Ok, you caught me. Every once in a while (as in every Monday night) my evenings are spent with Tyra Banks and a handful of young wannabe supermodels, via America’s Next Top Model. Some people prefer gossip sites, or other forms of bad tele, but it’s a combo of hormonal women, fashion and Tyra all in one, and my Monday’s nights can’t lose. After a few seasons, the models all look the same after awhile- tall, Bambi eyes, gorgeous contoured faces and attitudes that can cut you in half.
A few weeks ago, one of the episodes included, Amber as the young 18 year old Southern Californian who caught my attention. Not only did she have the harsh annoying attitude, but when I actually heard the words "Jesus loves you" on a reality television show, I felt like I was watching a car flip over and over. It was horrifying but just like reality TV, it was so deliciously entertaining.
I was offended at first. "This crazy girl does not represent me", and "I can't believe she is not being sarcastic." The other models were of course turned off by the Jesus spews, but they were mostly turned off by the emotional rollercoaster that was Amber. In a great mood, she was the evangelical young woman of God with crazy in her eyes. In a foul mood, she was the young evangelical young woman of God with crazy in her eyes. Do you see the pattern here?
I suddenly remembered why I was so intrigued by this crazy girl. Amber reminded me a lot of myself when I was 18, and most younger Christian "born again" girls. Loud, obnoxious, and base all our Christianity based on emotions rather than the Truth. I don’t speak for everyone, but for the most part, I’m sure we can all admit at one point in our growth with God, it has been more about how we feel rather what it really is.
Once a born again Christian goes through the emotional process of becoming "born again", no one can deny the feelings involved. I remember the night I gave my life to Christ (again), and my parents surrendered their mischievous teen hellish daughter to the hands of camp counselors who do not get paid enough to deal with demon children like me. Cue the worship music, the bond fire, the devastating testimonials from ex-prisoners, the hormonal teens and the hour long prayers. It was not a moment I regret giving my life to the Lord, but in all honesty, I wish I would have been more stable about it. I had a choice to make, and I chose to follow Christ that night, but it was not how I would have wanted it. Some campers took it as an opportunity to focus more on God, I (and the other part of the camp) took it as another way to get more dramatic about something.
After coming home, I was on such a Jesus high. I sold my secular music to the local record store and bought every Christian CD targeted to teens then. I decided that fashion was a way of the world, not the way of God, and decided my friends were not just good enough to help me in my walk. After a few weeks of reading my Bible daily, attending youth group weekly, leaving the life of secular music and television, abandoning my worldy friendships, my parents evil planned worked. That is until one morning I was bored with it all. I was bored with the Supertones on constant repeat, I was bored with my lame goody church friends, I was bored with Scripture, I was just tired of “being a Christian”. I became aware that I was a dramatic angsty girl with too much to live for in just khaki pants and turtlenecks. I wanted to have absolute freedom and somehow I got the impression that freedom was not Christianity, at least not man-made Christianity.
The problem with the Rosie Riveter, Obama type "We Can Do This", or "Yes, We Can" emotions fall flat once they melt away. It took years to finally come to have a good relationship with my thoughts and feelings, to actually want to read my Bible rather than having to feel forced to read it.
God didn't make us as robots, He made us with dangerous emotions such as anger, jealousy, joy, fear, sadness, and passion to name a few favorites. After so many meltdowns and dramatic moments in my life to grab attention, quiet confidence speaks to others more than loud Bible verses. Amber reminds me that yes, she may still be growing wherever she is (she didn’t make the second episode) but God speaks truth to us in unexpected moments, like friendships, and quiet moments and most importantly, love.