I had a startling discovery this past week involving my geek swag (the word swag has a ton of different meanings and usages, so to avoid confusion, my geek swag is any type of clothing or ornamentation that proudly proclaims my brands of geek).
I am SWAG
I have all manner of swag: Star Trek shirts, Jane Austen action figures, Triforce cups, buttons and the like. My jewelry swag ranges from garnet lady-bugs and silver double helixes to crushed bottle caps and resined spiders (don’t hate). My favorite things, though, are trees. I think they are beautiful and calming. I have shirts, pictures, necklaces, earrings, and rings that are tree themed. I’d go all Pinterest and live in a house that looked like it had a trees growing through it if given the opportunity. Alas for the opportunity.
Anyways. This week I went to pull out a necklace and my eyes fell on one that I had not worn in years. It is beautiful, a simple silver cross with a golden dove in the center. I put it on, and wore it through the day, as I would with any of my swag. I wore it for its beauty and the beauty of what it represented to me, and I realized that my pendulum had finally stopped swinging.
My pendulum started out on the far extreme in middle-school. I wore Christian everything: shirts, jewelry, stickers. In high-school, I plastered my locker with Christian bumper stickers (you may hate now. If you aren’t hating, you probably haven’t realized how awful and condescending 90% of those are).
I had heard that we mustn’t be ashamed of Christ. Well, clearly, that means shouting Him in every way possible at people we don’t know. We must wear shirts with pithy messages and slogans that look like popular secular things. We must wear crosses, and we must tell everyone about Jesus all the time. There is no room for other conversation because if they die without knowing Him right after talking to us- we are to blame.
Like I said, I was on the far extreme of one side, but then my pendulum was cut loose. I realized that the love of Christ is not communicated in witty slogans, and that my behavior was not drawing people to him. It was born out of a need to prove something (I am not ashamed of Jesus) and not out of love for him or for others.
It is my experience that people on a far extreme, if they change, will go to farthest other extreme before finding a happy medium. So, I swung to the other side. I gave away all my my Christian shirts, stopped wearing Christian jewelry, and was embarrassed by people who acted the way I used to. I stopped mentioning Him even when the conversation genuinely merited.
I believe that was when I realized that I had gone too far. I believed in God, I had seen miracles, and I couldn’t pretend otherwise just to make sure everyone around me didn’t think I was weird. Heck, I even told them I was weird, so what was I afraid of? Good question, took some considering. I was afraid of driving people away from the cross of Christ by trivializing it, and I was afraid of looking foolish. I was afraid of smashing thoughtlessly into a subject that should be entered with sensitivity and love.
Plenty of legit fears (well, except the looking foolish one. The cross of Christ is foolishness, and I signed up to be His fool), but I began to find a way. I started with love and respect because if either of those are missing our witness is worthless, and I let the Spirit lead from there.
Fast forward to this week. I wore Christian swag for the first time in I couldn’t remember when. I didn’t wear it to “be a witness” or to show people the side I was on. It wasn’t a matter of shame or pride. I wore it because it represents something beautiful and special to me, like my trees do, and I knew I had finally come to an equilibrium.