Remember that one time I had a blog? LOLZ.
In my defense, I spent most of last semester being punched repeatedly in the gut by a schedule that was, in all honestly, far beyond my ability to handle… but that story’s for another day.
So something cool happened today. I opened my Bible. Not out of duty or because I had to plan my next bible study lesson or because I had nothing else to do. I opened it because I actually, truly, genuinely wanted to meet with God. Which is obviously the way it should be EVERY time I open my Bible. But I’ll just be real with you right now – I haven’t truly desired companionship with my Creator in a long time. That sounds bad – trust me, I know. But I’ve decided that lying about it is silly and pretending that I’ve got all my bases covered when it comes to Jesus is even sillier.
I opened my Bible today, for the first time in a long time, with the sole intention of drawing close to my Father. And something great happened – he showed up.
I’ve been co-leading a women’s bible study through the Baptist Student Union for about 5 months now. When I was first asked to do it, I actually laughed out loud. Seriously, ask Jamie. I thought, “Goodness, they must be really short on leaders if they’re asking ME…” But for some ridiculous reason I agreed. And LET ME TELL YOU – it has been quite possibly one of the most rewarding experiences ever in the history of rewarding experiences.
But last semester, I was about as spiritually dry as you could be. Like I’m talking middle-of-the-day-in-the-dessert-with-no-water dry. It was bad. Jesus went from being front and center in my life to just another item on my to-do list that seemed to have no end. I “led” this community group, sure. But inwardly, I was a barren wasteland. I was an anxious wreck of a girl and I was giving from absolutely nothing.
I was the epitome of a hot mess.
And while I’d like to tell you that this is a post about how I’ve grown into such a mature, flawless model of a Christian woman who knows exactly what she’s doing in life… it’s not. The truth is, I’m still a hot mess. Honestly, “hot mess” will probably be a phrase that people will use to describe me for years to come… but that’s okay. The try-hard life isn’t for me and it shouldn’t be for you either.
See, I like to wear these masks sometimes. Somehow, I’ve rationalized that it makes total sense to feign strength when I feel weak, to force laughter and smiles when I just want to cry. Somewhere along the line, I started buying into this idea of perfection. This idea that if you’re a “good Christian woman,” then you’re perfect, you’re put-together, you’ve practically achieved sainthood. What a load of mushrooms. This stupid I-have-to-be-perfect mentality began to pull me so far from Christ that the only thing I felt when I thought of my Father was guilt. And guilt does not belong in a relationship with Jesus.
Jesus says, “Come.” He says, “Be with me.” He doesn’t say, “Get your crap together and then holla at me when you’re flawless.” No, he kicked back with tax collectors, people. TAX COLLECTORS. That title may not sound all that awful, but it’s basically Bible-talk for the worst of the worst. If you do your research, you’ll find that they were the cream of the awful-people-you-never-want-to-associate-with crop. They were EW.
But not to Jesus. You know what Jesus had to say to tax collectors? “Follow me.” He didn’t say, “Repent, do x hours of community service, become the epitome of perfection, and THEN follow me.” No, He wanted them exactly as they were. And, SURPRISE, SURPRISE, he wants us exactly as we are too.
The truth is, I’m not the Christian woman who knows what she’s doing. I’m not the girl who has it all together. I’m not the girl with an unshakable good mood and a perfectly disciplined Christian life.
Don’t get me wrong, I want to be her. I so badly want to be that girl. I want to be the girl who doesn’t have to wear a mask of peace and contentment because THAT’S HER FACE. She has peace, she has contentment, and you can see it all over her face! I want that face.
I don’t want to be paralyzed with fear and anxiety. I don’t want to feel like I need to wear these masks to try and convince everyone that I have it all together. Because masks are stifling. And there’s freedom in taking them off, throwing them on the ground, and stomping them to pieces.
Dear world, I want you to know that, even on my best days, I am the epitome of a hot mess. And there is freedom in acknowledging before Jesus and everyone that sometimes (most of the time) I have no idea what I’m doing.
Today, Jesus showed me that masks are stifling and imprisoning and they don’t belong on our faces. He’s showing me that freedom tastes sweeter than the fake comfort of a mask. And when those feelings come back (and they will), the ones that say, “Put on your mask,” … Father, I pray I choose freedom.