Ever heard these words?
“That was such a good prayer!”
“I’ve never seen you angry before.”
“You’re such a sweet girl.”
“You’re so nice to everyone!”
“You’re always so happy.”
I have. And it’s an image I like. It makes me feel good about myself. Wouldn’t it make you feel good? It’s nice to be perceived as the one who has it all together, who loves everybody, and is always a positive Polly no matter what.
Growing up in the church with an urge to please everybody, to be praised, and to look on the bright side, this image was what I rested on for most of my growing up years. The very thought of letting someone down or disappointing them (especially God) was what kept Little Miss Sweetie-Pie over here making the right choices.
But seven years ago, I was brought face-to-face with reality – that behind the façade, my heart was just as black as everyone else’s – it just had this coat of fresh white paint trying to cover it up.
I’m that girl who knows all the right Christian answers – who looks good in her Sunday best – and can find Scripture verses at the drop of a hat.
But I’m also the girl who takes way longer to understand what those Scriptures actually mean than to glibly quote them over the dinner table. The one who fails to always put them into practice – who struggles with faith, wanting to believe, but still questioning.
I’m that self-righteous Pharisee who wants to think she’s doing it all right.
But at night, I’m the one screaming in my heart because I just can’t change the way I feel. And I hate who I’ve become – the girl no one ever sees, because heaven forbid I actually make a mistake and do the wrong thing.
I’m that girl whom everyone smiles upon and says, “Oh, don’t worry, a girl like you? Of course you’ll get married!”
But then another year passes, and once again, I’m crumpling into sobs, asking God why has everyone passed me by, and my faith slips a little.
I’m the one who’s just as quick to answer her doubts and questions with all the right answers & Bible verses – but there are times when the right answers don’t bring the hope I pray they will and I just. can’t. seem. to. do. it. right.
And this – this is who I am – stripped away down to the bare bones truth:
Sometimes I don’t know what to say
Sometimes I’m terribly awkward
Sometimes I don’t love enough
Sometimes I ask for too much and don’t give enough
Sometimes I don’t care
Sometimes I’m arrogant
Sometimes I want what others have despite all that’s been given to me
Sometimes I don’t see the pain
Sometimes I do and choose to look away
Sometimes I just ignore
Sometimes I think I know best and spend all my free time
planning a future that will never happen
Sometimes I’m just lost and hopeless
I CAN’T change the way I feel – and that is precisely why I need Him.
If I could change the way I feel, there would be no need to lean into His arms. If I was able to do it all perfectly on my own, there would be no need for a Savior. If I knew all the right answers, there would be no need for faith.
He sees me just the way I am. He knows my doubts. He knows my deepest longings and all the tears that have been shed over them. He sees how messy I am. But He looks past the mess and sees straight into my soul … that soul He created and that He finds beautiful.
And beyond all comprehension, my Abba loves me. And He wants me to come to Him and cast all this ugly sin on His shoulders.
And remember that this is the reason for the cross.
This is the meaning of grace.
It means I don’t have to have it all together.
Because HE does.
And this is the biggest relief of them all.
Ever heard these words?