April 22, 2010

Exposing the Truth

Help me.

WHAT?

Help me. Please.
   
I can't hear you!  Speak up! 

I don't want anyone to hear me or to know. 

WHY?

Just help me. Quickly. I need help.

WITH WHAT?

Feelings of failure.  
Inadequacy. 
Sin I keep carefully hidden. 
Being authentic.
Spiritual doubt.
Depression and anxiety
Courage to cry for help. 
Admitting I am weak. 
Sitting down for God when He calls me to STAND.
Becoming easily angered.
Feeling out of control and admitting it is inevitably true.
Trusting the love of others.
Knowing all situations and hurts can be redeemed.
Proclaiming my faith.
Putting my hope in people and being angry when they let me down.
Letting God be a trophy rather than LORD. 
Arrogance that I know ENOUGH that there is to know.
Being rejected and knowing I often will be.
Loving people who don't love me back.
Hating people who actually love me.
Seeing a mirror and being disgusted and believing others feel the same.
Remembering my past and letting it shackle me.
Living a life for today rather than living a life preparing for eternity.
Intense, paralyzing, life debilitating... 
FEAR.

I once heard someone say that the opposite of faith is fear.  I believe this with everything in me. And I believe I live with fear. And almost every item on this list. Lately I am realizing that perhaps I am not alone.  That others feel things but fear keeps them quiet. In hiding.  From exposure. 

I know that I am often lighthearted and like to pack a post full of humor.  But I am also intensely passionate about being real. Transparent.  Honest.  AUTHENTIC.

Especially as a Christian.

I often wonder if anyone reads this blog or other bloggers who proclaim their faith and wonder why Christians believe what they believe.  Especially since the images I often see depicted can be summed up to all Christians being just like Ned Flanders from The Simpson's.  And that Christians have never watched The Simpson's because if we do, we will be opening a portal to the gates of hell. Or that we never say hell. Or type it.

Or they may think Christians are Judgmental. Pious. Dogmatic. Closed Minded. Backward Thinking. Old Fashioned. Disillusioned. Believer of Myths. Misguided. Hypocrites. Maybe it has gone as far as being said Christians can be Cultish, Segregationists, and maybe a lot of them are REPUBLICANS (insert falsetto scream here).

And here is what I have to say about it...

It is all TRUE.

Now before you quickly scroll to the bottom and rapidly type out a comment to frantically pull me back from the flames for my erroneous theology here, let me explain.

How on earth can we be human beings and not be grossly fallible? We have all fallen prey to these colorful titles and there is a good reason why. We sin.  We make mistakes.  We are human beings who wing this life that we are given; sometimes with haphazard foolishness.  Sometimes with keen discernment born of wisdom.

And so often, we try to be perfect.

But because there is no person who possess even a smidgen of the fullness of perfection...we need a STANDARD. There are many viewpoints out there that can be considered "standards to live by."  But my personal belief is there are only two options available:

1.  Our Own Standards
2.  God's Standards

And I believe God's standards are perfect.  (At this point,  I wonder if I were speaking to a large audience that I would hear crickets or some feedback from the microphone).

Ahem.

This is where I become afraid to offend someone.  That someone saw my blog and thought, "This chic is cool.  She makes canopies from a hula hoop and napkin rings from hair rollers. Let me follow this clever and strikingly beautiful girl RIGHT NOW."

And then I proclaim what I believe and suddenly my world collapses in on me because I lose a follower or offend one of you precious people who I only want to encourage. I then want to sit down for my King and hide behind humor and the superfluous.  But I am now trying to stand up and get real.

But I have still not gotten to my point.  I know. Shocking. That first list at the top.  The one where a small voice was crying for help? Has that not been the cry of every heart that exists?  Every person who walks this earth?  Is it not what we all confront in the battlefield of the mind?

