“May God bless you,’ the old lady told me.
As she walked away, I exchanged a look with my dad, a look that read:
That was weird.
I’ve said this before in my blog. For most of my life, I grew up in a Christian Reformed Church—think hymns, creeds, pastors in long robes, Dutch Calvinists—and until going to college and transitioning to an expressive evangelical church, I was not used to “Christian talk.”
I don’t mean church jargon like a “brother-in-Christ” or a “born-again” Christian although I had to learn those too.
I mean talking in a way that reveals just how passionate you are about Jesus.
When a lady said goodbye to me at church with the words, “May God bless you,” I was caught off-guard. To me, conversations among Christians were the most secular. I might have debated topics of spirituality with my non-Christian friends but with fellow churchgoers, God and faith were rarely discussed.
Now, after seasons of church exploring in England, Wales, Massachusetts, and now Florida, I have met a cast of Christians who show their faith not only through their works, but also through their language.
A girl told me why she chose her major with the words: “God led me to this…”
When it was good weather, a man said, “Thank the Lord that it’s nice outside.”
A lady from my church once approached me and said, “God has put it on my heart to invite you to go to the beach with me.”
Everybody knows that expressive Christian. The person so passionate about Christ that their faith leaks into their language. Maybe it’s a different story when they’re talking to atheists. But for me, I have encountered these expressive Christians and fallen into the trap of thinking that they’re VERY spiritual.
And like the insecure individual that I am, I sometimes feel “not spiritual enough” because I count myself as one of the more reserved Christians who use phrases like, “leave it up to Fate.”
Once I told my friend that I was a Christian and his eyes bulged wide. He said:
“I had no idea!”
What, did I sound like an atheist? I felt rather disappointed in myself. Naturally, I want people to see me as super-spiritual.
I might sound like your average Instagram-ready, coffee-drinking Christian blogger in writing. But in person, I often retreat into myself when it comes to faith. Spirituality is a very personal thing to me and I don’t always open up about how God led me to this or how God did this in my life. I don’t always think in that way either.
Not to mention, because of the people and the environments that I immersed myself in for most of my life, it never became a tendency for me to include God or Jesus in my everyday conversation. Only now am I starting to relish the freedom in using that language with fellow Christians.
But one of the things that I keep reminding myself is how people express faith in different ways. You might “sound Christian” in your words OR you might express it by simply being a good listener to your friend. Or you might reveal your faith more in, ahem, blogging.
In my family, it was always about work ethic. You worship God by getting straight-As, by honing in on your talents, and by aiming to excel in your career. A very hardworking person is VERY spiritual.
So if you relate to me, then you might know what it means to not “sound like a Christian,” to instead reveal your faith in different ways. Being “very spiritual” comes in different forms as we are all unique in our own tendencies and preferences.
At least, that’s how I feel. What about you?