I just got a pop-up window that said, “Click here to get inspiring email devotions in your inbox.”
Call me a cynic, but my first thought was, ‘That’s the last thing I need – to be inspired. I need far more help than fuzzy, feel-good devotionals.’
I looked up the definition of inspire: to fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative; stimulate, motivate, encourage, influence, rouse, move, stir, energize, incite. (italics, mine)
We’ve all heard or read people who we’d call ‘inspiring,’ right? We listen to their sermon or devotional or product idea and we think, ‘Wow! That person is amazing! That sermon was awesome. They are so passionate for their thing. I should be more like that!’ They get us to a kind of emotional peak, and fist-pumping, ‘Yeah! You go, girl!’ but five minutes later, there is nothing left of their talk in our lives besides the overall impression they are awesome and their life is wonderful and the overwhelming resolution that – let’s be honest – there is no way that we could ever be like that.
It is in this way, that, at least for me, I’ve stopped looking to be inspired. Between our Great Enemy and my own sin-disease, what is left in my head and heart when I’m done being inspired is more gaps and less bridges. What is left is a felt hierarchy of humanity. What is left is a widening expanse among economic or can-do-it or spiritual classes – rather than a beautiful compression until ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’ (Galatians 3:28)
I believe that we are all meant to live simple lives out of an upside-down value-system and with a dedication to continue growing in knowing and loving more: self, God, and others.
All of us. Not just pastors. Not just writers. Not just the people who give TED talks.
So I don’t look for inspirational heroes any more.
I look for heroes who are simply someone I want to be like when I grow up.
I look for heroes who are actually someone who I could be when I grow up.
Inspiring, still? Yes, maybe a little bit. But much deeper than that.
Someone who readily admits their flaws and is a master at giving and receiving forgiveness. Someone who will be vulnerable with me about their own sin-disease liabilities and someone who will graciously help me to see mine. Someone who spreads the Good News of Jesus primarily as they receive the Good News of Jesus again for themselves each new day. Someone that knows that they are lost without Jesus, but embraces (with a laugh, even!) that so is everybody else and – praise God! – in Jesus we are found. Someone who is still, day by day, actually being changed by the power of God’s Spirit. Someone who gives God credit for the tiny and mighty changes they’ve seen in their own life; someone who assures me that if He can change even them, then there is definitely still hope for me!
Someone who does NOT ‘urge me to do or to feel something’, but, instead, to be someone who lives and breathes and thinks and acts more like Jesus would if He were living my life.