So here is my question...to myself and maybe some of you.  Why do I hide behind funny comments and a particular image I want to portray?  Of course, that is a big part of my personality but why don't I write like this more often? What will happen if people open that locked door and see the real thing?  I mean, a blog is a fantastic way to fabricate a persona.  You can be anyone you want to be.  It is like being on a stage but you control your lines, your character, your story.  But what if you are caught?  What then?

I, for one, know that when I see the transparency of another person, I feel like I am breathing cleaner, fresher air.  I suddenly feel connected to that person of beautiful imperfection and no longer feel like an island that is slowly eroding into an endless ocean.  I feel understood without ever saying a word.

And as Christians I think we can easily hide behind the stuff of life that so easily ensnares.  Homes and toys and clothes and image and jobs and success and  kids and...you get it.  But we need to get real.  Let our guards down and just relate to one another.  I feel like we are so busy texting, facebooking and NOT communicating. Connecting. Doing what the whole point of my post is...reaching out to others from the recesses of my own pain.

Because God calls me to love others.  More than myself.  And I sometimes can find myself putting on my "Christian Suit" with my "Christian Smile" and acting like being saved by Jesus solves everything and puts a nice bow on it.

The real story is...I acknowledge my need for a Savior and I am fully forgiven and free.  And He continues to save me every day. But life gets hard.  And the hard stuff sucks.

So I want to confess that all those things I wrote at the top of this blog are everything I have felt in this last month.  Every thought, every distressing conviction, every lie.  And I say this so that if any of you have felt like a failure, rejected, weary, bogged down by sin or full of despair I just wanted to say...

Me too.

17 comments:

  1. Jess ~

    I am crying as I write this. I love you more each time you open your heart to this crazy world. It's not about some church building or denominations or being perfect or looking good or voting Republican. It's about real. Us being real with a real God in a real world. It's about love. Me loving because He loves me. It's about living what we say we believe instead of trying to convince others to believe it. Just live it.

    You get it. You seriously get it. I love you, Jess.

    Marla

    PS....Ok, I know I said hell in my last post on my blog but I am pretty sure He still loves me. :-)

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  2. Jessica, oh my goodness. ME TOO! I want to encourage you though, as horrible as it is to realize the place you are in, it is easy to keep subsisting there. I know from personal experience. "But where sin increased, grace increased all the more," and His grace is sufficient. He is more than enough.

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  3. I'd love to say something eloquent here, but all I can think to say is "yeah." Can I add to your list my own personal issue of letting a fundraiser for the Christian pre-school I work at get in the way of any actual time spent with people or God? Cuz that's not at all ironic or wrong.

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  4. I loved your post...the get real thing is so true, and I love your blog by the way! Thank you for all your posts Mikayla

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  5. YES...how did you jump in my head and take a picture of my internal dialogue and then post it on your blog?!

    I am so very glad I found you and your blog. So very glad...

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  6. This is probably one of my favorite posts from you. It is so real and honest and oh so true. I know our pews on Sunday are filled with women and moms that feel this way every.single.day. And what are we as Sisters doing about it? Nothing. I am doing nothing to lift up my sisters in Christ and we are called to do that, but we don't. You are an amazing human being and I am so proud to call you my friend!

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  7. how true. You know I am never afraid to tell others about all the mistakes I've made in my life, and there are oh so many. because I think women look at other women as, "oh she has it all, if only...." We are all sinners, saved by grace, those who choose to accept it.
    And if you or I lose a follower, so be it, God is in control of our future :)

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  8. You are truly an inspiration. Your writing is amazing. I fell upon your blog a while back. You are the kind of writer that many women can relate to. I wonder if you'll ever get the courage to start speaking at various engagements?? You have a gift. The irony is that you were copied on an email sent to me in December. It is a small world.

    Kelly Elmore

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  9. Thanks so much for sharing yourself with us. I would double follow you if I could. :)

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  10. Wow. I believe God has gifted you to serve others by communicating your honest insight and faith. Thank you so much for this post. I relate to so much of what you shared.

