God Loves Lawyers (Part 1): The Myth of the Less Godly Profession

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During Spring Break I visited the law school I will be attending this Fall. 

I’ve come to dread Christians asking me what I’m going to do now that I’ve graduated college. When I give my simple five word reply, “I’m going to law school,” I immediately feel my smile turn to a grimace as I read their face and anticipate their response. The responses are usually similar: a fake plastered smile and a slow nod preceded by a lawyer joke or being told, “Good, we need more lawyers to defend Christians.” I’ve received this response enough that I now simply return the nod and smile. I’ve previously made the mistake of trying to defend my career choice; not only of being a lawyer, but expressing my lack of desire in being a lawyer that seeks to only defend Christians. I had thought this was an experience unique to me and lawyers, however, I spoke with friends recently–a graphic designer, an engineer, and an accountant–only to learn that they have had similar experiences. It’s as if our professions aren’t good enough, aren’t Christian enough. We’ve even been accused of being “worldly,” simply because we are not pursuing the seemingly “more Christian” professions of missionaries, Sunday School teachers and full-time missionaries….although I would argue becoming a teacher at a Christian school or a nurse would also be an “acceptable Christian profession” by many.

These conversations are too similar. For too long American Christians have wrongly believed that certain professions are “more Christian” or “More Godly” than others. Are we not all called to different mission fields? Have we not all been given different gifts and talents and personalities? If we were all to be “only” mothers, nursers, and foreign missionaries how many tens of thousands of peoples would actually MISS an opportunity to hear the gospel?

God Called A Tax Collector First

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St. Matthew is often depicted with a pen. 

One of my favorite accounts in the Bible is that of Matthew, the tax collector:

As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do.” Then He added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: “I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”~Matthew 9:9-13

For the first part of this blog post serious, I want to focus on part of the obvious that I feel gets overlooked: Jesus called a tax collector to be His first disciple. One thing has not changed in the past two thousand years: no one enjoys paying their taxes. Even though we may be able to reason through the benefits of paying taxes, like “free” public school education, roads, and national defense, I have yet to many an individual that gets excited to see how much money has been taken out of their pay stub for taxes. I certainly don’t!

I have a deep pity for those who work for the IRS, because I can only imagine the slew of remarks they get when others learn of their job. However, few people would argue that what these people do is actually immoral. Sure, there are those who refuse to pay taxes each year because they believe their dollars are going towards funding abortion or wars they don’t agree with, but few feel their tax dollars are being used to persecute them and their own people. We are paying our government, after all, not a foreign invader. However, the Jews were being forced to pay taxes to the Roman Empire: an invader whom committed atrocities against them and their people. Obviously, Matthew would have been disposed.

Yet, Jesus called him, and called him first. At first glance this post my seem contradictory to my previous statements; after all, the Biblical account states that Matthew got up and followed him. Matthew left his job to be a discipline of Christ Jesus. When he left his tax collection booth that day he was guaranteed to lose his profession. That takes faith! I can’t help but think how many people would be willing to do what God asked if it meant seemingly complete and total financial insecurity…not many. Although Matthew indeed got up and left his sinful profession–and we should all leave our profession if it is sinful–he took his gifts, talents, interests and skills with him, and blessed the world through these.

Gifts, Talents, and Interests

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No gray area. 

I’ve been told that I think in the black and white a lot. For some of my friends, this can be annoying. To be, something is either right OR wrong. There is no gray area. Never.

Likewise, I absolutely love to plan! I planned out my entire college schedule while in high school after I accidentally gained access to my future university’s student website that listed class meeting times; and for fun I have attempted to plan my future law school schedule. I love lists and color coding. In fact, I will be put in a very deep rut for several days if something schedule did not happen, or the schedule was not followed.

I’m also a gifted speaker, outgoing, charismatic, and empathetic.

These are just some of the ways I’m wired. These above characteristics are part of who I am, and just happen to be gifts/skills that align well with a legal profession.

