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Publicly Screwing Up Is The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

Updated: Dec 15, 2023


I want to see more churches where the pastor gets up on stage and announces his humanness. I want to hear a pastor say something like this, “Don’t look at me, or anyone else in this church’s leadership. We are just men and women who make mistakes every day. In fact, this morning, I just lost my temper with my kid and looked at a pretty girl’s butt in Starbucks for longer than I should have. I am just a human doing my best like anyone else. Look to God and God alone. We are all flawed and in desperate need of God’s grace. ‘There is none righteous, no not one.’ You don’t need to hide here.”

 

A church like that is probably not going to fall into the gossip/ shallow friendship trend I’ve noticed in abundance in the modern day Christian church as a whole. If everyone is free to openly own their struggles, without judgment, and if owning and talking about our own crap is honored instead of shamed, it would reinvent the face of the church.

 

Instead of feeling shamed and judged, people would feel the way that Jesus made them feel which is accepted and safe enough to actually look at themselves, grow, and learn instead of being  so afraid of their faults that they try hide it from everyone including themselves. Hiding and faking makes real growth and change impossible. If people stopped doing this, the church would become a place of safety and friendship. A place of true fellowship.

 

Unfortunately, modern day church, as it often looks now, is a place of faking it and being paralyzed by fear of judgment and shame.

 

 This is not love.

 

 This is not God.

 

This is the enemy using our humanness, comparative nature, and desire for perfection to block true Godly friendship. Not only can we not have authentic relationships with others, but we are blocked from authentic relationship with ourselves and our own hearts. This means we are blocked from authentic relationship with the Holy Spirit who the Bible tells us, lives in us.

 

The enemy knows exactly what to do to keep us from genuine closeness with God and others. Within the church, shame and hiding is perpetuating a judgmental attitude and inability to be real with anyone let alone one's self. Ultimately, this isolates people as it ruins their chance at honest relationship with others, God, and even themselves. Plus, it keeps the people who are already on the outside thinking that everyone in the church is a bunch of hypocritical, judgmental, nutbags.


It's kind of brilliant.


Although it may seem like it, I don’t stand here in judgement of Christians acting like this at all.


I was the literal queen of this behavior. I lived this life for 2/3rds of my life. I was the young adult the pastor pulled on stage and told all the parents to have their girls’ model themselves after. One might think what a huge compliment that is.


 

The thing was, while I had lots of “friends” and was surrounded by people, nobody, including myself or my own family, truly knew me. I was lonely on a deep level.

 

I actively remember my wild child brother making these soul connections and best friendships so easily. I saw that, and I was jealous. I wanted in on the action, but I genuinely had no clue how to go about attaining that.


I didn’t know how to be a friend to myself, so I simply couldn’t be a friend to others. I was too busy looking the perfect, together, Christian, part and buying into the abusive mumbo jumbo like how we are nothing but "filthy rags" that in retrospect, I realize, ultimately, made me hate myself.

 

So again, I know I sound blunt and maybe harsh, but I don’t stand in judgement. If anything, I have a lot of compassion for Christians who are stuck in this mindset because I know how lonely and isolating living like this is.


True friendships are nearly impossible and leave people with hardly anything real to even talk about.

 

 I believe that this is why gossip is so rampant in the church. The only thing of substance that people have to talk about with out feeling ashamed is the realness happening in other peoples’ lives.

 

One can safely speculate and discuss what is happening in the lives of others without admitting anything slightly unholy or imperfect of themselves that would make them look like a lesser Christian. I know this is true because this was me.


We are designed for connection, and very, very, sadly, gossiping in the name of “concern” and “prayer” is the only way many Christians can connect on a relatively fulfilling level with other people.

 

I lucked out; I publically fell on my face and screwed up BIG time in front of everyone.

 

I committed one of the big Christian “No No’s.”

 

 I decided to divorce my good, kind, faithful, Christian husband because long story short, I was attracted to another man in a way I never was attracted to my husband. I knew I had to get myself out of my marriage for my sake AND his. We both deserved better.

                  

For the first time in my life, I decided to follow my heart instead of the rules. Except for the grace of God, the wisdom and example of my dad who left his 25 year role as a worship leader largely because he foresaw that it was too much pressure for me, and a family fall out that I thought would kill me, but didn't which gave me an edge, I genuinely have no idea how the me back then, found the courage to do what I did.

 

This inevitably meant that I failed miserably in the eyes of the church. I went from being the one brought up on stage in church and being the person everyone’s daughters should all model themselves after, to the girl they are now all “concerned for” and “praying for.”

 

I knew right away that among other things, the gossip circles, oops, I mean prayer groups would say I “fell from grace.” 

 

This made me frustrated and angry at the church AND God because it was largely the influence of Christian ideals that got me into this mess in the first place. For various reasons, I felt that marrying my ex-husband was the "right thing" to do. It was more or less what I had to do.

 

As I’ve spoken about before, following my “fall from grace,” I abandoned my Christian faith and my entire life. I dropped everything and moved to North Carolina with my poodle.