    It's so funny because I thought I was already following you. But as I was adding a blog list to my blog, I couldn't find yours. I clicked on your link that I had posted and what a blessing it was today!

    Amen sister. I think you've gotten a little of the confirmation you may have been looking for.

    Blessings,
    Missy

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  11. I actually read your post the other night but knew I didn't want to comment until I read it again slowly...so here I am back again :)

    You are so beautiful inside & out! I love that you can write so deeply from the heart! Really the post even though I know you just intended it to be real...was so beautiful because it is real! You just let all secrets out & THAT is beautiful! (I know I have used that word a hundred times but it really is what I mean).

    It is a good way to think about our relationship with Christ too...that when we pour out our heart & our sins...he doesn't cringe...he thinks it is beautiful & I never really thought of it EXACTALLY that way until that is what you have done & I didn't love you less....I loved you more!

    I don't normally read other people's comments but I peeked at Marla's comment because I love that girl too & I loved her little confession at the end...she totally cracks me up :)

    I hope you have fun with those girls of your today! I feel so blessed by your friendship! Take care! p.s. and don't ever believe you are not totally talented AND a strikingly beautiful cool chick! Because I don't know anyone as goregoues as you who can turn a hula hoop into Anything! (Besides that lady at the Mexican restaurant who might be able to fit it into her hanging from the ceiling act :)

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  12. count me in as well. It's so hard!

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  13. Hi, I have been a “follower” of your blog for several months now. I am not officially a follower, but I haven’t missed a post in like 5 months. (PS, there are probably more out there like me, so those numbers you watch are misleading ;-)) I love your craftiness and have even tried a couple crafts at home and plan to try more in my free time as soon as I get some of that.
    I’m not exactly sure why I am commenting at this point. I feel the need for some strange reason to tell you that I am not a person of faith yet I enjoy your blog anyway. I have people in my life who are Christians and some are born again Christians. Sometimes I feel annoyed by them because I seriously wish that they could get through one conversation without reminding me of their awesome faith and how I am wrong or how I will eventually join them or go to hell. When I read your blog I do not feel that way at all. At first I could not figure out why it was that I would be reading your blog daily since I do not share that view with you.
    I figured it out. It is because when you talk about your faith and your feelings and your Christianity that you are talking about YOURSELF. You talk about your feelings with openness. You do not use your faith to judge or condemn others. You do not use it to manipulate others. You do not use scripture to tell others how to behave.
    It is for those reasons that I believe you are truly AUTHENTIC. I believe that you are real. I respect who you are. And it is for that reason that I can read your posts and even though we may not share that very big thing in common, that I can return to read about your DIY projects and crafts.
    Anyway, I think you are pretty cool.

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  14. To my anonymous friend who wrote the comment above this one...this is the most wonderful comment I have ever received. Ever.
    I so wish I knew how to email you so I don't write pages and pages of words here for how AUTHENTIC YOU ARE to write those words to ME. But I will sum up the best I can.

    I became a born again Christian at the age of 20 and before that was turned off by being told constantly how I never measured up and needed to be saved. I never felt loved by Christians. I am by far...not perfect...and I struggle much with the kind of love that God calls me to. I fail often. But the reason I became saved is ONE PERSON took me as I was, warts and all, and loved me. I am not even talking about Jesus. It was a friend who loved me like Jesus says to. And I realized if Jesus was anything like this friend, I wanted Jesus. For Me. And my life has never been the same. But I never forgot how accepted I felt for not believing the way he did.
    So thank you for your powerful and honest words. It is a reminder of the love that is real...not what we think or believe to be love. You have no idea how I wish I could just hug you and just thank you.
    You may not know it, but God used you mightily in my heart. I pray you see this comment. Whoever you are my dear friend.
    Lots of Love,
    Jess

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  15. Check this blog out
    http://tracy-strengthened.blogspot.com/

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I love, love, love, comments and I read every one! Please keep in mind that I sometimes moderate each one so it may take a bit before it appears on the post. Thanks my sweet friends!