I’ve never been a soft-spoken Christian. Maybe that’s because I didn’t become one until I was thirty. When you go through that much life and then find Jesus, it kind of feels like you’re a little late to the party. I didn’t know the lingo. I didn’t act the same as other women. I was just happy to be there, you know?
Because of that, I’ve sometimes struggled with feelings of not really being Christian enough. And . . . truth be told, I’ve been called out for it online by someone who was in a ministry she felt competed with mine. (Um, that’s not a thing in the church–there’s room and need for everyone.) I didn’t flower up my story when I told it. I didn’t guard my words when I talked about my past. And I didn’t hide things I did in my life as if they were suddenly unacceptable.
I just started living from a new point of view, living with a new purpose, and figured that was a very good thing for others to witness.
But there have been times in my nearly 18 years as a Christian that I’ve noticed the difference between me and them and became a little wobbly in my urge to live my faith honestly. It comes across when I’m around other believers who seem to be doing things so much better:
- Maybe they pray more often, or more eloquently
- Maybe they do more Bible studies or can quote Bible verses like a champ
- Maybe they talk in the language of Christians so flawlessly that it makes me pause to translate my own thoughts into the same before I speak them outloud
- Maybe their family of origin, their children, and everyone around them is also a Christian
- Or maybe they just look at me as if I have a third eye when I say things about my life as if being normal and a Christian is, you know, normal
The truth is, our faith is a very personal thing. Personal, because it’s between us and God. There’s literally no one else involved.
Now, we can draw others in to our faith experience through the church, group gatherings, and the like. But at the end of the day–at the end of our life–it will be us and the Lord face to face. No one else will matter.
My grandmother use to have a saying that I’ve come to realize is one of the most profound truths in life:
What someone else thinks of you is none of your business.
We can’t get caught up in worrying about other Christians, or comparing our strengths and weaknesses as a Christian to them, when we are clearly called to something else. We can’t let the things about us that might cause the hairs to raise on the back of another Christian’s neck keep us from living our faith authentically..
God made you the way you are, brought you to the faith the way He did, and put you exactly where He intended for you to be–all for a reason. The way you are when you are being your truest self is a process, and if God is in that process, He can use every single bit of it. Not at the end of your life–when you are suddenly complete–but every single moment throughout.
- When you are imperfect
- When you don’t say or do the right thing
- When you don’t handle your faith the same as others
- When you don’t dress or look like the average Christian
- When you don’t speak eloquently enough for some
- When you show others the truth of your life and your messy process in faith
- When you are the worst, rawest, version of yourself–and it’s not pretty
When you live your faith honestly, you’re not an outcast, you’re actually among good company:
In 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, Paul reminds us:
“Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God CHOSE men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these ‘nobodies’ to expose the hollow-pretentions of the ‘somebodies’?
Maybe your imperfections, or rawness, or plain old weirdness is exactly what He is planning to use in the life of someone who is trying to understand the faith but can’t relate to other Christians. Maybe you are exactly what one person needs to come to Christ. If so, isn’t that serving Him well? Exactly as you are?
Christians that live transparently–in every aspect of their lives–have the most opportunity to share Christ with others in my opinion. They show the world that you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to talk the talk. And you can totally crash at walking the walk–and still be not only deeply loved by God, but used for His purposes. It doesn’t mean that you grow complacent in your faith and allow things in that God clearly is trying to remove. But, you don’t have to cover up that process as if you are ashamed of it either. I mean, really, if the disciples had suddenly put themselves on a pedestal for the simple fact that they understood more than those who didn’t walk with Jesus, would they have brought as many to the faith?
So, if you get the feeling that other Christians are judging your walk, be glad! As followers, there’s nothing we can do or say to save or unsave another believer. Nothing we can do to hurt or help their salvation. That work has already been done.
But as we continue to grow in our faith and show our vulnerability and imperfections along the way, when we don’t pretend to have all the answers or act as if we are suddenly the MVP on Team Jesus, we have the possibility of actually doing what Jesus has called us to do: love others in such a way that they wonder about the role He plays in our life.
And that is the sign of a beautiful walk of faith with Jesus.