My daughter was in high school. A concerned person pulled me aside after church.
Do you know what your daughter is doing?
I waited to hear, holding my breath just in case there was something that I had missed with my child. It can happen. It does happen, right? I didn’t want to be naive.
She’s hanging out with people who aren’t Christians.
Oh, that. I sighed in relief.
Yes, I knew about that. Because they hung out at our house too.
She invited them to come over often. They spent the night. I knew their names and some of the details of their lives because she shared them with me and her dad.
When I shared this with that person (who truly had my daughter’s best interest at heart), they were a little affronted.
Do you understand they aren’t Christians?
Once again, yes.
My daughter grew into a beautiful, strong and tenacious woman, a professor who teaches others how to make a difference. She’s a mom of two ornery boys and married to a guy we love like a son.
She came to my house a couple of days ago. When I opened the door, she stood on the porch with three pre-teens. These are a group of girls who don’t always have it easy and she loves them like crazy. She’s mentored this group of girls for a few years on Sunday afternoons.
“I told them you’d have good snacks,” she said and the pre-teens marched in the house. They ate some snacks, sat around the table and shared what was going on in their lives, and then took a long walk on the trail behind my house.
As I watched my daughter interact with these beautiful young girls, I was grateful that she didn’t live in a bubble way back then, and still refuses to do so today.
What is a bubble and is it really a problem?
A “bubble” takes place when our community exclusively sounds like, looks like, acts like, and believes just like us.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”8Bf1x” via=”yes” ]Jesus never lived in a bubble. Why would we? https://ctt.ec/8Bf1x+ @suzanneeller[/ctt]
It can happen when we have strong opinions about a group of people or a culture or a brand of politics, but never take the time to know what the other person believes, or why they believe the way they do.
Huge bubbles are created when we put up boundaries around things that aren’t sin, just in case they might lead to sin, and we become hyper-vigilant to make sure that everyone stays within that self-designed bubble.
I understand that we want to be wise. I really do.
I understand that it’s good to surround yourself with people who you truly love, and who share your love for Christ.
I get it that sin is devastating.
But if Jesus is our example — and he is — then I’m not sure that bubbles are where we should live.
Jesus burst bubbles right and left.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”9a01N” via=”yes” ]Instead of living in a bubble, Jesus let his light shine. May we do the same. #ComeWithMe https://ctt.ec/9a01N+ @suzanneeller[/ctt]
Jesus loved people who were different from the traditional crowd. He believed in people who others had discarded. He showed us that if we listen to people and see them, that sometimes it led them straight into the arms of the Father.
Jesus crossed the street often. He went to the well. He invited himself to dinner.
He engaged in long conversations over debates.
He walked straight into crowds where people adored him, mocked him, and were curious about him. His compassion was the lasting impression in those encounters and that became the shining light.
He didn’t sin in an effort to love the sinner. Instead, he remained true to himself and his mission, which was to mend broken hearts, release chains of bondage, and share incredibly good news.
He spoke truth, and his most direct words (might we even say hard truth) was reserved for those who lived in a bubble and demanded that others live there too.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”b4zma” via=”yes” ]Jesus came to rescue humanity and we are part of that plan. https://ctt.ec/b4zma+ @suzanneeller[/ctt]
He never failed to see the person in front of him. Ever.
Living in a bubble is dangerous.
Why dangerous, Suzie?
Because we just might forget that Jesus came to rescue humanity and we are part of that plan. We might start to consider our faith as a club and monitor who gets to come in, and who remains on the outer edge.
Let’s burst our bubbles.
Listen, even if we don’t agree.
Open our circle to include people that are different from us.
Have honest conversations filled with truth and light.
It’s just too easy to live in a bubble, when easy was never the word Jesus used for faith.
Instead he promised adventure, transformation, challenges, growth, miracles, and climbing out of our comfort zone to love people in his name.
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If you loved this topic, and want to take it deeper, these might be perfect for you!
Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads
I really love this Suzie. I agree with you 100%. Keep up your good work .
So so good, Suzie!!! I love this perspective!
There times when protection is needed. Influence can distract teenagers from the right way, at times ending up pregnant. They are still great Christians at heart but the obvious sin takes away all their joy as they can no longer relate easily with the Christian family. Keeping teenagers in bubbles may create a safety net for all those who care about that particular teenager’s wellbeing.
