You don’t have to be Jewish to have chutzpah. But you know who WAS Jewish; yup Jesus. And Jesus had chutzpah! Loads of it.
I don’t think the English language comes close to having a word that best describes this popular Hebrew / Yiddish word. Wiki says that chutzpah best describes someone who has over-stepped the boundaries of accepted behavior with no shame. In current culture it has come to describe someone who is a non-conformist with gutsy audacity.
The other day I had a zillion little thoughts about outlandish things, and I was scribbling these notes in my “idea book”. It was all the Chutzpah that I keep in my head and not let escape my mouth or pen – because I have fear. I live in fear that I’ll not be accepted if I always spoke and wrote about the REAL things I think about. Not surprisingly, when I do dare to write with caution about those things, those posts get the most traffic (I don’t know if that’s good or bad) . So, over the last couple years I’ve been working on the real me. The one that isn’t confined by the expectations of others. The one that lives without fear.
Living without fear makes you try on hats. At different times in my life I’ve tried on different hats; hats that I thought looked good or best emulated me. Some worked, others didn’t. One hat I loved was when I volunteered a few years with a local women’s group against domestic violence. I devoted hours every week to counseling on crisis lines. I spent a weekend each month waiting for my pager to go off at 2:00am to rush down to the hospital, just to hold the hand and lend an ear to the rape victim while they went through police questioning and a godawful evidence collecting exam I pray you never have to experience. During that time of my life, someone told me they didn’t like what I was becoming when I volunteered there; they dared to call me a Feminazi. Secretly I was rather complimented by the term, and the truth of the matter was, I was becoming me. I was stronger and opening a crack of my exterior to let the jagged unpolished edges show. In essence; my chutzpah. That’s when I learned, there is always beauty in a geode.
Learning to embrace the mysterious geode God made in me is no easy task. Every geode is unique and different, yet we can’t help but compare. Surfacly, I can have a tough and ugly exterior, but inside is a really amazing thing. The very thing God intended. Learning to accept and love the cutting edges of my formations is dangerous. Geodes are mysterious – just like God and His ways. It’s not exactly known how geodes are formed, but the most common theory is that they are created through volcanic activity, fire and eruptions. The rock forms a hollow ball of gas inside and then sits dormant for years as beautiful formations of sharp and edgy, or smooth like mable, crystals begin to grow inside. Geodes go through much trial as they undergo the beautiful creation of their chutzpah.
And I rather think that’s how Jesus was. Born human, as a child, and I’m willing to bet He had no idea “who” He was. Maybe Mary didn’t even tell Him the things she treasured in her heart, just so that Jesus wouldn’t have solid reason to act like He knew everything. But one day, in His pre-adolescence, He must have felt something, He got a hint, and left the family vacation of sorts to go and teach/preach to Elders. That kid had some chutzpah leaving the traveling caravan, making Mary and Joe worried sick that they lost their kid on the dusty roads. The geode of God lay dormant for years; but was always growing in Jesus from day one. And by the time Jesus turned 30-ish, He was cracking open the shell to display the wonders of God. As Jesus taught and walked through His ministry He showed loads of chutzpah by going against the grain. He ruffled feathers left and right and used a good deal of sarcasm to get His point across. Jesus wasn’t careful. He didn’t worry about what other’s thought, He was the voice of God, and didn’t need to filter his words to stay safe. Just as the tombstone was cracked and rolled away on that first Easter, the true exposed beauty, awe, and wonder of the Geode-of-God was finally shown.
So chutzpah. Jesus had it. And if we are to follow Jesus, and really act like His heart and not the fundimentalistic ways of that ‘ol time religion – then we’ve got to be a little more bold (I’m speaking to me…but if you got a poke during this, then that is awesome). Inshort, expact a little more Chutzpah from me. This might even get uncomfortable…
Is there some Chutzpah stirring in your soul that you shouldn’t be ashamed of? Have you dared to crack open your geode?