Transactional Jesus


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So, what do you do?

I dread this question. I’ve tried to answer it several ways. 

“I have a chronic illness, so I can’t work.” 

“I just stay at home.” 

“I write.”

I’m already a little awkward socially, but that question throws me every time. The truth is, I feel that I am somehow worth less than others because I do not hold a job. 

Raising children is as demanding as any job.

I’m not going to deny that. I’ve had traditional jobs in the past that were FAR easier than staying home with the kids. It still doesn’t change the fact that the question people ask directly after learning your name is, “What do you do”. This question didn’t bother me until I couldn’t “do” anymore. Then I had to realize that my sense of self and my self worth was wrapped up in the answer to that question.

But it was worse than that.

I realized my relationship with God was also wrapped up in that question. When I could no longer read my Bible daily due to brain fog that wouldn’t let me comprehend the words, when I didn’t have the energy to stand and worship, when prayer consisted of only the tears slipping down my face…then I had to question what kind of relationship with God I even had.

I had a transactional one. That was how I was taught to approach my relationship with God. If I wanted to be close with God I must: Read the Bible daily, pray daily, go to church thrice weekly, and worship God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Or as the song I was taught put it:

Neglect your bible

Refuse to pray (repeat x3)

and you’ll SHRINK…Shrink…shrink.

I’m not saying doing those things daily is bad or wrong. What I AM saying is that the transactional idea is wrong. I could tell you that if you want to have a close relationship with someone, you should call them every morning and talk for ten minutes, read some of their biography every night, and go over for dinner every Wednesday and Sunday. And that might work.

However, that is not the only way to have a relationship with someone, and that “formula” might not work at all for some people.

Society has told me that in order to be a good wife, one must cook, clean, and take care of the kids. OR one must go to work and help with the household.

These are our cultural ideas of a Good Wife. I can only do the first partially and the second not at all. I was devastated that I couldn’t live up to, not only the culture’s standards, but my own. The thing is, my husband doesn’t care. Actually, that’s not entirely true. The truth is, my husband is over the moon about me. I can’t DO anything, but that doesn’t change his love for me because our relationship isn’t transactional. It’s not about what I do for him or what he does for me. It’s about laughing on our pillows when the lights go out. It’s about facing battles arm in arm, and it’s about crying in each other’s arms when we lose a few. It’s about him and me, together.

And that’s what my relationship with God is like now. It’s not transactional, so I don’t worry if I’ve held up my end of the transaction. I come to God with nothing, and that’s okay.