I realized something this week. I went to Christian schools from K-12th grade, then 2 Christian universities, then seminary, and I’m just now, at 34 years of age, able to say I have non-Christian friends. 34 years. I’ve had more than 20 years of training around and by Christians, but only half a year of actually being friends with non-Christians. Now, I’m not saying I was never acquaintances with them before. I worked in secular jobs for years, so my co-workers were mostly non-Christian. And I was an au pair in Holland for a non-Christian family, so I got to live with and intimately know non-Christians for a year. But this is the first time that I’ve actually been able to say I hang around some non-Christians and can have conversations with them about life, our kids, and other things. I’m ashamed to say that, but it’s true. I have been so blessed to be able to be trained in the Word, but I haven’t done a good job in using that training to witness to those around me. I have squandered many years of my life because I’ve been scared to get out of my Christian bubble. It’s become a part of who I am, so much so that leaving it was almost impossible.
Then I had kids. And moved to a foreign country. Both these things have made it almost impossible to NOT leave my Christian bubble. If my kids are to have friends, I have to go looking elsewhere for them (although we do have kids at church their age, which is a blessing). So, E’s ballet class and J’s music class have been good outlets for them. Although J’s music class is now on hiatus (we were sick too often to make it worth it), E’s ballet class has served and continues to serve as a wonderful outlet to meeting new people. She’s been in class with the same three girls for 1.5 years now, and just this past week, I was able to have two of those girls and their moms over for a playdate. It was so much fun! The ladies and I already normally chat on Mondays during ballet, but this past Tues., we were able to have two hours together. We covered so many topics, including my church, but it was just so laid back and refreshing. One of the ladies is a Buddhist (I’ve had a good conversation with her before about Buddhism and Christianity) and the other one is nothing, but her daughter goes to E’s school, so she’s been exposed to Christianity. Not only did E enjoy playing with the two girls (she’s really good friends with one of them because of preschool), but I had fun talking to their moms.
I remember a non-Christian girl in my neighborhood growing up–I don’t know where she lived, but I remember her coming to our door a couple times. She wasn’t a Christian and would swear, so I was told not to hang out with her anymore. I also remember trying to think of ways I could tell her about Jesus, but because I didn’t hang out with her much, I couldn’t share with her. I had a desire to tell others about Jesus, but I never got to meet many non-Christians, and the ones I did meet were more threatening because they were so different than I was. I started to get too scared to say anything to people, and that fear eventually killed my evangelistic heart. The Christian bubble wasn’t necessarily to keep me safe at that point–it was just a way I could hide from what God was urging me to do. E, on the other hand, has such an evangelistic heart–she and I both prayed before the girls came over that we could tell them and their moms about Jesus, and that God would make them believe in Him. She is always excited to tell people about heaven and Jesus and has no fear that they may seem threatened or put off. Oh, to have the faith of a child! She humbles me and makes me more bold with others, partly because I sometimes have to explain some of her statements she makes to them. 🙂
God has given us so many opportunities since being here of sharing the Word, and He’s growing us in wisdom about when to share and when to stay silent. He’s taking us all out of our Christian bubbles (and Christian society–living here is SO DIFFERENT than living in Texas) and putting us into the world so that we can do what we were meant to do as Christians–share the good news that is within us. It’s what we’re commanded to do…it just took me 34 years to really do it. We pray that our kids learn it right from the start.