There are times when protection is needed. If a child is untrustworthy, certainly you have to deal with that. It’s a separate issue, I believe.
My prayer for my children was that they’d be the influence. Today those same friends are all grown up. I love that I know them because they were in our home. I love that many of them serve the Lord today. I love that they feel comfortable going to their old friend for prayer, or even sending a message to use asking for prayer.
But if a teen is “great Christian at heart,” why wouldn’t we allow them to love people with some gentle guidance? I disagree that knowing that sin exists (because teens do know and are exposed to it daily unless they truly do live in a bubble) robs them of their joy.
What was hard for me — as someone who worked with teens for twenty years — was to watch too teens who lived very tightly-restricted lives (based on fear) leave the nest. Too often, they were ill equipped. I watched too many of those teens experience “freedom” for the first time and not know how to deal with it, or without the strict hand of a parent to advise them, to free fall.
I don’t want to create a safety net for my child that will make me feel safe, but leave them without the ability to navigate life as a believer. I want them to learn how (while in the nest) to make strong decisions, to love people, and to do so with a strong sense of who (and whose) they are.
I hear your mama’s heart. We all want our children to be safe. Always. But if Jesus is our example, a 100% safety zone is never where he lived or led his disciples.
I respectfully hear what you are saying and love that you shared it.
“to us” not use. Oops!
Absolutely agree with you!!!…my daughter has a similar behavior!!…and I was wondering if I was normal !!!
Totally agree with you dear!!!..you are such an inspiration!
This is the EXACT conversation we had at my women’s small group last night – we discussed the tendency of women turning their love and thoughts inward. The bubble in that case would be shutting down, distancing when hurt, etc. I know I’ve been guilty of it! Thanks for encouraging us in such a clear way Suzie.
So easy to just stay in the self-absorbed bubble, thinking about ourselves, isn’t it Meg? That’s how I feel too sometimes, Meg. That’s great that your group had a conversation about this.
So true, I was brought up with good ethics, Christian faith and always looked out for the lost. My parents and my Grandparents that lived near by always knew what was going on in my life. We built a trusting relationship and I felt loved, why not invite others hurting to receive all we had. I’m a nurse today, have two wonderful grown adults that my husband and I are very proud of. We have one grandchild 3 years old that we all adore. So if you have faith like a mustard seed or more live out of the bubble and welcome life!
Amen and amen again! My parents used to say they never knew who would be at our house or table because of the people I would bring home: wandering souls in need of a safe place to be loved.
What a beautiful testimony, Michelle! I love that. A welcoming home is such a wonderful ministry.
So with you Suzie. Besides, they is so much beauty outside the bubble wanting the needing to know the joy we have and why! Love that you lead us to spread the joy of living free!
This is beautiful. It is the real in gospel living and the truth I needed to read. Can I say honestly sometimes I would rather not hang around in the big church crowd because it is less stressful to love others simply cause we should and can and they appreciate it?? Was that too honest? I love this and my momma heart needed this today. Thank you!
I love those beautiful friends who love Jesus. Oh my goodness, they delight my heart and fill me up. I also love my friendships with people who don’t know Jesus, but who trust my love for him (and them). I hear you. It sounds like you just long to love people honestly. What a beautiful way to live.
What I love about Jesus’ example is that he was authentically on mission wherever he was — with the religious, with those who followed him, and with those who didn’t believe. He was just himself, always. That’s my example.
What a fantastic testimony. There is a fine line we walk with raising children who are brave enough to live in the world but not be of the world. I am so grateful for your daughter and the impact she is having. Thank you for sharing her story.
I totally understand being protective of our children! But also the joy of teaching them how to love people like Jesus. What is hard for me is when I see our tendency as adults to only be with people who think like us, look like us, and believe like us. I think of Jesus sitting at the table with Matthew and asking Zaccheus to come down from the tree to have dinner, or taking a chance on deep friendships with 12 unlikely guys, it inspires me to be like my Savior.
Love this, Suzie! Yesterday I had the chance to burst out of my bubble at the Greyhound Bus Station. It was my husband’s fault. He’s a visiting professor at Dallas Seminary, and someone had the brilliant idea to actually put into PRACTICE what we were learning at this week’s student missions conference. We were going to go out to downtown Dallas and share our faith! (And the professors have to be good examples, right?)
