When Russell and I first began dating, I gushed to everyone about him. The first time I talked about him to my best friend, Amber, I said, “I’m in the car with my future husband. Amber responded, “You’re in the car with Tim Tebow? Tell him I said hello!” I said, “No, silly. His name is Russell, and I’m going to marry him.”
I was so head-over-heels with Russell that I couldn’t help but tell everyone every detail of every interaction we ever had. I still have a hard time controlling how often and much I gush about how Russell is the dreamiest slice of perfection the world has ever known. (Newlyweds are so annoying #amiright?)
Fast-forward a year after that scene on the phone with Amber, and here I am circulating our wedding photos to anyone who looks me in the eyes…it’s a clear sign that they, too, want to gush over our most perfectest day! I even unabashedly had a Wedding Video Watch Party…for the full 52-minute video, because #teamnoshame. It’s amazing how love will reduce any sense of dignity you have into a pile of rubbish. Isn’t love grand? <3
The day I received our wedding photos, I posted some on my cube so that every passer-byer would come chat with me about my perfect wedding photos and the perfect weather and perfect lighting and perfect setting. As I was chatting it up, I remembered that one of our client contacts on the other coast asked to see our photos. (The other coast being California – for you West Floridians that refer to South Florida as the “other coast”.) In my gushing young love, I emailed a couple of the best photos to her and waited for her reply of “How gorgeous!” Somehow the conversation unfolded where I felt God telling me to give Him the credit for the wedding and the love we share. So I nervously replied to her email and said, “Yes, we are so happy. God is so good to us, even when we don’t deserve it.” I could feel a knot in my stomach even after I hit “Send”. There’s something so final about hitting “Send”; and sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. In this case, the fear inside of me made it feel bad…REALLY bad.
How interesting that I am so out-of-my-(logical)-mind in love with Russell that I gush about him to my colleagues (which, if you don’t know, I work in a Fortune 500 finance firm – AKA very stiff – AKA don’t have feelings and if you do, DEFINITELY don’t talk about them). And how interesting in contrast that my love for God is so weak that fear of other people judging me leads me to tremble just at an email sent to an acquaintance on the other side of the continent!? How interesting indeed. By interesting, I mean pathetic. There’s not really another word for it. When I think about how overwhelming God’s love is for me and how my average response is, “I love you, too, but like in a secretive way”…pathetic! I don’t know how to cutesie it up any better than that, so instead I’ll try honesty.
I could likely get away with an excuse about business etiquette and politically correct and whatever else I need to say to make myself sleep better at night, but those are just excuses. It’s a sham. I am a sham. I love God soooo much sometimes…but only when my Christian friends are around…or when I’m just by myself. Definitely not around strangers or colleagues or neighbors. I don’t know whether it’s a lack of love for God or a heightened fear of people, but it’s gotta stop. This is my state right now, but this is also my declaration that I WILL NOT live in pathetic fear of other people judging my love for God. Thank God that He did not live in fear of what other people would think of Him for sacrificing His Son’s life for me. This is the day I change, and I’m hoping that by publishing this on the world wide interwebs, I will be accountable.
If you, too, are struggling with fear of other people’s judgements about your faith in Jesus, know that I am here with you. But also know that I am praying that your love of Jesus will grow so overwhelmingly that you will have no choice but to gush about Him! After all, when you’re in love, you can’t help but lose all sound logic and scream it from the mountaintops!
If ever there were a way to reinforce my point, take a look at lyrics to any love song. The love between lovers is so illogical, sometimes it’s comedic. But that’s love. So illogical. Willing to risk all dignity. Absolutely gushing. And at the risk of taking this down the wrong path, let me briefly mention Bey’s “Crazy in Love” and quickly move on to a more spiritual song:
“When I think about the Lord, how He raised me, how He saved me.
How He filled me with the Holy Ghost, how He healed me to the uttermost.
It makes me want to shout:
Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus!
Lord, You’re worthy of all the glory and all the honor and all the praise!”
-Shane and Shane
With a gushing love,
Photo by the wonderfully talented Benjamin Hewitt Photography.