I've been in theatre basically my entire life. I love it. The rush of diving into someone else's life story, and then getting to tell that story. Becoming someone else. And in theatre, becoming someone else is praised, and awarded. In fact, the show can only be genuine if you dive head first into the role you're portraying.
It's not quite the same in real life.
I've been involved in leading worship at GCC for around 4 years now. I recently started working part time there, and help lead the charge for weekend services. It's a incredible honor to be trusted with our team, and our people, and leading them in worship.
However, lately it's been heavy. See, when you pray a prayer asking God to sweep your heart clean, He is always quick and ready to do so. That is a prayer that He will answer every. single. time.
So, in the last few weeks when I've stepped onto our stage to lead a song, and the lights came up on me, I just feel gross. Who am I to be up here leading these people into the presence of God when I can't even hear Him right now? If they knew who I really was, they wouldn't let me near this church, let alone, be in charge of people. I'm doubting and questioning some things, and all I see in myself is failure, faults, and a million reasons why someone else should be up there but me. I understand that no one is worthy, and because of Christ's death, we can approach Him...I know the story, and I know the verses. But again, BELIEVING that. It's hard to understand why He uses us, especially when we feel raw and vulnerable...like we having nothing to give anyone.
Yet, here I am. And He continues to use me. It's who He is. And I'm learning over and over and over again that He can become greater when I become less. When I realize that there is NOTHING about me that is good without Him. When He prunes, and cuts away at the branches of my heart. This "season" or whatever it is, regardless of the difficulty, will be worth it. He's molding my own heart to His.
"God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies those He's called"
thoughts on beauty (more like a pep-talk for myself)
The following is an assembly of random thoughts on beauty, not feeling good enough, and insecurities. But mostly, it's a reminder for myself.
There are some days when I feel pretty. When I have makeup on my face. When my hair is done. And I love having a great eyelash day. I feel skinny, and my clothes fit right. I look in the mirror, and enjoy what I see. I'm proud of what I see.
But what about the other 90% of the days when I look in the mirror and think, "Yikes, you look rough."
Those are the days that I want to address. That stupid mindset we carry with us. No matter how we look at ourselves, or what we do to enhance the beauty we're given, we see flaws. It's like our eyes are trained to find something, ANYTHING, that is wrong, or out of place. We get complimented on an outfit, or hairstyle, and IMMEDIATELY ride it off by making a comment on how terrible we look, or feel.
In college I challenged myself to a week without makeup. Sounds easy, right? No. Not at all.
I would wake up in the morning, look at puffy, tired eyes and hate what I saw. On top of that, I was going through a growing period with humility and pride. That week sucked. It felt like God brought me down to the ground, and let me stay there. I had to re-train myself to look at myself that way God sees me, and to give the gifts He gave me back to Him as offering. The whole week was God molding my mind to see what He sees.
Since that challenging week of doom, I'm way more comfortable in my own skin. I can walk in public with my hair thrown up, and no makeup. BUT there are still the majority of days when I feel ugly, unwanted, and undesirable. And I still listen to the voice that screams at me...the voice saying I'll never be skinny enough, pretty enough, or good enough.
Here's my challenge to myself, and anyone else. Take the negative, and stomp it to the ground with TRUTH.
Here are some of mine:
You are too chubby.
I am a WOMEN. I have curves. I enjoy food. I am accepted the way I am
You have acne.
My skin tone does not take away from my natural beauty.
I will never be as pretty as (insert name here).
No I won't. But I am my own form of beautiful. No one, and no thing can tell me otherwise.
Here's what I'm trying to get at ladies. STOP comparing yourself to others. Find your own beauty. You are beautiful...big boobs, or no boobs. Bubble butt, or flat butt. Cellulite, or smooth. Thighs that tough, or ones with a gap. Big tummies, or toned. Dark circles, or none. Stained teeth from too much coffee, or a smile that belongs in a colgate commercial. Dried, cracked heels, or smooth. Dream disney princess hair, or greasy, unwashed hair. Unplucked eye brows, or the perfect arched brow....I think you get my drift.
Find the beauty in yourself. Ask The Lord to re-mold your mind, and open your eyes to see what He loves about you. He created YOU. He makes no mistakes, and He loves us just the way we are. Even the smelly, no makeup, post-workout version of yourself. In fact, maybe that's version of you He likes best. Being true to who you are.
I've been wanting to post something about this for a while now, and it will probably be a lot of scattered rambles, but here we go.
A few months ago at GCC, we got to do a series called, "Don't Call Me A Christian". If you want the gist of it, you can check it out here.
