Updated: Mar 20
My personality is naturally geared towards people pleasing. Disappointing or upsetting people makes me really uncomfortable. Because of this, I was the ideal church girl. I have striven to be the person that people think I am or should be. Historically, I have dimmed myself by holding back my true feelings to not make others uncomfortable. I have conformed to what others expected of me or pretended out of shame and fear of judgement.
I have reached a point in my life, where I would rather be uncomfortable and deal with peoples’ judgement or disappointment than go on faking it. About five or six years ago, God showed me that I matter too, and I am important too. Little by little, I am unraveling the depths of what that means.
I remember in my dating life, when men would tell me I was “needy,” I would get so ashamed and offended and tried to convince them otherwise. Years ago, I was dating this guy who was very frustrated with me when I was expressing my need for connection and told me I was, “needy.” My knee jerk reaction was to convince him that I wasn’t. However, in a moment of sheer epiphany, I realized, “Yeah, if needing connection and communication in my relationship makes me needy, then maybe I am needy!” From that point on, I owned that and learned to tell people this important part of me upfront. I
t helped me weed out people that weren’t meant for me quicker.
Just because people try to shame us for aspects of ourselves, it does not mean that we should be ashamed. I am not talking about excusing abusive behavior here, nor am I saying that we shouldn’t self-reflect, and grow. I am also not saying that healthy welcomed debate is wrong. I am talking about being true to ourselves in the face of pressure to conform or change when we don’t actually feel that is the right thing.
I learned to lessen myself, pretend, and conform from my years of growing up in the Christian community. This community, more often than not, is very cliquey and bullyish under the guise of being concerned, loving, caring, and enforcing God’s law. The mentality ultimately comes down to, “conform or get out of our club.” This couldn’t be any farther from the heart of the God that I know, and frankly, I’d rather be kicked out of the club than associated and lumped in with people who are self-righteous and judgmental.
The Bible tells us to worry about the plank in our own eye, and that, “No one is righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Suzy and Sally’s salvation has absolutely nothing to do with us, so we need to mind our own business.
The Bible tells us over and over not to judge. We say, “What would Jesus do?” Well, Jesus wouldn’t judge. He hung out with the prostitute. When faced with the adulterous woman, Jesus told the people, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Jesus didn’t get angry with the sinners, but he did call out the Pharisees and reminded them that they too were sinners. A huge majority of the modern day Christian church reminds me of Pharisees.
People are not coming to God because the church is representing him like Santa Claus. A judgmental jerk who is watching everything we do and just waiting to condemn us and give us coal or worse, hell.
We might as well sing in most churches, “You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I’m telling you why. Jesus Christ is coming to town. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.”
If this is true, then Jesus died in vain. By being so obsessed with sin, we are cheapening Jesus’ gift of the cross. “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness comes by law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:21). Our God is so much better than Santa Claus, but not everyone realizes that.
We put the cart before the horse by demanding people get their act together and get right with God, so He will love us. When in reality, He loves us fully and unconditionally REGARDLESS of our behavior.
“It is His goodness that leads to repentance” (Romans 2:4).
Revelations of His love changes hearts, minds, and lives not some uptight judgy Christian trying to force change on their schedule and in their way. God doesn’t need our help working out other peoples’ salvation.
We don’t all need to fit into a perfect box of a “walking the walk Christian” (whatever that means) to be a part of God’s club. You are a loved, valid, important, respected child of God regardless of how the people in the modern day church have made you feel. Know that you, exactly as you are in this moment, are looked at by the creator of the universe as perfect and beloved.
Come to God exactly as you are. Bring your messy life. Bring your alcohol. Bring your drugs. Bring your swearing. Bring your anger. Bring your sexual orientation. Bring your gender. Bring your gossiping. Bring your envious attitude. Bring it all. I’m here to tell you, that you are loved and accepted, and you don’t need to change to be loved by God. After experiencing His powerful love, you may want to change, but it is not a requirement as some would have you think. You are not isolated from God regardless of who you are, or what you are doing.
“Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).
A few months ago, we got a new sectional. It was in mint condition. It looked and fit in our room perfectly. While this couch looked perfect, it was really uncomfortable, and we didn’t really want to spend much time in our living room because of that. Last week, I found the most comfortable sectional on marketplace. However, it has a few minor rips that need sewing, and it is too big for our living room, and needs to be split into two different pieces.
We had a choice to make to look beautiful and perfect but actually be uncomfortable, or to have an imperfect couch that is perfect for us. Years ago, without hesitation, I would have chosen to look perfect. We chose the imperfect couch that we could actually use and enjoy. Let me just say, we are in love with this couch. I read this quote on a friend’s Facebook page, “I’d rather attend church with messed up people who love God, than religious people who dislike messed up people.”
Your people are going to love you for exactly who you are. If they don’t, they aren’t your people. It’s better to be authentic and imperfectly you than some fake, watered down, “perfect” version of yourself. You are so much more powerful if the real you shows up. Judgers are going to judge. Let em. Own who you are, and what God is showing you even if that is met with resistance. God made us all unique and is speaking to each and every one of us. You are not less valid because like our couch, you look a little awkward and have some rips. Your story may just be exactly what someone needs to hear.