Loving Jesus Out Loud: The Soft Underbelly of Belief
In two days my second book, Sacred Ground Sticky Floors will release. I began this journey a mere three years ago. I know there are aspiring authors out there that just threw up a little. Hey, there are seasoned authors that just rolled their eyes in disgust and may have barfed a little too. I don’t take the “ease” of this journey lightly.
I am most cognizant and obliged, and no, I won’t say, “It was a God thing.”
The reason I won’t say this is because, in this circle where I pen things and they are read, heard, or misunderstood, God is the key topic of my composition. No, I am not C.S. Lewis or Piper or Moore. Yes, somewhere on the webernet there are prose about my relationship with Crockpots, Jesus Fish, and the “heavy” burden of DD cups. Also, the crowning glory of my tiny career, the stomach bug manifesto.
But, I won’t give great tribute to God, as if I were chosen and set apart for a two-book deal at an irrational speed, because of the very human part of my journey. I would like to make an important announcement, I pray it is heard… I am human.
Yes, I am a married, white, average (yes, size 14 is the national average of women, please put this on my tombstone), middle class, 2 car-garage, Jesus lovin’ human.
However, I have been given the opportunity to love my Jesus, out loud.
And I do not pretend to think that a “God thing” is mine and not yours. Nor do I submit to the idea that I am loved more, am more blessed, or wiser, or more perfected in my walk than you, or you, or you.
All that to assume three people read this.
Furthermore, the accusation is often made, “Christians don’t say such things!”
I would like to testify to this, yes they do.
Often, we say things, from the depths of our love.
More often we say things from the depths of our hate. Yes, hopefully, our hate for injustice, poverty, and despicable behavior.
Still, yes, we believers in Jesus Christ, hate.
I take offense to a few issues with being an exposed believer in print:
- You may know the ages, races, and origin of my children and take offense or admiration for my parenting – but you cannot know the depths of passion I have for them to have a hot breakfast and a relationship with Jesus that is all their own.
- And you may know my blouse size, adoration for Cheezits and powdered sugar donuts, but you cannot understand the heartbreak of being told I do not know my God or the significance of His Word.
- Also, you may be fully aware of my inability to read or spell and revel at the irony, still, you will never know my personal panic of being uncovered a fraud or a fool.
- Finally, you might believe I have created a “platform” of followers and that I stand on the backs of the broken and searching. However, I know the truth, they are my friends – real women, like me who are broken… and searching.
Among the loud chorus of books to be read, sermons to be heard, and blog posts to go viral are the deep-seated, palpable feelings of real believers walking out the journey of the unknown in a day and age where their questions and opinions can be read by millions in less than 24 hours.
Yes, I had to google seated versus seeded – who knew?
Perhaps you knew. Or, perhaps you thought you knew. And therein lies the tragedy and triumph of being heard. Amid the misunderstood and the believed is the simplicity of the label “Christian.” We are hated, we are championed, we are followed, we are unfollowed.
If you hate my words or the words of any writer, if they are being vulnerable and authentic, you hate their mind and despise their journey. This is lofty. However, that is the risk the author takes and the trouble with loving this God out loud.
Apparently, it is worth the risk, that His name be made known. Actually… I know it is worth it.
And I know it is worth it to expose my journey because it has been my unraveling. I understand the value because I have seen the change in me. Moreover, I know where I was and how far I have come, and although I can bear all and rock the thesaurus like a boss, I know things about He and I that absolutely can never be conveyed.
Jesus knows as much as I love Him and the message of Grace, I want to be heard.
I want my books to sell, not just for my livelihood but because a nice man in Oregon invested in my words. My success impacts his success and in the mind of a creative, that investment weighs heavily as I imagine his wife and children on the street due to my shortcomings. Also, there are his employees, my agent, the family-owned bookstore, and the entire Western economy – all hanging in the balance.
Jesus knows the weight of all the things I deem “worry-worthy.” And no matter if you agree with me – or do not – He knows me.
I can confess to you that last year when my first book, Stolen Jesus released, it did so among the loud and crushing noise of the Las Vegas concert shooting and the death of Tom Petty. I love Jesus and I was disappointed that for a long while it was inappropriate to check stats or promote my little book. And you might call it wicked that I would worry about such things among such sadness.
Again, I say to you, I love Jesus… and I am only human.Again, I say to you, I love Jesus… and I am only human. #loveoutloudClick To Tweet
The perfected words of a lover of Jesus can be fully misunderstood. They sure might be wrong, but I rest in the fact He is always right. He is just, wise, and kind. I can tell you that I love Him, and you might see that as platform or message with the idea of self-promotion, but I know He knows.
Loud… I will be loud.
I do not submit to the idea that I am in competition with other Christian authors. In fact, I most easily can tell you, forget my words, go and read Carey Scott… that girl has some bare-bones warrior words, who confesses her fears and titles it Unafraid. I beg you, if Katie M. Reid writes it, you should be reading it. She is the Gospel of Grace wandering the planet married to Adam and chasing 5 kids. I encourage you to follow and buy Shontell Brewer’s Missionary Mom, she is wise and funny and has no greater love than Jesus, and tacos. And I can beg that you go right now and order Lauren Gaskill’s Into the Deep. You would be utterly shocked to learn her age; how well and hard her life is and yet she managed to find joy.
I have seen the ugliness of Christianity played out more aggressively since my time in the arena. Literal fights for who had joy first, plagiarism, blackballing, sexual misconduct, and all the “bad” things “good” Christians shouldn’t do.
But on behalf of those that have the mic, let it be said of us… we are loving out loud. It is both lonesome and fellowship. Also, it is simultaneously humbling and arrogant. It is the exalting of our Jesus while self-promoting and the selling of books. It is agony and euphoria.
Often the mistake is made that we who love Jesus are Jesus.
I will clarify, this is wholly inaccurate. We are a contradiction to the very core of our being. He was both human and God. He did it most perfectly. We are just humans in love with God and often that doesn’t look as pretty as we would like. Still, I am willing to risk it. That His name be made know… this is the place I cease striving and cut loose and say all the things.
Sometimes they are right.
Other times they are wrong.
But this I will sanction, He is always the answer. For this truth, I will not be silenced. I will love Him loud and clear.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, Philippians 1:18