If being a Christian means I should stand out from the world, and there should be something different about me, it’s not that I don’t fall from time to time. Nor is it that I don’t fall lots sometimes. I can’t speak for other Christians, but I can speak for me. What stands out about me isn’t that I have a perfect life, wear perfect clothes, wear perfect makeup, have a perfect job, and a perfect family, or a family at all, treat my dogs perfectly, behave perfectly in private and in public, too, or anything perfect at all. Sometimes I think I scrape my knees, bruise my arms, get scratches on my face, and all sorts of signs and wonders that come with messing up daily more than most everyone else.
So what stands out about me isn’t my perfect life – because I don’t have one. What stands about me isn’t me being perfect, or even me trying to be perfect. It’s that I have a perfect Savior who died and rose again so I can bring my messes to the mercy seat of my Father in heaven, and not only mess up, but ‘fess up. And be forgiven. Again and again. Because Jesus Christ died and rose again for my messes.
Unfortunately, and sadly, and tragically, I get the feeling that far too many Christians are doing far too good of a job of covering up their messes ’cause they don’t understand that we don’t have to put on a show for each other, we don’t have to put on a show for the world, and most certainly of all we don’t have to put on a show for God. Jesus didn’t climb up on that cross, endure what He did, and rise again so people who believe in Him would invest their lives in stuffing their mistakes, mishaps, sins, shortcomings, faults, and yes, messes, inside their closets, pile on the makeup, put on the masks, stick on the disguises, and run out the front door every morning to say to the world, “Hey, I’ve got it together. It’s okay. I’m fine. I’m doing well. Everything’s good. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord.”
I don’t know about you. But I know about me. When I mess up, I go running. But I don’t go running away. I go running to – the Lord. To – His mercy seat. To – His throne. To – confess what I’ve done. To – be forgiven. To – receive His mercy. To – His Word. To – learn how to get it right. And should I fall again, I’m heading right back to the mercy seat. To my Savior. Who loves me despite my messes. Who accepts me despite my messes. Who forgives me despite my messes. Who teaches me despite my messes. Who doesn’t give up on me despite my messes.
So this is all well and good, right? All I have to do is put on a show but tell God the truth, right? Just like I said. I don’t know about you. But I know about me. I don’t put on a show for the world. Not even as a woman devoted to full-time ministry. Not even as a woman who ministers to others, who preaches, who prays, who preaches and teaches the Word of God. No show. I don’t even bother. I don’t even try. I’m real. A real Christian.
Call me shabby chic. Call me a shabby chick. Call me a shabby chick Christian. Or a shabby Christian chick. Call me what you will. Call me anything at all. But I call myself this. Real.
Want to know about my messes? Just ask me. I struggle. I struggle with the past; I struggle with the present. I have struggled with addictions. I struggle with an eating disorder, still. I have struggled with anger again recently. I struggle with a tragic family situation. I lose my temper sometimes with my dogs. I hate that. I hate my sin. I hate when I mess up. But I don’t put on an act. It’s real. I’m real. The real deal. A real woman. A real human. A real Christian. The issue isn’t that I mess up. The issue is what I do with my mess. I don’t go to church in high heels, hose, lots of makeup, a pretty pocketbook, and a huge, flashy smile. Nothing wrong with that. Some women look great all dressed up. But I go to church shabby – and real. The real me.
And this real Christian will tell you this if you ask me how I am. “I’m having a hard day.” “Please pray for me.” “I’m hanging in there.” “Feeling good today.” “Wish I would do better.” You asked me a real question. Here’s the real answer. I’m real.
1Jn 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
I MAKE CERTAIN THAT I AM NOT JUST ACCOUNTABLE TO THE LORD, THOUGH THAT IS MY NUMBER ONE PRIORITY. I ALSO MAKE SURE I ALWAYS HAVE A FEW STRONG WOMEN OF GOD IN MY LIFE WHO ARE BIBLE-BASED, SPIRIT-FILLED, SPIRIT-LED; AND WHO LOVE ME, PRAY FOR ME, ENCOURAGE ME, ARE WILLING TO SPEAK THE TRUTH (EVEN WHEN IT’S HARD) TO ME; AND WHO HELP ME TO LEARN HOW TO APPLY THE BIBLE TO MY LIFE. I ALSO LIKE TO HAVE AT LEAST ONE, IF NOT A FEW, PASTORS IN MY LIFE TO WHOM I CAN GO FOR GODLY COUNSEL ALONG WITH MY CIRCLE OF WOMEN SOLDIERS IN CHRIST. THESE BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE LORD HELP ME TO STAY ACCOUNTABLE TO THE LORD. THEY KNOW I AM REAL. THEY LOVE ME AS I AM. I AM REAL WITH THEM. WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER. WALKING WITH THE LORD.
It’s time to get real. Are you ready?