Last week in my Human Communications class we were asked to interview someone from the class we did not know and basically present our chosen individual to the class.
How awkward, right?
Anyways, me and the girl I chose met up and began asking each other random questions in order to better understand one another. At the end of our interview session, I was overcome with the thought that maybe I hadn't been honest. For clarification, I did not lie about who I was, what I did, or anything of that nature. By not being honest, I mean I only expressed the good sides of myself and unconsciously left out the parts that were not so pretty. I felt somewhat guilty because in the interview I only magnified what I thought was worth knowing, noteworthy, or up to some standard of approval. Now, this doesn't mean profess all your wrong and advertise all your sins, but how would Christianity be different if we left the religion at the door, and went back to the heart of worship? How would following Christ be more appealing if we left our high minded, holier-than-thou, or I-do-no-wrong attitude alone? How would the magnification of what we worship differ in who we worship if we changed our motive from receiving high praise to giving high praise?
Lately, we Christians have been allowing our lives to be labeled by what we did yesterday, rather than anticipating our tomorrow, according to what God has already done. I was- and still tend to be-an envious Christian. I would look at others relationships with Christ, and I would become jealous because they seemed more advanced. I wondered at the concept of God showing them more favoritism, or my inability to reach the standard of the "perfect Christian" I assumed that they were. *Spoiler alert!* Never judge someone's life by the single scene you see because sometimes even the very ending holds a plot twist. You see, I spent so much time magnifying my flaws, setbacks, and sins that I became bound in bitterness with myself. I turned from God because I just couldn't support this standard- I could never live up to such a flawless life, and I almost didn't even want to try for the fear of failing God yet again. I became desperately insecure with myself, my relationship with God, and everything I thought I was supposed to be.
I think my favorite part of being a Christian is being slapped in the face...with God's perfect realizations. The reason I struggled so deeply with insecurities was because I compared my behind-the-scenes footage with everyone else's highlight reel. You see- we control what we magnify, and that being said, if we dwell on our defects long enough, they will become toxic to our inner most self. It will show outwardly in anger and resentment to anyone we claim is greater than ourselves. Being true to others begins when you are true to yourself. Losing yourself in Christ is never losing the ability to mess up, but gaining the ability to try again.
Let's get real, I am a sinner. I have not always sat among positive influences. I have not always spoke with words that are sweet like honey. I have not always been in places where sober minds resided. I have taken my blessings for granted. I have followed the crowd. I have not always acted in pure motives. I have been conformed. I haven't always displayed Proverbs 31. I have rebelled, fallen short of the glory of God, and I will continue to do so. My reasoning for scratching the surface of my flaws is not to convince others I am not perfect, but to remind them that despite my imperfections, I continue to serve a perfect God. You are in good company! We have all fallen into the assumption that to be a good Christian, to be used or molded by God, we have to be free of flaws. But God has a ironic way of using the very thing that was set out to destroy us to deliver us. While spending time magnifying ourselves, we are taking time away from magnifying the One who gives us the opportunity to come out of hiding, despite our inevitable draw to sin. We are safe with Him.
We have taken being a Christian and turned it into a fabricated scene, pictured on Instagram, our devotion time displayed and filtered in a small cafe. In reality? I read a quick devotional in the morning before running to my 8 am and at night trying to stay awake from all my demands that day. This is life, reality, and the daily struggle of a Christian. We experience defeat, failure, thirst, sin, temptation, drought, hunger, loneliness, troubles and hurt. Admit where you fall because you never know how much of a testimony your fallout can be. Be mindful of the greatest testimony- your bounce back. While it is great to express yourself in a light that is admirable and praise worthy, be reminded that the best way to win someone to Christ is to be humble enough to admit you were once in the valley as well.
This world will call you by what they choose to magnify in you. However, Christ will call you His beloved, changed, pure, His bride, and beauty from ashes. Instead of amplifying your flaws before Christ as evidence as to why you can't worship Him, magnify the One who gave all of humanity the biggest hug of forgiveness while hanging blamelessly on a cross.The hardest actuality there is: God cannot use, heal, mold, grow, strengthen or stretch who you pretend to be. He delights in the real you; He delights in showing mercy that triumphs over judgement, and He delights in the deepest darkest depths of you. He is incredibly jealous for you, and this desperate longing to gain our heart allows us to unfold and become undone in His presence. His love sees sin, but runs so much deeper than it. How incredible is it that He owns the skies, names the stars, sets planets into orbit, and holds all of eternity in the lines of His palms? Yet He still zooms in on you, the sinner.
The same God who orders my steps, also shapes my scars. He will never abandon His true love. Being a transparent Christian isn't being a "tell all" Christian, but rather one that demolishes the wall of this perceived perfection, one who lets humility and humbleness reign. Not every redemption story is alike, but take assurance that the same grace that pulled you from the pure filth you laid in, is the same grace that time and time again sets you back on the Potter's wheel to be remolded. We are called to love as Christ has loved His church and magnify His astounding and abounding mercy. Do not spend your life trying to be deserving of that which God has already made you worthy.