The crowd pressed in with the Cha Cha Slide pumping poolside on Deck 11. Professional dancers lead the eager horde through a series of moves. Just minutes after boarding the ship we could feel the party had begun. The ice cream machine was running and the bar was open.
Next up: The Macarena…
“They all want me, they can’t have me So they all come and dance beside me Move with me, chant with me And if you’re good I’ll take you home with me”
Slowly the crowd dispersed and my 16-year-old and I found ourselves dancing by the pool with a group of drunk 20-something guys. With some effort we finally coaxed some 50-something ladies to join in.
All the while I was keenly aware of my t-shirt which read, “Believe Jesus.” The fun I was having was mixed with questions.
I would have felt fine bringing Jesus over to the Ping-Pong table or buffet line, but here it just felt weird.
Was I being convicted by the Holy Spirit that I shouldn’t have been there? Was I more afraid to cause conflict with my dancing queen daughter than to hightail it out of there? Was I simply struggling because I was in an atmosphere that seemed too worldly for my shirt? Was it all of this, some of this or something else altogether?
The situation opened my eyes to my general puzzlement with what it means to live Christianly on vacation. To head out with the family and have fun, guilt-free. Sure, on our vacations we go to church often but the rest of our time is fairly pleasure-centered. How does Jesus want me to honor Him during a break from life?
The more I reflected the more I realized this atmosphere was so foreign to my insulated world. I work in Christian radio. My kids attend a Christian school. We are members of a fabulous church and our downtime is spent with them.
Perhaps the reason I was so stretched on this vacation was because I have done most everything I can so I don’t have to live in the world.
Away from the world it’s safe. I mean there is certainly conflict among Christians but I don’t have to worry our small group is going to turn into a kegger. It is so comfortable and controlled.
I am not in tune with what the Holy Spirit wants of me as I live in the world because I am not there. Let me explain… I am mostly repulsed by the actions of other people or I am anxious I could sin so I don’t want to go there. My mama didn’t raise me that way! I don’t know whether it is simply a conditioned, traditional response to stay away from certain places and people or if it is the Holy Spirit’s prompting.
Is it normal to feel this tension? Do you feel like you are on the edge of probably needing to confess something when you are away from a Christian environment? (Funny how I can overeat with Christians and don’t feel the same way!)
This post sadly is not one with a bow neatly tied to wrap it up at the end because I am brainstorming with you… What would it look like to true live in the world and not of the world?
Jesus said, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”
So now I am asking the Lord what I can do to love the people of the world and be with them without sinning. I am also asking Him to give me discernment to know when I am should stay away from something because it is His leading, not simple anxiety about being uncomfortable. I desire too to be able to rest, relax and let loose without guilt. (I love to dance and so does my daughter, but we don’t because of these awkward moments!)
The Lord himself hung with the world and was in the world. He did not feel guilty for it, even though some wanted him to. I am praying the Lord will help me to be attune to how to live His way.