You don’t have to act like you have all together

I recently read this tweet by a pastor…

“I had a pastor once warn me against sharing my weaknesses. He told me it would be used against me. He was right, but I think I’d rather have some people reject an honest version of me, then a mythology I cannot maintain that benefits no one.” -Doug Bursch

The tweet made me quite emotional because there is pressure (from myself, from within Christianity, combination of both perhaps) to act like I have it all together. I know this is true because the very next line that I feel compelled to write is something like, “Hold up, don’t worry, I still meet the qualifications of an elder!” Which only proves to myself that the desire to put up a front, a facade, of spiritual perfection runs deep in my blood.

The reason I need to admit that I do not have it all together is because no one does. If the apostle Paul could tweet today he might write something like this, “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” -Romans 7:21

I think it is wise for me to acknowledge what really should seem quite obvious. It feels liberating to admit it. But there is another reason that I need to communicate this to you. I know you don’t have it all together either. And that is OK. I don’t want anyone in my church to think that they have to put on an act. Instead, I want them to know that they can admit that they have struggles, weaknesses, fears, temptations, etc.

I often times think of this Imagine Dragons song, “Demons.” You can relax, it’s not about fallen angels. It’s about the fact that everyone is dealing with some hard stuff in their life. Everyone is going through a battle of some sort. In the video you see various individuals at an Imagine Dragons concert. At the concert it looks like they are doing great. But then it shows their personal life and you can see what they are really dealing with, the difficulties of life. It reminds me quite a bit of church. On Sunday morning we get dressed up, have our coffee and put on our best face. Yet the truth is that nearly all of us are coming to church with a limp, baggage, and pain.

What do I want you to know?

I want you to know that it is OK for you to admit that you are not who you want to be. It is OK for you to admit that behind the scenes, when no one is looking, you are struggling. I guess what I want the most is for you to know that you are not alone. If the apostle Paul can come clean, drop the false image of having it all together, so can we.

Known Deeply. Loved Deeply.

Following excerpt is taken from “Tempted and Tried” by Russell Moore.

Felix told me that he battled against the pull to do stuff, awful stuff. When I pressed Felix about the gospel, he seemed to evidence credible faith and repentance. But he wanted me to know just how dark his demons were inside. “If you could prove to me that Jesus’ bones were in the ground in the Middle East,” he said, “I’d leave here right now and get as drunk as I could get, take every drug I could find, and sleep with every woman who would let me.” I think he was a little surprised when I chimed back, “Me too.”

I told Felix that if the bones of Jesus were in the ground, it seems to me his response is exactly what we ought to do: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Cor 15:32). The question rather than that is this: “Do you, in fact, believe the bones of Jesus are in the ground?” Felix’s eyes welled up with tears that he manfully blinked away. “No, I believe he’s alive,” he said. “And that’s why I fight this stuff all the time.” Let me give you a formal theological term for what Felix is experiencing: the normal Christian life.

This quote from Russell Moore leads me to a few conclusions…

  • Normal Christianity is not feeling as if you have reached such a level of sanctification that you no longer wrestle with your sin nature. In order for that to be the case there is one prerequisite, death.
  • After 15 years of pastoral ministry one thing I know for an absolute certainty is that each and every one of us is broken. We all have our closets. And perhaps our deepest longing is to be known for who we truly are and loved all the same.
  • Leaders cultivate shallow Christian community when they act like they have it all together. Which means that the church does not feel like a safe enough environment to let others see who we truly are.
  • Don’t believe the lie that you are the only one who has a monster inside of them that is being kept under control by a very thin leash. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle whether you can see it or not. You are not alone.

Pic taken from therealiferealtalkdotcom