A bit heavy, but it’s honest. And it may come as a surprise-but I think that’s probably okay. I’ve been working through a lot of spiritual thoughts this past year…so here goes…
Maybe some of you can relate to this, but I’ve gone almost my whole life feeling like a failure of a Christian. I really believe much of this is due to growing up in a conservative, fundamentalist church setting (with good intentions) where Christianity and God were very black and white, with little flexibility or mystery. I always understood my spiritual success to be measured by an unspoken set of rules, and if I did ABCD, I’d be considered a good Christian.
This is a problem for me. I have a creative, impulsive, inconsistent personality and tend to act more on emotion and less on reasoning and rules. But I’m also a pleaser, and when I started feeling like I couldn’t keep up with the spiritual race, I created this false self that could. I knew everything about how to appear Godly- how to act, how to worship, pray, respond with the “God” answers, etc. I wanted to fit in with the Christian community, but somehow never felt good enough. Eventually this false me took over completely and I lived in it fully, deceiving even myself at times.
In this existence, I always experienced a significant amount of spiritual envy. I looked at the people around me, wondering what the secret was, how they could be experiencing God the way they were. And I lived with fear-fear that people might see right through me
And now…I’m done. The façade of “everything being great, I’ve got it together, I’m a really spiritual person, etc” is exhausting. For the first time in my life, I believe I’m experiencing freedom in Christ, freedom from guilt and freedom in who I am. I may not be as spiritually disciplined as my mom, or as eloquent when I’m praying as the person next to me, or able to always articulate what God is teaching me. My time with God might be a little unconventional, I might go through phases where I feel like an inconsistent mess, and I WILL make mistakes- but it’s okay. I’m okay.
It isn’t black and white. Just because I can’t fit into a particular box, doesn’t mean I’m a failure. I’m beginning to feel free to finally make decisions in the way I live, act, speak -because of Jesus, not because of everyone else. Accepting the reality of my brokenness is the beginning of spirituality for me because I can finally stop seeking perfection and start seeking God, who is present in the mess of my imperfection.