During this series, I was asked by our media guys, along with others, to share about the time I didn't want to be called a Christian. I was super humbled to share among leaders that I respect, and really nervous and excited to share some of my heart. I had planned on sharing about the season where I lived and worked in Yosemite National Park, but God had other plans. He asked me to share about my mom. I thought I could just glide by, and talk about a tough period in my life...but nooooooo. He wanted me to share about something that I struggle with daily, and an area of my heart that I have trouble fully surrendering to Him. He was asking me to be vulnerable.
A little backstory.
My mom left the church when I was young. She grew up in a Christian home, with a loving family. But at a very early age, she bought into the lie that she had to be perfect, and if she was, then she would earn Christ's love.
I don't think that lie ever left. She spent time in therapy, and developed questions and doubts about God. She wasn't getting the answers to her questions. And they were good questions too, not meaningless whining. Questions like "Why does a loving God allow pain?", "Why do I get to live in a country with SO much, while others are starving and struggling for life?".
She reached out to the church we were attending, and didn't find what she was looking for. In fact, it pushed her away even further. Any questions she had were answered with scripture, or something of the sort. While I believe that the church had the BEST intentions with that...to someone who is struggling to be heard, it's not the answer. All she needed was someone to listen.
It's easy for me to blame that specific church, and the people. BUT she made the ultimate decision to leave the church...and unfortunately, that helped seal the deal. So she is a self proclaimed agnostic.
However, my mom has never been anything but supportive of my decision to follow Christ. She's told me multiple times how she wishes she could have that happiness. It breaks my heart, because my mom points me back to Jesus more than anything in and of this world. She asks the hard questions, is not afraid to be herself, and state her opinion(for better or worse).
Because of my mom's story, I feel like I'm more perceptive to Christian pompous. What, Christians can be pompous??? Yes. It happens often.
Now, I could jump on a soapbox and write 10,000 books on my opinions on this matter, but I'll spare you, and just leave it at this:
-If you have a friend who does not know Jesus, or does....take time to JUST LISTEN. Listening holds so much power, and no one likes the person who think they have all the answers.
Which brings me to my next point...
-You don't have to have all the answers. Often times, someone just needs to hear that you struggle with the same questions they have! Then they know they are not alone/don't have to be perfect...address all the lies they believe with a simple truth. We all have questions, and doubts, no matter how long we've been walking with Jesus.
-If you speak out with your opinions, please do so in love. NOTHING will turn someone who has questions away faster than stating harsh, biting opinions on the following: politics, homosexuality, social status, pure-bread dogs...you get my point.
-Be real. My relationship with Jesus does not look like my dad's, pastor's, boss's, friend's, role model's, or drivethru worker's relationship with Jesus. So why would I try and put on a show, pretending that's how I connect with God? From experience, nothing made my relationship with Christ(and others) take a nose dive faster than that route.
Following Christ is a journey, and I'm still(sometimes reluctantly) learning. But what I've said in this post has been on my heart for a long time. I'm not telling anyone how to live, just sharing from my own experience.
Be who Christ made you to be, and you will impact some one's life who needs your own unique version of Jesus. Be real. Don't pretend to have your life together, because no one does. Let's just walk with each other, and encourage one another. Taking one step at a time towards Christ.
"I'm a forgiven person, still trying to prove that she is good enough"
I heard this quote from a dear friend of mine during a video that was shown in our serves this past weekend at GCC. It stopped me dead in my tracks. Do you ever encounter times when you feel like God is staring you in the face, speaking directly to you? Yeah, this was one of those times.
If I'm honest, I had been/still am experiencing a dry time with God. And that is no one else's fault, but my own. I wanted to sleep more than wake up and spend time with Him in the mornings. At church, I had found my niche leading worship, and was falling into the trap of thinking I could do it on my own--based on my own talents. You know, the talents that are GOD-GIVEN!!!! C'mon, Becki...didn't you grow up in the church?!
Even when I'm not in a dry place, spiritually, I still find that one of my un-ending lessons being learned is that I desperately want to be good enough. Good enough for my family, friends, bosses, co-leaders, team members, volunteers. Above everything, good enough for God.
Now, I hear myself answer already, "God believed you were good enough to die for".
I don't know that I'll ever feel good enough. That's why I search for it elsewhere. It's uncomfortable to believe that Someone loved you, knowing you would disappoint, and never be "good enough", and still chose to sacrifice His life to purchase your heart. To create hope that love exists right where you are, no matter what you've done, or will do. I know and live in that kind of love, and it still freaks me out.
All I can do is choose to accept it. Daily, maybe even by the second. And when I fall into the lie that I need to be "good enough" or earn God's love, I'll remember that He takes me as I am. Faults and all. There is nothing I can do on my own merit that would make Him love me more or less.