows, and children, pray, grieve, rejoice, and live life together.
Justin and I have a relationship.
I am all in.
He is all in.
We are a family, we are a couple, and we are friends.
No one ever says, “WOW! You are SOOO MARRIED!”
I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember; Christian meaning a believer in Jesus Christ. However, as an excommunicated Mormon, displaced Catholic, baptized thrice, curious soul – I would hardly call myself religious.
The definition of religion is “relating to or believing in a religion.”
Obviously, according to my aforesaid resume, I am unaffiliated. But I am all in. I love Jesus. Seriously, I am obnoxiously crazy about Him. As long as I have believed in Him, I can’t say that I have always actually LOVED Him. And I won’t apologize for saying that. How can you love someone you have only just met? I mean, Jesus didn’t wander out onto a creaky pine porch with the Texas sun lowering into bursts of purple and pink behind Him – mesquite trees swaying in the warm July twilight, blundering over formalities like a scene from a Romantic-Comedy. The idea of Jesus was introduced to me through a myriad of religions, but I fell in love with Jesus throughout the journey of our relationship.
The walk of relationship is far more grand than the work of religion.
Religion is the separation of groups into belief systems or regulations about how to serve and worship. Relationship is “the state of being connected.”
Maybe that is the statement I would rather hear, “WOW! You are SOOO relational.”
However, I don’t think it is even necessary in that regard. In the same way, you wouldn’t say, “WOW! You are SOOO married,” why does the religious aspect need to be announced? Well, I guess it is only fair. At my core, my life is wholly dictated by the connection of devotion to Jesus, my marriage, and my motherhood.
However, the adjective of religious isn’t an accurate portrayal of my connection to Jesus.
You can be married to someone and still daydream of someone else, leaving you “related to or believing in marriage,” but not functioning within the dance of “connection.” And the hot-button topic of “tolerance” appears to make the highly “religious” go bonkers. But if we as believers in Jesus Christ want to model His behavior, in the act of relationship, isn’t that exactly how He would have behaved?
He is a friend of sinners.
Jesus was intolerant of the Pharisees who were by definition, “SOOO religious” and “SOOO intolerant.”
The on-growing journey of connection has included learning more about Him and submitting to the fact that He is multi-dimensional. He moves how He moves, and He saves how He saves. Sometimes, I cannot understand Him, and I cry and slam doors in frustration.
Still, He is all in.
He loves me.
He sees me as blameless, and He is beyond tolerant of my folly. Tolerant unto His death.
From the first time I encountered Him until this moment I have been fully committed, but I confess the commitment didn’t always include a relationship with Him alone. There was religiosity that made me less than enjoyable – yet I know now, He was utterly enchanted with me. The enemy may have used the soft spots in the underbelly of my fresh beliefs to jab at my attempts at relationship, but the Blood of Jesus is much more potent that the feeble prods of the prince of lies.
So call me Justin’s wife, or Maggie, John, Luke, Sophie, Sam, Charlie, and whoever else’ mommy. Call me Don and Glenna’s daughter, or Stacey, Dean, Michael, and Kelly’s sister. I’ll answer to Aunt, friend, and sometimes enemy, for these are connections I have via relationship.
You can call me Believer.
God ahead and call me His girl.
Call me crazy in love with Jesus.
But please, don’t ever call me religious.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
I (Paul) was circumcised on the eighth day… a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. Philippians 3:5-9
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