Too often I try to be a perfect little Christian. You know, the kind where we always put on a face, no matter how we're feeling. We had to give such a perfect image... or at least, that's what we feel like we have to do. Yet, day by day, I fail miserably at this formidable task. Look happy when I'm as low as dirt? Try to make others feel good when I myself am crying from all the pain on the inside?
Let's try to be realistic about this for just a moment. We feel this pressure that, as Christians, we have this higher standard to uphold. That suddenly, being sinners saved by Grace, we now have to act like saved by Grace people and throw that sinner part in the wind. Oh wait, I just remembered... we can't. We're sinners. Period. Before we were saved by Christ's blood, we were sinners. After we were saved by Christ's blood, we're still sinners.
Yes, we are covered and our names are in the lamb's book of life, but the point is, we're still sinners. I don't know about you, but I'm rather weary of trying to pretend I'm something that I'm not. I can't continue going on, day by day, pretending that all is well with me when it isn't. Yes, we are called to a higher standard now of living, but that doesn't mean that we won't sometimes stumble... and when we do, we experience that grace and mercy all over again. Why do you think there are so many verses TO CHRISTIANS in the bible talking about God's mercies are new every morning or turning away from our wicked ways? It's because God KNEW we would continue to fall into sin. He knew it from the beginning of creation, before we were even brought into existence.
Just recently I experienced one of my 'down moods'. You know, the ones where everything just kinda hits you like a train? All those emotions go flooding through your mind and you feel as if you're going to drown in it all. Unfortunately, I was at a party... not a great place to suddenly have a 'break down', for lack of better words. But hey, gotta get hit at the most inopportune times, right?
Thankfully, one of my 'Titus 2 women' noticed and helped me get away. We snuck back to her room and we talked. She encouraged and lifted me up when I needed it most... but the thing she said to me that stuck the most was that 'God can handle all of your big emotions'. See, I was feeling guilty, yes, guilty, for being so emotional. What was wrong with me anyway? Everyone else was having a grand ol' time and I was ruining it by letting my emotions come into play. Of course, I didn't ruin anyone's day and everyone had a wonderful time, thankfully. But it was good for me to be reminded of that simple fact; that God can handle my big emotions.
Too often I forget the whole point of my relationship with Christ. Sometimes I start viewing it as a 'Father up in Heaven.... who looks down at us'.... but I kind of forget that whole 'Father' part... I mean, when I have a problem, I love talking to my dad about it. Why? Because he's so full of wisdom and good advice... so why do I forget that my Father in Heaven is the same way and just as approachable as my father on earth? Because as soon as I forget that, everything else comes crashing in.
Thoughts of doubt fill my head, I start feeling like a failure. All these problems start rising up, so I put more burdens on my shoulders. I try to carry it all and when my knees finally buckle under the crushing weight, I blame myself and feel guilty for not being joyful about it and putting on a face.
It's like we forgot that relationship with Christ. He is the one Who wants to carry our burdens for us. Yet somehow we feel like we have to do it all ourselves. And here's why, for me anyway, I think I do it. I feel like it's a 'proving myself good enough' kind of thing. Like, I can handle it because 'I'm a good Christian and I know how to deal with all this junk'.... but apparently, I don't. Because the way we're supposed to handle that junk, as Christians, is to give it to God. We're not supposed to try holding it all ourselves. We can't. We physically, emotionally, and mentally can't truly handle all of it. And God knew that. Again, He gives us mercy and tells us that He knows we can't handle it and what we need to do is to give it to Him because He can.
Yet again, however, we do this thing of turning our backs on that offer. We don't need His help. We can handle it because, after all, I've got God... oh wait...
So I stop and think for a moment and realize just how silly I'm being. Here I talk about the fact that 'I'm just a sinner who's been saved by Grace' and yet I act like I was just 'saved by Grace' as if I didn't have anything to be saved from, really. As if I'm perfect and I live a happy and wonderful life because if I dare to say anything to the contrary, I'll be snapped at.
But who are these 'people' we fear are snapping at us? Who do we fear to be judged by? Other Christians? Just people in general? And yet, they are the one thing that we shouldn't worry about at all. Because we don't need their approval ratings. We only need God's. Yet time and time again I find myself wondering if people are going to approve of this action or that. If people will think I'm lame because I did this or that. Or if I will lose my witness because I've crumbled under the weight of my burdens.
Then those words come running back through my mind.... "God is big enough to handle it all."
Why do I keep trying to be perfect when I already know it's impossible? It's like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube... it ain't happin'.
However, there is a standard to live by. But the wonderful thing is that, though we have instructions on how we now need to live our lives and grow in Christ, we still have the verses that remind us of God's mercy. He knows it's a journey, one that lasts a lifetime. As we walk along our path, there will be days when we are solid and tight. But there will also be days when the pain and grief that surround us come crashing in over our walls and we have to learn to let go. We just have to close our eyes, hold out our hands and let God rescue us.
Stop listening to the lies about how we have to be perfect. Because, as my Titus 2 woman friend also reminded me, if we were perfect, there would be no room for God. No need for Him. And that is actually a very sad thought. I can't imagine my life without Christ. He is my everything, but that doesn't mean that I'm not also human and a sinner and I will still fail on my quest to become like Him. Sometimes I just have to let His grace be sufficient for me. I have to stop holding on and just be held, broken as I may be. He will hold me together if I let Him.