Be real

Perfection.

I never set out to achieve this illusive idea. Back in the day, when I was growing up, I didn’t feel pressure to be perfect. In fact, as a middle child, I saw that perfection was an impossible task. So, when I became the wife of a hopeful pastor-to-be, I knew I was supposed to shine the light of Christ to those around me (as all people who have a relationship with Jesus should) but I knew I would never be perfect until the other side of life.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and somehow I’ve lost the ability to see reason, where perfection is concerned. As the internet became a full blown lifestyle for the entire world, and perfect images and writing seemed almost commonplace, I stood out as an all-too-imperfect specimen. While I had been comfortable in my seeming mediocrity, I was no longer content to be so.

Since beginning my venture into blogging/writing, I have received flack from the most surprising of places. People that I thought were fairly supportive began seeing me for who I truly was. I was being, what I thought, was real. Apparently, my real is hard to swallow. Somehow, I was supposed to have risen above what life dealt and not be human. Then, with the perusal of other people’s lives, I began to think there was something awfully wrong with being real.

Don’t get me wrong. I get what they were trying to say. They were trying to point out to me that maybe I wasn’t at the place I was supposed to be. I was over-sharing. I should be an example, a beacon. I shouldn’t still be struggling with very human issues. Sinful issues. I shouldn’t be that immature. You know what? They were a little right.

“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.” (Rom. 7:15 NLT – the apostle Paul speaking)

And wrong.

If Paul, who wrote many of the books in the New Testament struggled, maybe it isn’t so unusual for a mature believer to struggle…

So, with people telling me that it wasn’t really very mature of me to share my struggles and that I should be in a different place PLUS the rest of the “world” pushing the illusion of perfection, I stopped wanting to be real.

Except that there is one thing about being real. Being real makes you relatable.

While drawing closer to God does change you and putting his Word in your memory and heart does make the temptation and lure of the world less appealing, there is going to be a struggle until we die. We are ALL at different places in our spiritual walk. Some of us are far away, some of us are long into our journey and have come a long way.

The good news is that there is grace for ALL.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–  not by works, so that no one can boast.”Eph.2:8-9
We don’t have to work for it. We don’t have to be perfect. We can be real. I just love this next part…
“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Eph. 3:17-19 NLT
When Christ is in our lives and we understand what he did for us, we will understand more and more what that actually means – we will understand the LOVE he has for us more deeply. That understanding changes the very essence of us. The struggle with the sinful things of this world and our humanity still is raging but we become less attached to the things that look tempting and more attached to the God who loves us so very much.
It gives me shivers, actually.
I am being made complete.
Does that mean that life suddenly got easier? No way. My life is freaking hard sometimes, my friends. I am going to be real about that. I will continue to write about the battle because the battle is raging for our hearts and souls.
We know how it all turns out though, and I’ve got to tell you, I am looking forward to the day where Jesus will make it all right again in the end.
Until that time, I’m living on grace, not perfection.

 

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