God does not ask us to give up our gifts and skills, in fact, He does the opposite. He asks us to use those gifts for Him. Matthew, as a tax collected, was accustomed to taking detailed notes and accounts. He obviously liked precision, and was gifted in retaining and sorting information. Although He had previously used these skills in his job as a tax collector, He then used his skills to record the first Gospel of the New Testament. Billions of people for thousands of years have read his detailed accounts, and individuals right now are trying to translate his accounts of his time with Jesus into every single language spoken on the planet and even those not spoken! Talk about a huge task! God was thus able to use his talents and interests to serve Him.

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we each belong to each other. ~Romans 12:5

There are many specific spiritual gifts named throughout the Bible: teaching, prophesy, empathy, encouragement, ect. And these spiritual gifts are used to nourish, encourage and grow what we call the “Body of Christ”, that is, Christians. However, God has also designed each person with unique talents: being outgoing, creative, more reserved, or having an exceptional athletic/musical/other talent. As I will talk more about in my next post, these talents, our interests, and professions allow us to reach individuals with the gospel that those serving in traditional missionary fields (pastors, full-time missionaries, ect.) cannot reach. Instead of being ashamed of our talents, or think we need to give up these talents, we need to think: how can I use these talents and see my gifts as my mission field? 

Bloom Where You Are Planted

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During college I pursued four majors and several minors, simply because I enjoy learning. At my college’s awards ceremony these achievements were recognized. 

Growing up I was “shushed” a lot. I always had something to say. I read non-fiction historical books and watched documentaries from a young age. Although I’ve had to learn that there are appropriate times to share information, and am thankful for a recent ADD diagnosed and medications that have helped calmed the constant tornado in my brain, I have grown up thinking that being smart is not cool. My family talks a lot about how they wished I had more “common sense.” Many of my family members are gifted carpenters, plumbers, and overall handymen and women, they can fix just about anything and their mind works this way. I can only imagine how strange it must have been for them to have a child that wanted to read thick biographies about presidents instead of learn to fix things around the house. I was labeled as lazy, book-smart, and different. Although I’m 22, being categorized as these things, and not having my intellect and desire to learn nurtured and appreciated, still hurt.

I wanted to share these parts of my story, to conclude by saying: the gifts God has given you and the way He has made you matters. It should be celebrated. My outgoing personality, love for facts, and desire for truth will serve me well as an attorney. I can use the talents God has given me to work with integrity, and bring glory to Him by using the talents and interests God has given me, and using them well to the best of my ability, And, more importantly,  I can use my profession as an attorney to share my faith with individuals who would otherwise never set foot in a church or a mission outreach.

Never be ashamed of the talents and interests God has given you. Use these to do good, and to pursue things you enjoy that glorify God. We’re not all called to speak from the pulpit every Sunday, nor are we all called to sell our belongings and move to an unreached people group. Some of us were designed to stay where we were born, and do jobs that are wrongly labeled as “less Christian.” We must bloom where we are planted. God needs people of all skills and talents, including tax collectors like Matthew and future lawyers like me.

xoxo
Krista

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Rough Days

Rough Day

Let’s be honest: we’ve all had days where we feel like this sheep. Just all around, kick you when you’re down, let’s go to bed not so this day can be over, rough days. It’s Saturday, so perhaps you’re finally finding rest from a rough night, a rough day, or a rough week. Or maybe, you’ve sat down at your computer to find a break away from your already rough morning (sometimes Saturdays can be the worst!) So, I hope this post can encourage you.

Rough Days That Aren’t Our Fault

Sometimes rough days aren’t our fault. Take, for example, Mrs. T-Rex here trying to make this bed. It’s not her fault she has those short arms! Sometimes, our disabilities, our families and our circumstances can cause us to have rough days. Maybe the bus you needed to get on wasn’t wheelchair accessible so you were late for your appointment, maybe you can’t run fast and weren’t picked for the soccer team, or maybe you were discriminated against for your gender or race. This can kind of rough day can often feel like the worst, because it was not your fault, and there is nothing you can do to make sure that this won’t happen again. I am so sorry, precious reader, for the deep hurt you are feeling right now. You have a right to feel hurt. Some important things to remember:

  • It is important that you seek to quickly forgive and reconcile with the people or organizations that wronged you. Not forgiving can lead to bitterness, and bitterness just makes you miserable.
  • Seek legal help if necessary. If you have been discriminated in a way that breaks the law (such as the American with Disabilities Act) seek out the right authorities. Forgiving an individual does not mean that they do not deserve consequences.
  • Talk to the individual that wronged you. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding. Make sure that you only talk to the individual if it is emotionally and physically safe to do so.

