“I‘m really an open book,” my sweet, blonde-haired counselor informed us. Sitting cross-legged on her desk in the wood-paneled dorm room, a smile perused her face as she continued: “You can ask me anything- I really can’t think of anything that I wouldn’t tell you.” I was both shocked and in awe. There was nothing that she wanted to keep to herself? Was there really nothing that she would rather her teenage spiritual pupils didn’t know? As the week of Teen Leadership Conference (TLC) went on, I found the answer to this question: there really wasn’t anything that she had to hide! She openly shared with us her struggles, her victories, and literally anything else we asked her about. This one trait made her stand out to me that week not only as a mentor and a nice person, but as a real person, saved by grace and wholeheartedly trying to live like Jesus. Convicted, I left TLC feeling convinced that something in my life needed to change. Ashamedly, I realized that I am guilty of faking life. I’m guilty of faking spiritual maturity. I can easily fudge my way through life by hiding under the phony image of “perfect Christian pastor’s daughter” that I have allowed people to believe is true about me! Right now, I could open a Microsoft Word document and furiously type pages and pages of everything that I do wrong and the ways that I hide those things from people. Instead, however, I think it would be more productive to share with you what I have been learning from the Bible what God has to say about being yourself- not who the world thinks you should be, but the you He specifically crafted you to be.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
~1 Samuel 16:7
The first thing that you and I have to remember is that no matter how authentic we appear to other people from the outside, the Lord always sees the realities of our hearts. It’s kind of humbling, isn’t it? Suddenly, my fake face doesn’t look so polished anymore! Ultimately, it does not matter in the least who people think we are. What is eternally important is what God sees- our hearts!
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
~Hebrews 10: 24-15
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
The second thing to remember is that in order to live as children of God in community (the way the Bible commands us to), we must be open with one other about our struggles. For example, how are we supposed to encourage someone who appears to have no problems? How are we supposed to pray for one another’s growth when we do not know where each of us is faltering? How are we supposed to grow in our relationship with Christ if we do not live with enough authenticity that our brothers and sisters in Christ can point us in the right direction when we sin?
I hope that these two points spur you to be real, as the Lord is teaching me to do the same. I ask that you all forgive me for any posts on this blog that consist simply of me preaching what I do not practice. Today I’m committing to throw away my pretty little church mask and reveal the sinner saved by grace that I really am. Will you join me?