Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Come As You Aren't?

Last night at Fusion (which, if you haven't been around here very long, is what our church calls small groups) we got on a topic that I have given a lot of thought. We were talking about how each of us struggles, and the sad thing is that everyone in our group agreed that at this point in America, church is the last place we feel like we can show those struggles. I think often of the story in Philip Yancey's book 'What's So Amazing About Grace' when he told a prostitute who was wanting life change that she should go to the Church, and she said 'Why would I want to go there? I already feel bad about myself.'. This is what it's become.

If anything, it should be the opposite. If there is one community I should be able to bare it all and be myself around, it should be my brothers and sisters. But strangely it's not... we come on Sunday in our 'Sunday Best', cleaned up and spotless. So I'm calling for a paradigm shift... what about our Sunday Worst? Why do we feel pressure around other believers to sweep all our brokenness under the proverbially rug?

I find it interesting that even Paul said to the Philippian church 'Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect...'. If anyone would have had grounds to appear somewhat perfect, it would have been Paul, right?!

But his transparency helps us heal. His humanness helps me to come before God just as I am and beg for change. 

So couldn't my apparent brokenness help someone else? As I thought about this last night, God was definitely speaking right at me~ especially about my kids. I am in a constant state of fear that my littles will do something crazy or offend someone on Sunday morning. But shouldn't it be that I come in with kids in tow begging that everyone would see them as they are and pray for God to mold them into the world changers they are born to be? Couldn't our community be the kind that sees an imperfect family and prays for a different heart in my kids but also in me as I teach them?

I think in the year that we have been here I've taken steps in the right direction on this one. When we first moved, my self-conscious self felt that I had to appear perfect. I was so afraid of the 'church ladies', as I call them, that I didn't want to appear as anything less than 100% in front of them. (And come on, you know every church has their group of 'church ladies'...) But who was I really fooling?! No one really is perfect, and frankly it's exhausting keeping this up when we all know that everyone else is as flawed and human as the next person. So little by little I've been making changes. I've been coming to church in whatever state I might be in. I cry during worship as I talk to God and He speaks to me. I don't always stand & sing or answer the usual 'good' when someone asks me how I'm doing.

And God is changing me for that.

Suddenly as I allow myself to be more transparent I'm becoming more keen to see others as they are. With less judgement and more prayer. More seeing a need and asking God to heal them or allow me to serve them in His name. Allowing Him to increase as I decrease (John 3:30).

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14


  1. I SOOO agree! I just want to love, not judge others, and also be loved and not judged. This is something so true, and it takes a whole bunch of us to change the church for the better. Have you noticed that when you are vulnerable and transparent, it is contagious? This is really want be, I don't want to pretend to be perfect and I want to love others and act accordingly when they are open too. Beautifully written, I am very much like-minded.

  2. I can completely identify with this. I hate that some people feel they can't come to church because they won't be accepted. What is that? That's the one place we are ALL accepted - should be anyhow. I believe our church is very much on the right track where this is concerned and it's refreshing. Still, praying I can be vulnerable and real in their presence.

  3. Mandy, your comments are spot on!


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