Oh, Lord, you convict my soul with every turn of my life, ever twist, every stumble. It is like my room or kitchen sink. I clean it up, and then life gets away from me and I live in a spiritual trash pit. And then you send me something to remind me I am slacking in my duty, that I am letting slide the camino I have been called to.
So, this article that my brother had, it reminded me that the vocation of the laity is an evangelistic one. I'm supposed to go out into the world and spread the good news, to convert the pagans, heretics, and infidels with the love of Christ. I know this, but I have a much harder time doing it. I tend to sympathize so much with the emotional place people are in, even if that emotional place is rebellion against their Lord and Creator, that I have no good arguments to convince them with, despite knowing my theology forwards and backwards. Instead I see them so completely that I feel as if no argument will change a heart and mind in pain, but only the unadulterated love of God as he chooses to pour down upon them and their lonely souls.
That's not something I can give. I'm just a humble human.
But it is also a rationalization that gets me off the hook as far as my missionary calling. I certainly didn't examine that aspect of my vocation when I picked it, at least not fully, because it makes me sort of uncomfortable. Other people are more brilliant than me, other people know the right words, other people can convince thousands to repent of their sins and turn to God.
How could I ever do something like that? My words are weak, shallow things, my heart to tender to the hurt of others, and me reasons feel flimsy and unconvincing. Why do I believe? Why am I Christian?
Because I have met God and He told me loved me, and I chose to believe Him.
Atheists everywhere will roll their eyes at that reason. I cannot disbelieve in God because I have met Him, and yet when I describe how I've met Him, they see not miracle, not deep calling on deep, but only what they want to see—coincidence and delusion.
So why did I chose a lay vocation anyway? Should I be off in some monastery praying for these people instead and seeing mystical union with God? Can a lay person be a mystic anyway? Why should my weak and miserable life convince anyone that God is their Lord and Savior and wants to give them eternal life?
These are the reasons that make me cower and hide behind excuses like needing to put my own spiritual house in order before I can invite people to come visit. And yet, I'll never finish cleaning it if I don't know I'm getting any guests, now will I? So, perhaps that's all it is an excuse to hide behind and not move forward on the journey I am called to.
I have the desire still, deep within me to give God himself to others through my writing. It's not like God is asking me to stand on a street corner and preach the good news. It's not like he wants me to go to coffee shops and challenge those pagans, atheists, and heretics in philosophical discussion, which I stink at.
No, he's only challenging me to touch the non-believers through the written word, to bring his love to them hidden in parables, to make the flames of the Holy Spirit rise up within them when they read my stories.
So then, my soul, why do you shy away from it? Why then are you sorrowful and hide behind meaningless stories? Why do you fear to put faith into your work whether it works or not and see what happens?
I think I am reluctant because I want to reach those who do not believe, not simply entertain those who already believe. I want to call to the Presence within them, I want to awaken the God they have forgotten that sleeps in their souls, I want to challenge them to Love and Life. And I don't know how to do that.
There is no formula, no set of surefire steps for the conversion of souls this way. I know perhaps two authors who did such a thing, and with mixed results. Can I really do that which I long? Or ought I to take an apologetics course and go find some unbelievers? Whatever I do, I know what I need to NOT do. I need to not hide behind excuses that books based on faith are too "hard" or "sappy" to write. I need to not use my dirty spiritual laundry lying all over the floor as an excuse not to invite others to see my soul and why I believe as I do.
Perhaps I'll never be a very good evangelist, but that doesn't mean I can get out of it, when I've felt called to a lay vocation. It is time to set aside the doubt, yet again, to pick up the dirty spiritual laundry, yet again, and to start down this difficult journey, yet again, and trust that my Father will guide me.