It's been a shitty couple weeks. There it is. I swore. I’ve been doing that more than usual lately. Out loud. So if that is happening in my daily life, why wouldn’t I share it here? But it bothers me so much it cripples my mind. Self flagellation immediately ensues. That I am worthless. I can't even control my stupid mouth. I never have been able to. I live in one constant moment of open mouth insert foot. It's better I not leave the house.
I love Jesus. I do my devotions. I go to church. And I still swear. But I feel worse about cursing then I do about over eating, or about talking negatively about something someone posted on facebook, or that white lie I told last week, or a family member I still haven't forgiven. Something is wrong here.
I’m not advocating swearing. I’m making a point. Cause I’m so tired, friends. For those who have not left the building due to disappointment, I’m so tired of the grind. Trying to attain something that I am beginning to realize is unattainable. Elusive.
Years ago, after a church service, I let a curse word slip. One person standing with me reacted in horror. How dare I? In the sanctuary. In God’s holy place. I later wondered if it would have been any different if we were in the parking lot? Or in a bar? Because while I do not condone swearing, I would rather people know the true me. A work in progress. Faults and all. But one whose heart is ever open to his presence. No matter the location or company. That the sanctuary Sarah would always be the same person as the parking lot Sarah. Or the bar Sarah.
Because in this day and age it’s hard to tell who people really are. And it’s wrecking us. Keeping the unbelieving world at bay. The church has a PR problem. We have set ourselves up to look a certain way and when we inevitably fail, the world shames us for our hypocrisy. When we only let them see the good in us, we are doomed. Exhibit A: Instagram.
Dear girl on the bike balancing your mochachinno while reading your Bible at sunrise, your life is a lie.
All our pictures of perfection that actually require feats of magic or trickery to obtain, I see you for what you are.
A perfect example is our latest family photo shoot. Two hours of my life that made me question institutionalization. It was, to put it mildly, a nightmare. The pictures are fantastic. My twin boys look like angels. And it's all lies. The entire time I felt like throwing myself head first into the nearest tree. I welcomed unconsciousness.
Sometimes the prettiest, shiniest people we know have the ugliest hearts. And sometimes the bravest, most beautiful people in the world are seriously Flawed. Vulnerable. Honestly Imperfect. That’s probably why King David and Brennan Manning will forever be my favorite authors. I have a feeling they were not always straight laced.
And those shiny people with ugly hearts I mentioned? They need Jesus just as much as the rest of us. Their value is no more depreciated due to their outward appearance, financial status or affected hearts. We need to stop categorizing and qualifying people like we know who deserves grace and who doesn’t.
And if church is for the broken, shouldn’t we be able to see it? We are more apt to change when we are comfortable. Not enabled. But accepted. But so often I find that I am striving for perfection instead of striving for the heart of Jesus. To fit in. So we spend our time hiding the imperfections in our life. The, “If they only knew” and “I can’t let them see.”
And it’s destroying my quality of life. This cannot be what God wants. What he means by living a righteous life; when our pursuit of holiness becomes a distraction from knowing Jesus and having abundant life. When being saintly perfect becomes more important than knowing God, we are doing something wrong. And it’s time to reassess.
What if our "every sinner is welcome” motto became a “sinners required” policy? What if we all showed up on Sunday with our junk plastered across our shirts. Written all over our cars, our foreheads, on signs over our heads. HOARDER. GAMBLER. ADULTERER. GLUTTON. RACIST. GOSSIP. ADDICT. THIEF. What if it were required? Not for condemnation. But for grace. For acceptance.
I think we may all be surprised to see who wouldn’t show up that day.
So this is it. This is who I am. A work in progress. A perfectly complicated mess of contradictions. I mean, I used to think that good Christians had to vote Republican. Then I voted for a Democrat. Am I still going to heaven? You would not believe the stuff I lay in bed thinking, worrying about at night.
Jesus came so that we might have life. Abundant life. I have a feeling that the chains of addiction and depression are bigger oppressors of abundant life than how many times I said the f word this week. Cause it’s in full rotation, my friends, like I’m a sailor.
I’m learning the more immediate issues that need to be addressed in my life. And working on them. If you are more concerned about cursing than forgiving a family member, a possible root cause of anger in your life, you are missing the point of knowing Jesus. And finding real freedom.
It is my prayer for you that when you seek him, you find him in every area of your life. Even the dark places. The hard to clean places. The places you thought only you knew about. That you begin to realize, in the midst of your secret suffering, he has been there all along. Waiting. Not in anger or judgment. But with arms outstretched. With love and grace. Ready to walk with you. To carry you if need be. Because his love is sacrificial, unconditional.