I read this great article by Seth Barnes this morning called Burned Out on Religion? On Sunday, I heard the same verse quoted by the pastor at the end of the message. I’ve always loved the Message translation of Matthew 11:28-30.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
After reading Seth’s post this morning, I thought about that question. Are you religious? The most recent time someone asked me that question was about a month ago by the man who came to install our direct TV. He was a friendly man who spent all afternoon at my house. All afternoon. Installing and talking. Talking and installing. He was a helpful, chatty man. If there was a picture next to the word extrovert in the dictionary, I am certain it would be his picture. Did I mention he had the gift of gab? 🙂
We were going on hour number three of the marathon installation process when he asked me the question.
“Are you religious?”
His question wasn’t asked as the launching board for a deep theological discussion. It was his lead in to a discussion about the “religious” channels I would now have access to. Yet, whenever I get asked that question, I cringe. I’ll be blunt here. I hate the word religious. I hate it.
Have you ever wanted a do over response after someone asked you a question you were not prepared for?
I was burned out on the installation process. I was burned out on the moving into the new house process. I was a drooping candle.
When this man asked me this question, my first response was to throw up a little on the inside. Then, in the split second before my actual response…I thought about saying “No, I’m not religious.” But how could I say no without an explanation? And, I was tired. Introverts (who have extrovert tendencies) tend to get tired after three hours with true genuine extroverts. So, I stammered for the words, “Umm…I…suppose?” It came out sounding more like a question rather than an answer.
“Well, Ma’am, these channels are all your religious channels. You’ve got a ton of ’em.”
Yep, I want a do over.
I wish I had been prepared. Because here’s the answer that would have made me less nauseous.
“Are you religious?”
“Nah…(insert casual hand swing pushing away the question) but I DO kinda of have this thing for Jesus.”
The man wasn’t looking for a deep conversation about the difference between religion and relationship. He was simply explaining my channels. But, in hindsight, I could have given him something more than just the typical response he hears all the time.
What about you? Ever opted for the easier “safe” answer rather than taking the time be intentional and making a moment count?