So I had a lovely opportunity to share with Jodie and help her find her way since she couldn’t read her bus ticket. I got to pray with Alina from Nepal. And I shared the gospel with Julie. She was moving across the country with 2 suitcases, and she needed someone to listen and pray with her for her messed up family.
So many needs all around us. So many opportunities to share and be the message of Jesus.
I love this, Betsy! What a great way to connect and love people.
Suzie, this is so good! Moving from a primarily non-Christian community (with very few churches) to a community that is flourishing with great churches, has really opened my eyes to the reality of living in a bubble. I feel like we can get complacent living in these types of communities, comfortable with our friends and our clicks, neglecting to see those who are “on the outside”. We form little groups without even realizing that we are doing it, but those being left out definitely feel it. Being somewhat of an introvert, I can easily fall into this trap! I love that God is refusing to let me stay there. He’s gently pulling me out of my comfort zone, opening my eyes to those who need to be included. Thank you so much for sharing this message with us today. It’s more confirmation of God plan to draw me out into deeper waters.
I absolutely love your heart, Suzie. You are incredible, and I’m grateful for your mentorship. #livefreeThursday
I’m glad you addressed the issue of faith being like a club, Suzie. Even though my husband and I are Christians, this is something we have experienced in our many moves around the Midwest as we try to find new church homes. In many churches, it seems the vast majority of people are more concerned about their own cliches instead of welcoming new people. We need to be welcoming of everyone and remember our mission, that’s for sure!
Suzie, you are such a wise momma. I love your words here, and because I work in Christian higher ed., this is something I think about often. If I don’t make intentional choices to engage outside the bubble, I am not being very missional minded.
Your words have reminded me of how freeing it is to live in Christ. That we no longer have to act and react out of fear. Thank you for choosing to live out of wisdom & courage. It is a beautiful testimony to know that your “outside the bubble” faith has created a legacy that your daughter will spend her lifetime extending to the world around her!
What a great reminder, Suzie. Not only can we be a blessing to those who are different from us but we can also gain blessings from them. If we would all come out of our bubbles the world would shine brighter with God’s light. Blessings.
Love this!! So right on, spot on, and all the other on’s lol! Great post and an important one to share 🙂
Suzie, I love this.
I just had a reality check with myself the other day, thinking…ok-wait. Why am I writing? Why am I mom. Why has God placed me right here and right now? Who do I need to be reaching out to? I even made a personal goal to visit link ups outside of the Christian Faith to reach out to where my words might really stir an impact. I depsaratly need my Christian friends to build me up and do life with me, but you’re right. Bubbles are bad.
Happy Thursday! This was awesome.
i’m a little confused. Why are we “Christians” still debating about Jesus is about. if your daughter is hanging around with non-Christians maybe someone needs to go to Jesus School and it seems like it’s happening at your house. Sorry, just caught me on a bad day.
Rosie, thank you for coming into this conversation today. I’m also a little confused. This isn’t a debate among believers. I love nothing more than lifting up my fellow believers. It’s simply a conversation.
My daughter is a beautiful, strong woman (now and then) who isn’t perfect, but who truly loves people. She’s dedicated her life to making a difference. I think that is “Jesus school,” if there is one.
I’d love to invite you to my house so you could see what is taking place. That’s our issue, I think. We try to tell others what we think is going on when we don’t know them. Maybe we could talk more and resolve that.
I know that I had quit attending Church because of the Bubble within it. I was never good enough, rich enough, I was not fashionable enough and I smelled. I was always looked down upon because I could never put enough money in the offering plate and offering my services as a janitor were not good enough they had pulled in someone else to do the job.
I hate to admit this but alot of people in the World refuse to go to Church due to the “Christians ” in the Church. The “Christians” are very Cliquish and hang only with their approved ones. Churches were are told distinctly by Jesus Himself that the World would recognize who were are as His Followers is because of the Love that we share. By Love I mean the all inclusive virtue of Forbearance discussed by Paul in Philippians 4 and as written about by Witness Lee.
So Suze, I agree with you 100% we need to break away from our Bubbles.