I’d like to think I have a pretty wholesome attitude and state of mind in general. However, I am in no way immune to breaking down.
I’m not perfect (surprise).
I get stuck in my fears and my doubts.
I’ve felt hopeless.
I’ve hit my ultimate low on many days.
I’ve been trapped by the expectation to set an example.
I’ve depended far too much on myself to get this thing right.
I have handled my flaws legalistically rather than with grace.
(And trust me, my flaws are many)
I learned to be resilient and strong in the Lord, but I had lost the beauty of being broken.
We tell people to come to Christ as they are but the image we present doesn’t match our words. In perfectly groomed clothes, photo shopped images and the lack of sharing our present day struggles, we subconsciously make ourselves the standard. We praise the good but when the bad and the ugly actually come out we’re quick to shame and judge another’s walk with Christ. Since when did imperfection and human flaws become such a shocker among the body? Everyone is going through something behind closed doors, including those we admire the most.
So, I decided to be pro-authenticity (everybody’s pro-something these days right). What does that mean? That means we allow people to be human. We allow them to be broken. We allow ourselves to be broken and don’t shame ourselves for being less than perfect. Yes, we want to be an example and set a standard, but we have to stop shaming and start restoring. We have to start walking together. As Dylan would say, it shouldn’t be us pointing fingers to the cross but us saying come and sit at the cross with me because we both need Him. That is the mentality that humbly carries each others burden and rises together.
My goodness, it is okay to not be okay. You are not less of a Christian because you actually have something you struggle with (gasp!). In fact, struggling is a good sign because it means you actually have some conviction and spiritual resistance to live a life pleasing to God! It would be concerning if you felt no struggle at all. That would mean you’re spiritually dead and only dead fish float with the tide.
Here’s the reality: most Christians are going through things far deeper than what they present. I know this from my own walk. I know this from the private conversations of those struggling around me- leaders included. And that’s okay! God is dealing with us all in different ways and we don’t need to go airing out all our dirty laundry because not everything is meant for everyone. However, when imperfections do surface the goal should be to lean in with understanding and not withdraw in judgment or shame. We should never see anyone as less than ourselves. We should never shame ourselves as less. We shouldn’t be afraid to face the fact that we have something we struggle with and even though we’ve come so far we still have a ways to go. How will Christ truly restore us if we live in denial of the areas we need his strength most?
So a few points I think should be made:
You’re imperfect. I’m imperfect. We say it but many times we don’t show it. We love to follow and reflect what looks successful. There’s an unspoken view that when you look like you’re failing in life, you’re ill equipped to lead for Christ or be held in regard. Sometimes we do need stop and get ourselves together, but we know that all through scripture God used what the world saw as failures, purposed them and shined through their weaknesses. That’s what made them so great. They were just like us. We have to stop making what “looks like success” the standard and start making authenticity the standard. This walk isn’t about never failing. This walk is about showing up and letting Christ do the work in us even though we fall short. In fact, that’s where He gets the glory- through doing things we could never do ourselves.
At the end of the day, what matters is that we’re able to face ourselves authentically. No matter what others may think, make sure you’re not in ignorance to your own struggles out of the self-expectation to have it all together- even for the sake of those around you. It’s okay to be broken down so you can be rebuilt. Many times we need to let God uproot things that have been encamped in our spirit. This is usually a breaking process. We get it out of our system through tears, through prayer, through confession, etc. In fact, the Bible says God is CLOSE to the broken hearted (Ps. 34:18) and that He desires a broken spirit (Ps. 51:17). Why? Because this is the start to having an authentic walk with Christ.
Let’s not just judge. Let’s restore.
That’s right, we can’t be so quick to point out what’s wrong with people without trying to understand or deciding to stand in the gap for them. Otherwise, you’re really nothing but a self-righteous Pharisee. When someone is broken or stumbling, don’t just sit back and talk about how they’re stumbling. Our mission should be to rebuild each other with truth in love and in grace. Do your words build up or do they tear down? Don’t become the person who’s more hurtful than helpful. Remember, let’s go to the cross together.
Don’t just share your past, share your present.
I’m going to be bluntly honest for a moment here. Sharing your testimony is so important. It could be the key that sets someone else free. I feel like it’s always the starting point to letting others know they can be free in Christ. However, if all you share is what you overcame in the past or what you use to go through but are never transparent to what you’re dealing with in the present it can really come off like “you’ve made it”. As if you were imperfect and flawed at one point but now you struggle no more. Be willing to reach out to the body for prayer. Be willing to say hey, I’ve been struggling with this too, let’s talk about it. Be willing to say, God has been dealing with me with this and this is what He’s teaching me. Be willing to be presently authentic.
Have someone you can be broken with.
Like I said earlier, your business is not everyone’s business. I want to be clear about this because there is a balance. Not everything needs to be vented on social media or blasted to the world. However, we should have at least two people we trust who we can be completely open with. People who can handle our dark and ugly, so we can confess and be free. Someone who you are comfortable being fully yourself with that will rebuild you! Because while it’s okay to not be okay, the goal is to get back up- not to live there.
Will you be pro-authenticity? Let’s talk about it! Comment below.
PS- This was written right after rising from place of feeling overwhelmed, stuck and barely facing the day…but God.
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