Dear Christian, I have good news.
Inspiration isn’t enough anymore. Why am I telling you this? Why is this good news? Because it will most certainly cut through the noise and it is certainly loud.
I can almost see you recoiling at that sentence. We like inspiration. It is why we pick up book after book. And it’s why we turn up the music and move our bodies, gracefully or not. We go to conferences like Imperfectly Brave Weekend. We scroll hours upon hours through Pinterest. (Let’s be honest with ourselves here, friends. This is a village of honesty, after all.)
To be inspired is unique to the human spirit, isn’t it? It is something we all crave. For some of us, pizza inspires. Others, ballet and a museum. Whichever, it is part of the vacuum inside of us — to seek inspiration.
But inspiration is simply not cutting it.
Take a look around.
We are a people, churched or not, desperately seeking to be inspired, and it hasn’t gotten us very far. Our choices for November 8th prove that. But there is good news, believer.
CHURCH + INSPIRATION
In order to understand the good news, we must know that our desire for inspiration permeates everything. Even the church can slip into the ideal of inspiration. I’m also going to say it’s not really her fault. Everything about the gospel is inspiring. It gets under us and pumps our blood a bit faster. And if it doesn’t do that, it should. The gospel is by far the greatest love story that has ever happened.
And we love good love stories.
But I believe we are hinged on a crux with the American church. It isn’t a new crux, as I am not about to say believers before us haven’t faced this. If you are studying church history with Jennie Allen and her team, you know that the history of the church is full of its imperfections.
But it is a new crux for America. And so we are a tribe going a bit mad with political ads and scandals and news leaks. It’s all a bit much for the human spirit, yes?
FULL BRAINS + WEAK MOTIVES
We have become a society with far too much information. It’s loud. And yes, I am placing Christiandom under this banner. Our leaders keep saying, “LET’S INSPIRE THE PEOPLE! Let’s give them more information! More well-crafted sermons! More Bible Studies!”
And they should.
Publishing companies, churches, Lifeway and conferences are doing what they should. (My goodness, I wrote my own Bible Study and adore Beth Moore to no avail).
We do Bible studies to get women in the Word. And there is nothing else that changes a woman more than being in the Word. We write good sermons to shepherd tender flocks. We produce more information to make the Bible easier to understand. With any attempt at spreading the gospel, the motive behind it becomes the most telling.
And here is where we need to step into action. Big time. No excuses. All hands in. Ready, set, go.
This is actually good news. This is for you, sweet sister.
MOVING FROM INSPIRED TO ACTION
Good news comes from being fed up with being strung out on inspiration. It comes when we decide to GET AFTER IT rather than scroll a little longer or wait until we feel a little bit better. It means we cease making excuses like, “I am too introverted. Work is too hard. I don’t really need other people praying with me.”
Excuses keep inspiration simply an idea. The actual gumption to GO is what changes us.
Now, I easily can slip into the “inspire” me equation. For years, I desired to know Jesus deeply. I felt the heat rise in my blood when I was told the story. I was saved for goodness sake. But simply being inspired wasn’t enough for me. Sunday after Sunday I went to church, wondering when I would really fall in love. I would squeeze in a quick five minute devotional before working out. Or my personal favorite, I would pray in the car and call it a day. But I felt heavy still.
And like that project on Pinterest that “inspired” you and you never tackled — it hangs over you like a weight.
But knowing Jesus was never meant to be like this.
BEYOND INSPIRED: PRAYER AND COMMUNITY
The Imperfectly Brave Weekend was a total of eleven hours on the weekend of October 28, 2016. But those eleven hours would have never happened without the accumulation of hundreds upon hundreds of hours worked by women and even men. And as they offered their gifts to the Lord, each came alive in their own space. Together, we co-labored for one mission. We tirelessly and also joyfully gave ourselves over to a mission of creating a lifestyle of prayer and community.
And why would we do that?
Because at this point, the church needs more than inspiration.
Facing an upcoming election where one man uses words to mutilate a woman’s worth and another woman who proclaims it is a woman’s right to choose to kill a life inside of her, we can’t simply be inspired any longer, believer.
We have to put action to our many pins on Pinterest, spiritually speaking.
So how? I would say this — get in the Word and start praying with other women. And please, don’t let those words inspire you. Do it.
When Jesus cleansed the temple, He made sure that everyone knew that prayer should be a priority. He declared “this is a house of prayer” as tables were being flipped and righteous anger absorbed His body.
When God’s people gather they should be in His Word and pray.
What will we be known for, Church? An inspiring place or a house of prayer?
So let’s do this together because I love a good team. What if you called one girlfriend? What if you made it simple and met for lunch. What if you wrapped up and said, “Let’s pray. Let’s really pray.”
And then what if you did that over and over again. What if you created a lifestyle of prayer and community?
You would change. And so would she. And so would your church. And then your neighborhood and your city. This is good news, believer. I promise that this is the best news.