boring Christians and being useless

People, I am a boring Christian. In a million ways.

I don’t have a radical testimony, the kind that involves drugs/alcohol/sex/crimes/traumatic experiences/dramatic turnarounds. Nope, I was a church kid. I grew up teething on the pews, to quote a youth leader of mine. I was that obnoxious kid in Sunday School that knew all the answers (hint: it’s usually “Jesus”). 

I don’t have any impressive spiritual gifts. Have you ever taken one of those spiritual assessment surveys? You know, the ones where you select the things that seem to describe you most and then add up the numbers and at the end, your little piece of paper is supposed to tell you where your gifts lie so that you can best use them to further the Kingdom. Well, my spiritual gift is not anything cool like prophecy or evangelism (which, by the way, happens to be my lowest-ranked spiritual gift. no joke). I’m not a teacher or a shepherd or a leader. No, my spiritual gift is administration.

Administration. Spreadsheets and sticky notes and to-do lists. Plans. Schedules. Organizing things. (on the bright side, it’s nice to know my type-A/perfectionist/slightly OCD nature is not, after all, a fluke, but indeed a spiritual gift! You, too, can the further the Kingdom with your random talents!)

(I’m really not as bitter as that sounds. I promise).

And, friends, I have not been called to missions. I have not received a divine appointment from God to go to South America/Africa/Asia/inner-city-proverty-laden anywhere and love on babies/dig wells/preach the Gospel/teach orphans/make disciples of all nations.

No, folks, that is not me. I do not feel called to or led towards or gifted in those areas. Hence, my lack of exciting-ness. Before you ask, yes, I am aware of the body-of-Christ metaphor. I’m pretty sure in the body of Christ, I’m like an elbow or something. Nothing as exciting as the head or feet or hands for me.

And as a college student actively involved in a student ministy…man, my boringness is more painfully evident every day.

I don’t strike up conversations with strangers about their spiritual background and then share my faith, like some students on campus do. I don’t spend my lunch break praying for our campus and city. I don’t evangelize. I don’t even always remember to pray for people after I’ve told them I will (whoops. sorry folks). 

Summer missions is pitched pretty hard to college students. After all, we are considered to be old enough to make a difference in the world, we are often passionate about saving the whales/trees/sinners, and we have summer vacations. And so my best friends pack their bags and head off into the great wide world, full of passion and fire, ready to embark on a grand adventure and share God’s love. That is a good thing – that is such a good thing. I am so excited for them, for all they will learn and experience and do.

Meanwhile, I sit at home. And read. And take a biology class. And work at a summer camp (and it’s not even a Christian camp. gasp). What a boring summer.

The point that I am trying to make, in a rather long-winded manner, is this: often, the boring Christians can feel shamed.

It’s easy to feel as though because I am not an evangelist, I am worthless to the kingdom of the Lord. Because it’s the leaders and speakers and go-out-there-and-talk-to-people-ers that get noticed and praised in the church.

It’s especially easy to feel that I, as a college student with three whole months that I could be devoting to God by traveling to a third-world country, am wasting my youth/vigor/summer vacation. It’s easy to feel useless and worthless and like I should be doing something bigger and better with my life. It’s easy to feel jealous of the grand adventures and the mountaintop moments and the amazing God encounters they are doubtless going to have.

So this summer, as my friends scatter across the globe, I am stuck batting down emotions of anger and jealously and shame. I am left questioning my self-worth and my use to God’s kingdom. Because frankly, I feel quite useless. 

In times like these (which are more frequent than I would rather let you know), I find comfort and strength in 1 Corinthians.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” 1 Cor 12:4-6

Varieties of gifts, of service, of activities. Same Spirit. The Spirit that lives in me, the Spirit that is with me while I am sitting in biology class is the same Spirit that is accompanying my friends across the world. It’s hard to trust that He will use my life to His glory when it doesn’t feel like it, but I believe that He gave me certain gifts for a reason, that I am not called to missions work for a reason (reason #1: my fear of spiders, cockroaches, anything at all that is creepy/crawly/has more than the usual number of legs), that He can and will use me to build His kingdom. I just don’t quite know how yet.

“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” 1 Cor 7:17

As I was skimming through some of my old journals, I found an entry related to this topic. I will leave you with the wise words of myself, circa February 2011:

“But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose.” 1 Cor 12:18

God arranged. Each one. As He chose. He has given us all spiritual gifts and talent and blessings – as He chose. And He purposed each person and each gift for a different reason and different purpose. Not more or less worthy, and all necessary. If we are jealous or unhappy with our position and gits, that is insulting the Lord and rejecting His plan.

Man, February-2011-me was smart.

I’ll leave you with a few other posts on boring Christianity for your perusal:


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