For a long time, I’ve written Christian things off as “cheesy.” Having grown up in the church and a Christian school, I felt like I was on a secret mission to show the world you can be cool and a Christian. I don’t want to wear a WWJD bracelet, I’m not going to have a Bible verse painted on my wall or on the notebook I use, I don’t listen to Christian music, and I totally understand all the pop culture references you're making. Watch out world, cool Christian coming through.
I love Jesus and want to show his power in my life, but that doesn’t mean I have to like all the Christian music and listen to all the podcasts, right? In the past few months, the Lord has been challenging me on what I’m consuming by comparing my physical body to my spiritual body, and it’s been changing my view on the Christian stuff I've avoided for so long.
I can remember the day it hit me. I had been married for three years, exchanged my active college lifestyle for a desk job, and lived right next to my favorite cheeseburger place. You guessed it: I gained some weight. I stepped on the scale and thought, Whoa! How did that happen? Yes, that sad day, I realized I couldn’t stay skinny and eat whatever I wanted. I had always known eating well was important, but I just liked cheeseburgers so much more than salads! It’s been a slow progression, but I’ve been learning about eating food that is good for me, even if it isn’t my first choice. When it comes to staying healthy, it seems like everyone is always on this big search to find a secret. Take this pill, buy this exercise tape, or try this 21-day plan! Friends, there really isn’t some huge secret. It always boils down to the basics: eat well and work out.
Through learning this basic truth about my physical health, God has challenged what I’m consuming spiritually. I had coffee with a friend and she was talking about how everywhere she turned, it was like God was trying to show her the same message. “Seriously, Hannah,” she rambled quickly, “it’s everywhere! I turn on the radio and there’s a song about forgiveness. I listen to my podcasts and they are talking about forgiveness. I opened my Bible study—forgiveness. Even my daily devotional was on forgiveness this week! It’s like God is screaming at me through every piece of my day, and I can’t get away from it!”
I listened to her story and my first thought was Wow. If God was trying to get my attention, how would he communicate to me? If I’m honest, I have always enjoyed trying to keep up with the Kardashians, listening to NPR, scrolling through my Twitter feed of all my favorite comedians, catching up on the news, and cruising in my Jeep to some new rap songs. I’m not saying each of these are inherently bad, but it was all I was consuming. No Christian podcast, no worship music, and my devotional life was pretty sad. I loved the Lord so much, but in swearing off Christian media as “cheesy” and “not my thing,” I had completely removed Christ’s Truth from my everyday routine. I had been feeling so out of shape spiritually, and I started to understand why. I can’t grow spiritually while eating junk! Just like looking for that “secret to stay fit,” many of us are looking for that secret on how to be close to the Lord. In the same way, the basics are what’s important! Am I spending time with God? Am I filling my day with his Truth? I certainly was not.
Christian media is like choosing a salad over the cheeseburger, or to deciding to work out instead of watching a Shark Tank marathon. It may not always feel like my first choice, but I’ll never regret it. It keeps me healthy, fills me with the strength I need, and teaches me how to be more like Christ. Even larger than that, I’m realizing that what I consume affects more than just me. As a wife, it greatly impacts my marriage. In the same way my husband wouldn’t be thrilled if I gained 50 pounds from eating crap, my overweight spiritual life affects my man as well. When I am close the Lord and seeking to be near him, making decisions that honor and respect my husband come a lot easier. The more intimate I grow with my Jesus, the more I am drawn to the leadership of my sweet husband.
It’s pretty hard to study God’s Word and not walk away challenged. This doesn’t mean I have to throw out everything secular in my life, but it does mean I have to be more careful with what I’m filling my mind, heart, and time. For now, I'm asking God to give me a heart that is more concerned with our pastor's latest podcast on building a better marriage and less concerned with Kim Kardashian’s new blonde haircut. My goal shouldn’t be to try and be a “cool Christian” but a woman who is always thirsty for the Lord.