I abandoned my “good Christian girl” persona. I stopped trying to be perfect and good enough for God and all the people watching me, and I just tried to find and be myself, whoever that was. Underneath it all, I truly didn’t even know. It was a confusing, terrifying, exhilarating, fun time in my life.  

 

The first thing I noticed was that, I started having depthful friendships, and my conversations with people were real and meaningful. My good Christian act dropped and suddenly, I was just me trying to figure it out and find my place in this world.

 

My heart started out pouring with thoughts and ideas about my own life and bigger concepts that I wanted to talk about. For instance, I remember sitting under the stars one night, on my brother’s front stoop, telling him, “I don’t believe that a loving God would send his children to an eternity of suffering and burning alive in flaming torture. If that is truly who God is, then I don’t want any part of Him.”


Suddenly, gossip wasn’t really that much of a struggle for me anymore. I had bigger things to discuss.

 

My fear of failure was gone. I couldn’t really fail worse in the eyes of the church, so I might as well just be me. The mask of who I wanted to be and who I wanted people to see me as fell off.

 

Conversations became real. Because of this, I became touchable. I became someone people could relate to. People started to open up to me about their lives and their stories as I did the same with them. For the first time in my life, I had soul friendships. The kind of connections I always wanted to have.

 

 I didn’t fall from grace. I fell into it.


 

Ten years later, I couldn’t be more thankful for my divorce. It was the best decision I ever made, and it marks a distinct before and after for me. It was like a rebirth. A second chance at life, friendships, relationships in general, and most importantly, it birthed a genuine relationship with God for the first time in my cradle Christian life.


 

Unfortunately, not everyone gets the chance to publically screw up and embarrass themselves like I did, but I highly recommend doing this at least once in your life. 😉


As I type this, I am reminded of the Alanis Morsette song, “You Learn.” Check it out! It’s worth a listen.

 

A good humbling and being brought back down to reality is what allowed me the opportunity to be me. It’s been really fun uncovering who that person is.

 

If we as Christians could,

 

1.)    Realize the truth of the finished work of the cross, we can begin to comprehend that we are already perfect in God’s eyes. This is not because we act perfectly, but because of grace. It’s a free gift. There is nothing we can do to earn it. In fact, acting like there is something we can do to earn it, is frustrating God and belittling Jesus’ huge sacrifice on the cross (Galatians 2:21).


2.)    Stop worrying about what people think and dare to be real with others about who we truly are and the struggles we face.

 

the churches would be full and a place where we all feel safe and comfortable. I personally don’t feel safe in a good majority of the churches out there. People crave the acceptance and love that Jesus offers. They, including so many Christians, just don’t realize that that’s what He offers because of the inaccurate representation of Him.

 

I desperately wish people would seek Him and read their Bible’s for themselves and not just blindly trust what’s being spewed from pulpits.

 

People crave friendship and connection. Through His incredible act on the cross, Jesus facilitated the beginning of us being friends with, forgiving, and loving ourselves, so we can do the same for others.

 

We’ve all heard the saying, “If you can’t first love yourself, how can you possibly love others?”

 

This is so true, and the modern day church, in the mindset that it is currently in, breeds and fosters self-hatred thus general hatred.

 

On a soul level, many Christian’s don’t seem to think that they are worthy of Jesus’ love and acceptance let alone their own or others. This is why it’s nearly impossible for Christians to truly be loving.

 

 I believe that this is the pulse of why the outside looks at Christians the way they do as mean and judgy, why people are scared off before getting the chance to truly know and understand the heart of God, and why Christians are so lonely and isolated on a soul level.

 

As Christians, we don’t have to be something we aren’t. We don’t have to act like we have it all figured out. In fact, it’s annoying when people act like they have all the answers about life, death, heaven, hell, salvation etc.


We can and should ask the hard hitting questions. We can and should be questioning commonly believed dogma. We can and should be able to be real about our desires and struggles. We can and should be able to change our minds about things as we mature and understand new things.

 

 If people act like they are holier than you, a better Christian than you, or like they have it all together, they are lying to you, and maybe even themselves. These people are frozen. When stuck in this mindset, true growth and maturation is very limited.

 

From what I’ve seen, it’s the people who put themselves in glass houses of perfection that are isolated and lonely. Plus, often times it is these people that end up crashing and burning hard. Just look at all the people in Christian leadership that end up cheating on their spouses, entangled in money scandals, abusing children etc.

 

The Bible talks about not forsaking the fellowship. It is the people who put up facades and get caught up trying to be “good examples” or proving how godly and holy they are that are not being their real selves who are forsaking the fellowship.

 

This is acting. Acting is not fellowshipping.

 

Acting does not allow for authentic friendships.

 

My challenge to Christians: Let’s dare to be real. Let’s dare to question commonly accepted Christian dogma. Let’s dare to show others our ugliness and faults. Let’s dare to grow and learn together.

 

Change starts with you and me.

 

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