what if we share the messy?

Silly, right? To have a breakdown because your Pinterest alter-ego is a super mom and you’re just a run of the mill, trying to survive, not fancy, not green, not hip, messy and at her wit’s end, M-O-M.

Go ahead, judge me. But here’s the thing, what this really translates into, is the church.

The Christian pin board. Imagine for a minute if we stopped pinning our successes, and instead shared our mishaps with the world. Forget the pot roast that’s to die for, let’s share pictures of that burnt meatloaf that your kid almost choked on. Or how about the cookies you made and accidentally used salt where is said sugar. Why don’t we share the kitchen fires, the sewing disasters, and the stains that your magical cleaning concoction didn’t take care of.

Why don’t we share the mess?

Forget food and clean houses. Let’s talk about life.

When was the last time you walked into your church and said, “Hey friends, I usually leave my garbage at the door, but today I decided to bring it in. This is my life. It’s messy, it’s stinky, and I really don’t have a clue how I’m going to get it together. But I’m here, and I need your help.”

*Gasp*

We don’t do that. Instead, we sift through the coloring book and share only the pages where we didn’t go outside the lines.

The first time I ever shared my testimony I was given a standard model to follow. You start with the back story (the valley) then go into the climb (where God began to take a hold of you) and you end with the victory speech (the mountaintop). Always a triumph in the end, always a conquering of past demons. That’s great and sweet, and it sure does elicit some good responses from people. But, is it real?

What if you’re a Christian, and you’re still in the valley?

Friends, I am. There are areas of my life where I am still so broken. There are things from my past that still have a fierce grip on me. I’d like to say that I’ve moved on, I’ve shaken it off, and I’ve claimed my victory, but I haven’t. In the past I’ve been so ashamed to admit that, but it’s true.

I don’t have it all together. 

Not by a long shot. I struggled for a long time with going to church week after week and seeing how put together everyone else seemed to be. There were times when I felt completely defeated because I was still such a wreck internally. I didn’t understand why I still struggled with these things, while so many others had moved  on and were celebrating. Alas, I’m beginning to understand.

No one wants to pin their failures, only their successes.

We don’t want to go around shouting about our struggles. It’s so much easier to wear our “I’ve got it together” masks and just play church with each other. Forget the fact that we have brothers and sisters that are barely dragging themselves into the pews each weak because they’re so beat down that they just want to quit. Forget the way they must feel when they leave, week after week after week, surrounded by cookie cutter Christian lives.

Forget true, real, genuine relationships. Let’s just fake it, and hope to God that someday we’ll make it.

I’m tired of it. I know there is peace and healing and restoration in Christ, I’ve experienced it. But, no matter how many times I climb to that mountain top, I still find myself gravitating back toward that sinful slope. No matter how hard I have tried to glaze over the things of the past, Friends, I am still broken. 

So, I’m not going to fake it anymore. Not with you here, not with my friends and family, and not with people I have the opportunity to minister to. I’m not going to share Christ like He’s a box of chocolates with a velvet ribbon.

I will share hope, but I will also share struggle.

Are you picking up what I’m putting down here? Life’s stinkin’ hard. The Christian life included. It’s hard, it’s messy, it’s unpredictable, and it is diverse. And we should present it to the world as just that. Open your heart, open your life, and get real, Folks.

– amazing blog post from Nikki

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He knows the way ahead…

Insight from Corrie ten Boom (taken from quotes off the Facebook page baring her name)

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There is no panic in Heaven! God has no problems, only plans.

Some knowledge is too heavy, you cannot bear it…your Father will carry it until you are able.

And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things too. Don’t run out ahead of Him.

Love is larger than the walls which shut it in.

When I try, I fail. When I trust, He succeeds.

This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.

Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?

Faith is like radar that sees through the fog- the reality of things at a distance the human eye cannot see.

I remember one occasion when I was very discouraged (in the concentration camp). Everything around us was dark, and there was darkness in my heart. I remember telling Betsie that I thought God had forgotten us. “No, Corrie” said Betsey, “He has not forgotten us. Remember His Word: ‘For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love towards those who fear him.’ I would like to share that ‘There is an ocean of God’s love available – there is plenty for everyone. May God grant you never to doubt that victorious love – whatever the circumstances.’

Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable and receives that impossible.

Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.

It hurts when God has to PRY things out of our hands. Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.

In darkness God’s truth shines most clear.

You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.

Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.

I discovered that it is not our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.

Trying to do the Lord’s work in your own strength is the most confusing, exhausting, and tedious of all work. But when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, then the ministry of Jesus just flows out of you.

Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two loads at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.

 

 

 

periods of transition reveal

It’s been a good summer.  Not easy by any stretch of the imagination.  But good.  Good because it has had good moments sprinkled through it.  But mostly because in being stripped of so much, God has revealed so much truth to me.  About Himself.  About Me.  About life.  Periods of transition reveal so much of the layers of un-holiness that lie within us.  There are hard questions that sometimes don’t have answers.  But more than ever, I believe that nothing in our lives happens without a purpose because of how much God longs for our holiness.  Ever since we’ve moved, I’ve felt God asking me to praise Him.  Even when it felt like blank darkness, to simply worship.  I needed to learn to praise God because of who He is, not because of what He does, or the prayers He answers, or the way I sense Him in my life

Entry from Michelle Beachy’s Website

Do the work excerpts

Do the Work, by Stephen Pressfield

The following is a list of the forces arrayed against us as artists and entrepreneurs:

1. Resistance (Ie. fear, self-doubt, procrastination, addiction, distraction, timidity, ego and narcissism, self-loathing, perfectionism, etc)

2. Rational thought

3. Friends and family

The following is a list, in no particular order, of those activities that most commonly elicit Resistance:

1, The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional

2. The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profit or otherwise

3. Any diet or health regimen

4. Any program of spiritual advancement

5. Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction

6. Education of every kind.

7, Any act of political, moral or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct in ourselves.

8. The undertaking of any enterprise or endeavor whose aim is to help others.

9. Any act that entails commitment of the heart – the decision to get married, have a child, weather a rocky patch in a relationship

10. The taking of any principled stand in the face of adversity. In other words, any act that rejects immediate gratification in favour of long-term growth, health or integrity.

Resistance cannot be seen, heard, touched or smelled, But it can be felt. Resistance is a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.

*The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.

We are wrong if we think that we`re the only ones struggling with Resistance. Everyone who has a body experiences Resistance.

Next to Resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneur`s worst enemy. But things happen when we employ rational thought, because rational thought comes from the ego. Instead, we want to work from the Self, that is, from the instinct and intuition, from the unconscious.

The problem with Friends and family is that they know us as we are. They are invested in maintaining us as we are.
The Allies – the champions on our side: Stupidity, stubbornness, blind faith, passion, assistance and friends and family.
Ignorance and arrogance are the artist and entrepreneur`s indispensable allies. She must be clueless enough to have no idea how difficult her enterprise is going to be – and cocky enough to believe she can pull it off anyway. you achieve this state of mind by not allowing yourself to think over something. Don`t think – ACT. We accomplish nothing until we act.
*A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. It`s only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and over-think and hesitate.
Once we commit to action, the worst thing we can do is stop. What will keep us from stopping, Plain old stubbornness.
excerpts from the ebook version on amazon.com