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Col. 3:13


Rough Days That Are Our Own Fault

As much as we hate to admit it, sometimes our rough days are our own fault: we say mean things, we make really bad decisions, we forget about important things. When we cause our own rough days, it is important to remember to do these steps:

  1. Be humble. Be willing to admit that we can be at fault for causing our problems. Recognize quickly when you are at fault.
  2. Immediately seek to apologize to those you have wronged (even if they do not know you have wronged them) and take steps to begin rebuilding trust. For example, if you stole $20, return that $20 and apologize.
  3. Ask God to forgive you. If you are a Christian, all of your sins have been forgiven, however, continuing to sin hurt your relationship with God. Also, although we can sin against each other, we ultimately are sinning against God. When David, the King of Israel, slept with a man’s wife and then killed him so he could marry her, remorseful he told God, “Against You and You only have I sinned” (Psalm 51:4). If you are not a Christian, you need to be made right with God, by asking Him to forgive you.
  4. Forgive  yourself. This can often be the most difficult thing to do.

God’s forgiveness is without condition. He will forgiven all of our wrongdoings if we simply ask and turn away from our sins. Likewise, our forgiveness should be the same.

“I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.” Isaiah 44:22


Remember How Much You Are Loved

Regardless of why you are having a rough day, remember, precious reader, how much you are loved, how much value you have. Anger is fleeting. Those who love you will forgive you. Although forgiveness is a process, and it can take months or years to have the relationship you had before. If others have wronged you, remember that there is no greater or a testament to God’s faith, and His work in your life, than to forgive someone that does not deserve your forgiveness, just as we do not deserve God’s forgiveness. Yet, He gives it abundantly. See each hardship as a reminder that Earth is not our home, and look forward to the day when pain and “rough days” are a faded, distant memory, when we are in the perfect place with God. Remember, that although God hates your sin, he will always delight in you, precious reader, His beloved creation.

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zeph. 3:17

It’s Not a Sin to Love Yourself: The Problem with J.O.Y.


It’s not a sin to love yourself. For those of you who group up in church, I can hear your gasps through my computer screen. And, those of you who did awesome in AWANA, are PK’s and never missed a 5 Day Club, probably even started reciting KJV verses that explicitly say “self-love is bad”, but in King Jamesish, of course. But, before you slam down your laptop screen, grab your coffee and walk away from your computer, hear me out: There is a difference between pride and loving the person God created you to be. 


Pride

One of my least favorite things about the English language is that although we have many words, we do not have words with varying levels. For example, you love your spouse, your mom, coffee, the outdoors and America. However, when you say, “I love you, mom”, you mean something much different than when you say “I love you, babe” while cuddling, and something much, much different than announcing at your office meeting how much you love your pumpkin spice latte. Likewise, we need to have more names for the word “pride”. It is a good thing to take pride in your work and ensure that it is the best, it is a good thing to be proud of your family, but yet, pride is also so awful, that it’s one of the “Seven Deadly Sins”. Therefore, the emotion that we have (usually) when we tell our child we are proud of them, is much different than a “proud man”.

So, why is pride such a bad thing? Why is it considered one of the most difficult, and dangerous sins? Here’s why:

  • When we are truly proud, we believe we are the greatest. We are invincible. Nothing can bring us down and we surely do not need God.
  • Heck, not only do we not need God, we don’t need other people.
  • And, since we don’t need other people, we don’t need to be concerned about their well being. It’s all about ME, because I’m super freaking awesome and invincible. Bow down and worship me now, minions!

    He’s not buying the whole “bow down and worship me” thing. Guess he’s not voting for me for world leader.

