Love Is Our Agenda

I am in the process of Australianising a new book from MOPS International: Share Jesus. It has some great content that I know you will value as you engage with the mums in your group. I’m so excited about it that I want to share some of it with you right now, even before it’s ready for printing in Australia!
Lexia Smallwood

Love is Our Agenda

by Emma Turnbull, Director of Marketing at MOPS International

I was recently at dinner with a friend enjoying the second most sacred day of the week: Taco Tuesday. My friend, like an increasing number of 20-somethings, is indifferent to Christianity at best and repulsed by it at worst. She’s in her first year of motherhood and she was telling me how wild it is to be a mum. (This is the only conversation where the phrases “pooping disaster” and “light of my life” occur in the same breath.) We talked about the hard things, hilarious and pointless things, the jobs, boys and everything in between. Then we finished our tacos, said we’d do this again soon and meant it, and parted ways.

We do this a lot. Sometimes we talk about results of Buzzfeed quizzes and sometimes we talk about results of pregnancy tests. We often talk about why we’re alive and how we think we got here. She knows I’m Team Jesus and I know she’s not and neither of us are weird about it. I’m still the first person she calls when her anxiety is closing in on her or when her husband is travelling and she’s in a bind. It’s still her apartment where I show up unannounced when I have a rough day at work. Our friendship is simple: we’re two women who believe different things about the universe and who show up for one another, over and over again. That is it. That’s the story.

Ironically, friendships like this one have taught me how to talk about Jesus.

When it comes to telling people about Jesus, I wonder if we’re worrying about the wrong things. Sometimes it feels like we’re navigating this elusive spectrum – on one end Overbearing-Church-Freak and on the other end Lukewarm-Christian – and trying to find the ‘correct’ spot to connect. Don’t be too aggressive, but don’t be too passive. Find the right formula for grace and truth and act accordingly. Do you see the problem with this picture? There is no room on this imaginary spectrum for the person right in front of me. I’ve found myself asking, “Where do actual beating hearts fit into this?”

It seems that one of the best ways to walk like Jesus is to be simple in speech and radical in step. Here are some reminders for getting back to the basics:

Showing up is reason enough. You don’t need any reason to show up for someone over and over again. How you show up may not always look the same but showing up, nonetheless, shows love simply for love’s sake.

Forfeit your agenda. We’ve heard people say that talking to Christians can be off- putting because it feels like they’re pushing a hidden agenda. Look, the only way to appear as if you don’t have an agenda is to actually not have one. Don’t invite someone to coffee because you want to tell her about Jesus; invite her to coffee because that’s what friends do. They drink coffee together and talk about all kinds of stuff. Jesus will come up.

Surrender your need to control the outcome. You and I are not that powerful.

Rest on common ground. Whether it’s an old friend or someone you just met, find the things you have in common and hang out there for a while. Sometimes, it may feel like the only thing you have in common with someone is the air in your lungs but put in the work to find something. Start there and stay as long as necessary. Common ground is the building block for deeper relationships.

Let’s get back to the basics. Rather than toiling over how we’re coming across when we share our faith, let’s make love our agenda. Maybe it’s as simple as showing up for Taco Tuesday.

 

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