Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.
— Marilyn Monroe
Our pastor said something at church yesterday that really resonated with me.
“Don’t be so comfortable in the world you fit into without even trying.”
I think many of us are living too comfortably. God doesn’t save us from our sin so that we can sit guilt-free in church on Sundays and lead stagnant lives. He saves us so we can minister to and share love with others. If the goal of our lives as Christians is to become more Christ-like, then the mission of our lives should be the same as Jesus’ mission. His mission is to save people (1 Timothy 1:15).
I wonder if non-believers would stop doubting organized religion if we lived the way we’re called to live. Christians are good at telling people we’ll pray for them. We’re good at interacting with our church friends. But what are we doing to actually reach out? Are we seeking the lost or just hoping they’ll show up on our doorstep begging for help someday? All around us, people are drowning as they look for answers. We have the answer.
In his book, Forgotten God, Francis Chan addresses this issue. “It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But, it is absolutely vital to grasp that he didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live your life in comfort and superficial peace.” We often let the world tell us how to live, but what does the world really know about living? So many lives are filled with deception, distraction, selfishness, and chaos. Do we really want to fit into what the world dictates as “normal”? Shouldn’t we be passionately sharing the love, grace, peace and forgiveness of Christ with a world who so desperately needs it?
Maybe we’re scared. Maybe we doubt our individual abilities. Maybe we don’t feel personally “called” to this mission. Maybe we’re too busy chasing things that ultimately don’t matter to notice what’s going on around us. Maybe we forget that our lives are not supposed to be about us. Maybe we fail to realize that just because we’re on the same side as everyone else, that doesn’t mean we’re on the right side. Maybe we trust God enough to let Him save us, but not enough to let Him use us for the work He prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10).
I’m as far from perfect as anyone reading this, but I know where I’m standing now and the direction my life needs to go. That direction is towards Jesus. He deserves to be the center of my life and He’s calling me to live for more than just my own happiness. I also know that there is no greater joy than the joy that comes from loving others.
The most amazing and overwhelming truth in my life is that God doesn’t have to save me, but He chooses to. He doesn’t have to love me, but He chooses to. He doesn’t have to forgive me, but He chooses to. He doesn’t need me, but He reaches for me. We have choices too. We can choose to walk with God, or not. We can choose to love those around us, or not. We can choose to follow the world, or we can choose to follow Him.
We can choose to fit in, or we can choose to stand out.
Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.
–Rainer Maria Rilke
You left. And I’m okay with that.
If I ran into you today, I could still say “I love you” with complete sincerity. But, it would no longer come as a plea of desperation from a girl who begged you for forever. It would come from the heart of someone who realizes she’s a better woman because of you.
I woke up this morning and realized that I don’t care the way I used to. This is not to be confused with my care for you because I still wish you all the love in the world. I just don’t care to know the details anymore. I don’t care if we never speak again, or if you’ve met someone new, or what you think of me. When I released you to go be who you needed to be, I also released myself to do the same.
I’m sorry for anything I said that hurt you. I’m sorry for the people who got involved that shouldn’t have. I’m sorry I didn’t end up being your “one” like you hoped in the beginning.
But, darling, I will never be sorry for knowing you. I thank God for you. I thank Him that you loved me. I thank Him that you stopped loving me. When you left, it brought me down to my knees and I learned to stay there– not in despair, but in worship. My heart cracked open and God came in. He changed me.
I’m turning into the woman I never knew how to be with you. A woman whose happiness is not based on love from another. I’m happy because of the blessings I have in Christ and no boyfriend or ex-boyfriend can shake that peace. When you stopped loving me, I found out what I’m worth.
I think I’ll always miss you, but not in the way I expected. I miss you the way I miss 4th grade– I can smile warmly at the memory without any wish to return to that time. As I move forward, I’ll keep you in the back of my mind and the front of my heart.
Consider this chapter closed.
10. Stand up for a friend when he or she is alone.
9. Invite your sibling to hang out with you and your friends.
8. Tell someone you’re a better person because of them.
7. Leave a thank you note in someone’s pocket.
6. Prepare a meal for someone.
5. Help a friend move.
4. Talk positively about your family when they aren’t around.
3. Sing a song on someone’s voicemail.
2. Encourage someone’s dreams.
1. Tell someone they are your sunshine.
The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
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.
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.
I wish you only the beautiful things in life. I hope you find happiness beyond anything you can imagine. I hope your days are filled with love, friendship, inspiration, joy and peace.
I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. You have absolutely no idea how lovely you are. No matter how much you disagree, I will never stop saying it.
I wish you strength to move forward. I’m sorry that he broke your heart and treated you carelessly. Your next boyfriend will be so happy that your last one didn’t realize how precious you are.
I wish you the courage to tell your parents that you’re gay. If they’re not accepting, you can bring your boyfriend to holidays at my house. I already love you like family.
I wish you had stayed. I understand why you had to leave, but still…. I wish you had stayed.
I wish you would meet the girl you’re meant to spend your life with. Maybe then you’d realize that I’m not her. It breaks my heart every time I have to turn you down.
I wish you everything you want in life. The whole world will cheer for you when you finally realize your dreams. Everyone knows how much you deserve it.
I wish you believed in me. If I were a weak person I might shrink to match your expectations. But I’m not.
I wish you faith for the road ahead. I know you don’t trust God right now, but I hope the path you’re on leads you home eventually. It’s never too late to go home.
I wish you and I had stayed close like we used to be. Maybe then you would have called me instead of trying to drive home drunk. Maybe then I wouldn’t have seen the look on your mom’s face at your funeral.