Something Honest

If I’m being honest, there are many times when I’ve been skeptical curious about my “superChristian” brothers and sisters. I think most of you who’ve attended church know the people I’m talking about. They may give you the “I’m not judging you, but I’m judging you” look when you don’t put money in the offering one week. They may lecture you about drinking if you mention going to a party on Friday night. They seem so perfect that you start to wonder if they’re even human.

Do you know that type?

I’m a hypocrite for judging them.

On the outside, my life looks the way it should to fit the stereotype of a “nice Christian girl.” I go to church every Sunday. Some weeks I even get there early to greet people. I’ve consistently volunteered with local non-profits for the past 7 years. I’ve attended Bible studies and prayer groups. I’ve written blogs about faith. But, as much as I try to appear this way, I am certainly not always “nice” and many times my actions fail to reflect that I’m a follower of Christ.

I can go days or weeks without cracking open a Bible. I listen to rap music with lyrics that would make my mother cringe. I gossip. I feel ugly when I don’t have any make-up on. I laugh at other people’s expense. I try to handle things beyond my control. I hang out with people whose morals don’t match my own. I miss opportunities to share my testimony because I’m too intimidated. I’ve fooled other people, and sometimes even myself, into believing I’ve got it all together.

I wonder how many of us go through life hoping we can just “check the boxes” and get by without anyone figuring us out. We show up on Sunday morning. Wear our best clothes. Put money in the offering. Raise our hands during worship. Smile and say “hi” to everyone. Check, check, check, check, check. We should be covered until next Sunday now, right? Nevermind that we looked at our watch the entire time, silently judged the appearance of the person sitting to our left, and critiqued the choir on the drive home. Throughout this crazy routine we forget that, while everyone else might not recognize a mask, we can’t fool God.

I’ve recently forced myself to re-evaluate my intentions and have discovered some truths that trump my imperfections. The real miracle of my life is this: despite my selfish heart, God still invites me to call Him father. And He knows me. He knows when I’m genuinely serving Him and when I’m just going through the motions. He knows when I’d rather watch America’s Next Top Model than read my Bible. He knows when I’m being loving and when I’m judging others. He knows when I’m sitting at church, wondering if forgiveness really applies to me or if it’s just for everyone else.

He knows all of this and He still loves me. He knows every flaw and yet I feel Him reach for me.

I’m finding that, when I hold myself accountable for daily devotions and actively practicing honesty, God begins to transform my heart. It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with His grace. I had wrongly lived under the impression that I need to “fix” myself before I can get close to God. The truth is that He’s calling us to an intimate relationship with Him now. I have genuine enthusiasm about sharing my faith because I know that I don’t have to be perfect to fit perfectly into God’s plan. Asking God to be the foundation in my life just means allowing Him to use my broken, sinful heart as instrument for love. I don’t have to wear a mask because I’m not living for myself anymore… I’m living for Him.

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  1. #1 by littlecurio on April 5, 2011 - 4:20 pm

    Its called being human :) . Everybody sins, and those who try to keep up a perfect facade will only put themselves in their own tower that nobody can climb up when that person really needs help. They would be their own worst enemy! We definitely cannot judge, as we’re all trying to get to the same destination, slipping and falling and clinging and climbing our way through. The trip is much easier when we help each other! Someone told me church service is a sort of ‘locker room’ in which we go to our ‘coach’ (God) to put our faith in Him that he’ll lead us and tell us where we need to be to get out into the ‘game’ (life!) Clumsy metaphor, but it helps keep things in perspective for me. :)

    • #2 by Jaclyn Rae on April 6, 2011 - 10:13 am

      I love your metaphor! I’ll definitely remember that one :)

  2. #3 by emjayandthem on April 5, 2011 - 4:23 pm

    One of my favorite Sunday school lessons is this one, “Character is who you are when no one’s looking.”

    You’re one of the very few writers who writes about faith so honestly. It keeps me coming back for more.

    Bravo! MJ

    • #4 by Jaclyn Rae on April 6, 2011 - 10:13 am

      Thank you, MJ! I love it that you keep coming back :)

  3. #5 by Jacqueline DeWylde on April 5, 2011 - 6:00 pm

    Jaclyn,

    Some of the ugliest people I’ve ever known were so called christians. Some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever known were people those very christians wouldn’t give a second look. I used to read my bible daily. I rarely do so these days. It’s not because I have lost interest it’s because I have an ongoing personal and intimate relationship with God. This doesn’t mean that I am by ANY means even CLOSE to perfect. What it means is that I am perfectly fine where I am in God’s eyes. And you know what? So are all of those other people, even the ones I don’t like.

    I truly believe that God looks at our hearts and our intentions. He loves us whether we are listening to rap music, binging on food, alcohol or drugs, spending money we don’t have or judging others. He may not like the behavior but he always loves us. Sometimes when I read your blog it’s like looking at a picture of myself years ago. Sometimes I know you are much further along in your walk than I was at your age. The thing is, we all have “stuff” ya know? Those “perfect christians” often have more stuff than you can imagine.