In short, pride makes us believe that we do not need God, we do not need to seek or listen to correction, and we do not need others, nor do we need to be sensitive to their needs. No wonder the Bible, and wise people, warn so much against pride. In case your Bible is  a little dusty, a quick few verses about pride:

  • Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
  • Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. Proverbs 13:10
  • The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled). Isaiah 2:12

Think of a “proud person”: someone who thinks they are so great they don’t need help. Perhaps they have a serious problem or addiction and refuse to seek help. Perhaps they are so concerned about having the perfect car in the driveway, that they work crazy hours and neglect their family. Perhaps it’s a student who refuses to tutor others, in fear that they will loose the top seat in the class. In short: pride hurts relationships and makes us unable to see our need for God. This is why pride, or self-love as some translations call it, is bad. However, loving yourself is not bad, it’s Biblical.


Self-Love

Throughout the Bible, there is an overwhelming theme: to love people. The book of 1 John is filled with verses about the importance of loving others.

 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

We are told over, and over again to love one another. I mean, Jesus said it best. When asked what was the greatest commandment (rule to follow), he said that second only to loving God, we are to “Love your neighbor as yourself” Matt 22:49. Oh my goodness, that’s a big deal.

So, here’s the thing: neighbor, in the Bible, means everyone. Therefore, you are commanded to love every person in the world, and, every person in the world is commanded to love you. We’re human, we have flaws, we have personalities that we naturally fit with. I get that. Loving everyone does not mean being everyone’s best friend. I mean, seriously, can you imagine trying to have 7 billion people over for a sleep over? No thanks. Loving your neighbor means treating every person with dignity and respect, and recognizing that they are loved by the King of the Universe and created in His image.

Loving your neighbor means treating every person with dignity and respect, and recognizing that they are loved by the King of the Universe and created in His image.

Yet, we, as humans and especially are women, are so hard on ourselves. There is nothing wrong with recognizing areas for self-improvement, however, we are our own worst critics. Take 30 seconds and think of all the ways you have criticized yourself today:

  • I’m too fat/too skinny
  • I talk too much/not enough
  • My nails are too short
  • My hair is too short/long
  • I’m not smart/I’m too smart

And the list goes on and on and on. If we’re called to recognize the dignity and value in every other person, we need to recognize the dignity and value we have. We need to be thankful for the amazing talents God has given us, and we must recognize them first. If you’re reading this: you can read! You had the brain capacity to learn to read. Thank God for that, and celebrate your diligence (learning to read is difficult, if you don’t remember). Are you on your own computer? Thank God for giving you the physical and mental ability to work, and then being diligent in that. You, precious reader, have so much to offer this world. It is in no way sinful to recognize the abilities God has given you, to thank Him, and to use and celebrate them. It becomes sinful, and prideful, when we forget that God gave us all of our abilities.


The Problem with J.O.Y.

In an attempt to combat the sinful, destructive pride, some Christian came up with the idea of JOY: an acronym for Jesus first, others second, yourself last. Although this is well intended, and has respectable merit, it can also be very damaging. I have seen this. Yes, Jesus does say that we need to love God (the greatest commandment) and love others as ourselves (2nd greatest), and I am not a heretic. Sometimes, in order to serve God, and serve others, we need to make ourselves, and our well-being, a top priority. For example: I am a volunteer advocate at my local rape crisis center. In order to be the best advocate possible, the night before I go on call, I need to make sure I get a full night’s rest (this means not answering Instagram messages or staying up encouraging a friend). Additionally, if I have a super emotionally difficult case, I may need to take a break, and take time out of my day to go to counseling. This is not being selfish. Additionally, it is not a sin to recognize we need rest! This means taking time away from people. Self care is not selfish.

Self care is not selfish.

In fact, refusing to take care of yourself, can in fact, be prideful: you are refusing to admit that you are not superwoman and that you don’t need help. Think about the long talk you get when you get on airplane. Before you help the person next to you put on their oxygen mask, you need to put on your own. Likewise, we need to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves before we can take care of others.

In my own life, and experience with various ministries, I have seen people shamed for doing this. Once a mother, overwhelmed with the birth of her newborn twins, declined to help at the church nursery the next year. Various people in the church, including church leadership, talked about HER heart issue. They told her to “Pray for strength” and that she was being selfish by not helping at the nursery. Yes, God does provide strength. However, how could she minister to the children when she was falling asleep and emotionally drained? Additionally, why couldn’t other members in the church step up, thank her for her service, and volunteer to do nursery? Who is really the one with the pride issue there? Self help and self care are necessary.


In Closing

So, to quickly summarize: