On a little blue button in the upper-right corner of my browser, it reads Followers. I can click it and see how many people follow this blog.
On my Instagram app, I can see how many followers I have without clicking any buttons; the number automatically appears.
The same goes for Twitter, other social media platforms, and even News browsers — you can choose what updates you get, what sources notify you, and how many of your friends are following your physical location this exact instant.
We are a culture of followers.
I’ve watched Ted Talks on this idea of being a generation of stalkers; it fascinates me. Being an “Influencer” or “Public Figure” is an actual career option . . . it’s a legitimate job. You can get paid to promote products and sway culture’s opinion, simply because you have a nice collection of aesthetically-pleasing squares in a grid-formation on a handheld device.
This past month, I’ve had a lot of friends decide to follow Jesus, which really, really excites me.
I’ve cried a lot.
It’s been a beautiful few weeks of a lot of un-Erica things — expressing your feelings, allowing others to see you weep, all of the wonderful semantics my prideful body tries to resist.
A lot of times there are questions immediately asked about life at home, and things we love and people we love that don’t have a lot of Jesus visible. There’s a lot of curiosity about what it looks like to follow Jesus, and honestly, I don’t have most of those answers. A life built on following Christ looks different for everyone — some of us live corporate lives loving our fellow coworkers, some go to other countries to serve, some lead worship at churches, and some drive minivans.
I think a lot of fear, though, stems from this idea of having to give up things for Jesus. That if we follow Jesus, we will lose x, we could be made fun of for y, and we will be excluded from z.
It sounds hard.
It sounds hard being excited to chase after something, when you are nervous you may have to unfollow other aspects of your current life that you enjoy. Maybe it’s a relationship, maybe it’s your usual Saturday night plans, maybe it’s things that even appear good — like an impressive major or a string of AP classes. However, it is exciting.
I went to a drastically different University than I would have if I didn’t follow Jesus. I desired an Ivy League, maybe a small or elite private school, and I got a large, Southern, state school, and I am all the better because of it. Was I thrilled at the time, though? I sobbed alone on the beaches of Destin, Florida during my senior-year spring break: you can decide my excitement level.
My future husband will be extremely different than who I would have married, had I not chosen to follow Jesus. My future career looks a lot different because of Jesus. The list could continue for paragraphs, but we get the point.
Your life will look different because of Jesus.
However, what the world will want to tell you may look like loss, I believe the Lord names it a win. I don’t think the Lord takes away gold to give us silver, and I firmly believe the Lord is continuing to bring us closer and closer to Him until we are at His doorstep: what a privilege.
But Followers of Christ, I beg of you this: please love Jesus more than you love your ministry. Follow Jesus more than just following along within your community. Love Jesus more than you love Young Life or Cru.
Our King isn’t confined to camp boundaries, pews, or steeples. Worship Him in cars and at Target and on dance floors. Chase Him on the beach, on the track, and on a ropes course. Celebrate the gift of following true Joy, and in that, I believe life’s clutter will sound quiet: that whether or not we immediately click Unfollow, one day we will realize the freedom we’ve had from unfollowing life’s half-filled glasses.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. JOHN 10:10