    You being able to post this honest testimony is huge. You know the things in your life that you need to change. And I’m not talking about the things others judge you for. I’m talking about the things in your life that aren’t working for you. For me, going to church every sunday was not working for me. Coming from my background I encountered a lot of judgement at a time when I needed anything but that. I had to give up trying to be everything to everybody and figure out what I needed and wanted to be for myself. I’m 49 years old and I’m just now figuring that out. God isn’t waiting for me to “arrive” to love me. He’s just smiling as I go along and learn my lessons. Especially the ones that make me happy. After all, what could possibly make a parent happier than seeing their child learn to love themselves and in so doing learn to love life? You’re a beautiful and most magnificent woman, flaws and all. I’m glad my path crossed yours. *HUGS* Love is the answer. Love is always the answer. Love yourself. Love yourself. Did I mention Love yourself? :)

    Jacqueline

    • #6 by Jaclyn Rae on April 6, 2011 - 10:17 am

      Are you subtly implying that I need to love myself? ;) Haha. I will work on it, Jacqueline. Thanks for the response– I love the way you describe your relationship with God. You’re brilliant & lovely. <3

  4. #7 by breathenoah on April 5, 2011 - 7:01 pm

    ah, you’ve had the realisation that ;
    “those that mind don’t matter, but those who matter don’t mind”
    and that those superChristians are the former, and your God is the latter.

    some people never get it. you do. cudos.

  5. #10 by Michelle Rose on April 5, 2011 - 8:22 pm

    Reminds me of the song sweetly broken :) <3 we love him because He first loved us. Beautifully expressed, not just your words, but because of the passion behind them.

    • #11 by Jaclyn Rae on April 6, 2011 - 10:19 am

      I haven’t heard that song, but I’ll have to look it up. Thanks Michelle. <3

  6. #12 by sepiabrown on April 5, 2011 - 9:18 pm

    This was right on time for me. I’ve been thinking about my attitude towards others and as a Christian a lot lately. Though I’m working my way through a lot of different relationships (mending, healing, etc.) I’m still not there.

    ” I can go days or weeks without cracking open a Bible. I listen to rap music with lyrics that would make my mother cringe. I gossip. I feel ugly when I don’t have any make-up on. I laugh at other people’s expense. I try to handle things beyond my control. I hang out with people whose morals don’t match my own. I miss opportunities to share my testimony because I’m too intimidated. I’ve fooled other people, and sometimes even myself, into believing I’ve got it all together.”

    ^^^^ This is exactly where I am. But I find that when I open the Word of God there’s always an answer to whichever question I may have.

    Stay Blessed :)

    Love love love your blog <3

    • #13 by Jaclyn Rae on April 6, 2011 - 10:20 am

      Thanks so much for the comment! It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in feeling this way. You’re right though… The answer is usually right in front of us. :)

  7. #14 by Annette on April 6, 2011 - 1:18 am

    Being aware that you’re not perfect (none of us are) is what makes you a better person. So many people sit in judgement of others, completely unaware of their own flaws.

    • #15 by Jaclyn Rae on April 6, 2011 - 10:21 am

      Thanks for the comment, Annette. It’s alway great to hear from you.

  8. #16 by ~L on April 6, 2011 - 1:38 am

    Loved loved loved this post! I am too on this kick to tell people you know what I think that this is what God might of ment…. don’t look down on me because I did not do something the ‘christian’ way….

    My past posts for about 4 weeks have been a lot about this….

    I am excited to read more of your blog this week! I like what I have read thus far.

    I had to put a password protection on my blog… it is: someday.. when you post this comment you can just edit out my password:) thanks for you post!!!! I loved it!

    ~L

    • #17 by Jaclyn Rae on April 6, 2011 - 10:22 am

      Thanks for the comment, L! I’ll check out your blog today :)

  9. #18 by punkpolkadots on April 7, 2011 - 9:29 am

    Jaclyn, you beautiful beautiful girl! So much sunshine, so much passion, there can only be good things waiting for you! A little secret, I wouldn’t have strengthened my faith or believed that Jesus would save me if not for your blog and I can’t recommend it enough to those around me on Facebook, Twitter wherever i see people fighting their own personal battles! So much so, that my mom calls me everyday asking about you and if there is anything new to read! :) She’s in love with your writing and you as much as I am :)

    Remember in Luke 6:42 or Mathew 7:3-4 where it says “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?” – We are all on our own personal journey’s to Jesus and we have so many small realizations about our faith and behavior. Don’t take it as a flaw, take it as a stepping stone as we get closer and closer to Him. None of us are perfect.

    My parents are complete opposites when it comes to showing faith, my mother used to go to church 4-5 times a week whereas my dad went piously only on Sunday for mass and then on Wednesdays for novena. But he was the better Christian. Eventually my mom realized (and a realization she has passed on to me) that our God is such a doting and merciful Father, He doesnt look at the clothes you wear or how loud you shout, He cares about what’s in your heart and if He can ‘count the hair on your head’, then there is nothing that escapes Him. And despite knowing our sins and the wrong we did, He still died for us.

    I’m still learning and growing in Him and taking comfort from the fact that He knows me, inside and out. And even if the people judge me when i don’t put an offering in church He knows why. And truly that’s all that matters.

    You’re such a ray of light! I’m so honored and proud to know you. :* Buckets and buckets of love and kisses. M.

    • #19 by Jaclyn Rae on April 7, 2011 - 4:35 pm

      You’ve brought tears to my eyes, M. Wow. I am positive Jesus would have saved you either way, but I am so humbled that my writing inspired your faith life. We’re in this together, love.

      And your mom reads my blog too!? That’s so awesome! :) You’ve just completely made my day. Thanks for being such a wonderful friend to me, darling. <3

  1. Day 17 – It’s how honest, not how loud. « Adventures of a polka dot

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