What you look like VS who you are

Fake it ’til we make it.

It’s a phrase we say like it’s cute; I am going to pretend to be until I am.

What’s sad, though, is we are the reason we feel like we can’t be ourselves.

My husband and I were pulling in for sushi the Monday after I returned home from a Christian retreat called Emmaus when I told him I wanted us to be more intentional about how we talk about others even if it was just us. I wanted to savor every bit of Jesus I was able to hold from the weekend. I didn’t want to be negative, not even a little. He looked at me kind of confused when I told him I wanted to express my grief or frustrations differently, so I answered the question he didn’t ask and said, “it’s just, I don’t want Satan to show up any where near me. I don’t want him to feel invited. Me and you, we can talk about anything, but lets honor God even in our safe places.” He smiled and said okay, we can do that.”

but we don’t… not always.

This is a message all of us need, but none of us will apply.

God wants us to be Holy, but He knows we are not.

There are two concepts we miss about that statement. One is that God accepts us as a broken people, even the most Christian-Christian is never going to get it all right… The second involves the first. Just because we aren’t Holy, does not mean we shouldn’t strive to be… and when we fail, we should recognize we fail, giving God an opportunity to teach us even more.

We can never reconcile our mistakes if we spend more time trying to cover them up than facing them.

We live in two different places.

There’s the place of who we are… and then there’s the place of where we want people to see that we are…. and the gap in between.

I wish I could tap tap tap away on my keyboard begging for answers of why we do it, but truth is, I think I know. Because we spend so much time trying to look so together, so perfect, so ‘no, my life, my marriage, my children, my body, and my home are flawless’ kind of way that it creates no room for human error. It sucks the possibility of vulnerability and opportunity to heal right out from under us by us.

We take posed after posed picture like we’ve got it all together, knowing you haven’t talked to your husband in days, your kid licked a shoe, you’re mad at God for not answering that prayer, and you have 56 dollars to last until next pay day.

There is real space there.

Sweet friend, hear this. You can offer the world all the half truths your little fingers can peck, but at the end of the day, it’s just you and God.. and the best part is He knows.

He knows that your marriage is failing while you are smiling, pretending it’s okay. He knows that you yelled at your kid over that spilled drink. He knows that you’re holding untruth after untruth in your heart, praying no one finds out.  He was there when you took one drink too many, crawled in one bed too many men. He sees you wanting to be seen at church for doing that thing, wanting some of the credit for things he has obviously done in your life. He hears you asking those questions so you can ‘pray for someone’, knowing you only want the latest gossip. He sees you overspend. He knows what your heart really feels when you pray for their well being. He knows. He knows who you used to be, and he knows who you are. He knows where you’re at and where you’re going.

and all He wants is our honesty.

Not just for Him, not even just for you, but all of these other people like you and me that desperately need to know that there are real people with real problems that are still doing real and good things.

I think we try and live on two sides of broken; the side that says God can’t use me and the side that says here God, this way…

Either way you’re discrediting God as Lord.

One side is telling God who He isn’t and the other is telling Him you know more than He does.. when all He really wanted was for us to say Here, God. This is a mess; heal me and use it.

After reading yet another quote today by Mo Isom that floated into my email, I knew this was a message we desperately need. “We cannot be divided- one person behind closed doors and another on a public stage- its not authentic, its showmanship.

I have learned well one thing my small amount of time in ministry. It’s that people want to talk about their problems but they don’t want to address them. Early in my ministry, women poured into my inbox. They wanted to talk about their spirituality, about their marriages, about their affairs, about their church, the leaders of their church… but a large majority of them didn’t want to actually address their problems…

I know reality is hard to face sometimes. It’s why so many people trusted me with secrets I will take to my grave. Its because I was open about my mistakes, about my divorce, my childhood, the person I used to be, the person I was trying to become.

and I still don’t have it together. I still think things and say things I shouldn’t. My heart breaks when I get it wrong, and honestly? I probably pretend to get it right more than I actually do.

.. and If I’m still being honest, I’ll probably do it again. You will, too, but in between those times I want to challenge you to evaluate the gap, the space between what you look like and who you are, and let the Lord work.

“Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry amount you.  This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. it is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts” 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 NLT

Do you want to know what this says? What it means for you? It means that you don’t need validation from others to be who you are. It means that you were created by the One true God, and born under the new covenant that says people are just messy, but if they accept me, I’ll allow it.. because TRUE surrender to God means a heart that is tender and seeks His purpose and His will, that knows they will never measure up to that carved in stone law, but desperately wants to try. Sanctification is a real thing at any stage in your walk with God because loving Him is a process that never stops. As your faith grows, you will too. What I’ve found is it’s sometimes easier to be honest with God, than it is to be honest with ourselves.

Have you told yourself that you’ve accepted Christ as Lord, but hold on to old sin, constantly afraid that someone might find out what you did or who you were? Have you prayed to God for His will be done in your life, while you continue to make your own plans. Do you call out for God in desperation for His intervention, but spend more time on facebook than in His word?

Me too; all of it.

Girl, give it up. the past, the pretty.. all of it. Stand up right in the middle of the mess. Quit praying for your husband to change because your marriage is a wreck, and posting that picture hashtag my best friend. Quit filtering your photos, none of us are that tan either. Quit laundering all of your new things on social media, because all of us women shop when we hurt too. Don’t post the Bible verse, and then start the gossip. Be honest with others, but girl, be honest with you.

I see you, friend. Let me help. I know you because I am you. Reach out.

All in love,

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2 comments

  • This speaks right into something a close Christian friend and I have been mulling over for weeks now and even just addressed again in passing last night. Thank you for writing this!

    • So glad it spoke to your heart! It’s something the Lord has been winnowing me with for a little while now. I think it sneaks up on us in our most comfortable places! ♥️

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Hey Y’all

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