in the dirt

Some, if not most, of life’s most pivotal moments happen without an audience. No one to see. No one to listen, care or applaud. A life completely wrecked, transformed, and the world keeps spinning. The moment passes. Life goes on, forever impacted.

These moments, invisible earthquakes of the heart, leave one feeling alone staring at the rubble of their life, wondering what it looks like to rebuild. You live in the invisible wreckage. Meanwhile, there’s a world full of people oblivious to the natural disaster of the heart.

But one sees. One knows. One is there in the dirt where you stand.


Last year I spent months reliving the past, feeling entirely unknown in the silent earthquakes of my own life. It ate at me to know that no one would ever live those moments and understand the implications. No one saw the moments that shaped me, the moments that made me who I am now.

I poured this out to a friend who prayed a Spirit-prayer about how God was WITH me in the darkest moments of my past. He was WITH me in the dirt.  Not just looking down on me from above, but holding me in the mess, wiping the tears, promising hope. These Truths washed the gift of Immanuel over me in an entirely new way.

Realizing Jesus was in those moments, seeing me, feeling what I felt, changed the weight of them. Suddenly I didn’t carry the memories alone. I wasn’t alone then for His eyes were upon me. His eyes are upon you too.


He is there in the dust as you cut your flesh deep and the unspoken pain runs red into His pierced hands.

He sits in the dust with you as you frantically try to pick up pieces of your broken heart worrying someone will see you shattered. Someone will know who you really are.

When you just want to disappear He is with you seeing you for all you are and all you will become.

He stands under the dark cloud of depression with you, providing comfort you can’t ask for, light when you can’t see.

When Loneliness and his friends seem to be your only companions, He is with you. Your truest friend.

He lays beside you as fear runs a marathon in your mind. With you in every heavy breath. Every sleepless night.

He picks you up from the dirt, declaring it enough, when it’s gone too far. He won’t let you stay in the dirt longer than you can bear.

He stands strong in the wake of tragedy, loss and trauma. Your firm foundation.

When you are left behind, everyone running ahead into new adventures, He stays to run your race with you. Promising adventures for you too.

When you are covered in the dirt of self-hate, He shows up with clean water to wash it all away and show you who you are underneath.

He shields you in the storms of change, so that you can still see His face, His constancy through it all. And when the dust settles, He will be there to rebuild and show you the way through your new terrain.

He sees you as your desires, the secret ones you hold close, sift through your fingers, turning to dirt beneath your feet. He is there to remind you what can grow in the dirt. He reminds you of the beauty that comes from ashes and the streams flowing in the deserts.


I don’t know what your dirt is, where you find yourself sitting, but He does. He knows because He is right there WITH you. Patient. Gentle. Constant.

He was there in the dirt where you stood. And He is still there in whatever dirt you now stand in. He is WITH you always, the dirtiest King you will ever see, all for the sake of your heart.


HERE AND NOW

by United Pursuit

when your faith in perfect love
can’t explain the pain that you feel,
you will find you’ve looked for a sign up above
but he was there in the dirt where you stood

and there’s hope found
here and now, here within the real
in the midst of all we’ve done
all we’ve given up on
he was with us every step
feeling what we feel
when your soul was buried down
burden by the long road

and in time we will learn to grow
through and pain and into hope
for the storms they come
and swallow up the sun
but the light lives on and on

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Immanuel

In seasons of waiting one of our first responses is to doubt God. Doubt His hand in things, His nature, His very presence. We wait and wait and wait for Him to show up. We wait for Him to show up in illness, grief, unmet expectations, failure, change and so much more. And when He doesn’t we are quick to ask, “Where are you, Lord?” We grumble, get angry and lose hope. Our worlds come crashing down when, in waiting for our Lord, it feels like He will never come.

In these times, there is Truth to be spoken over every weary heart in waiting: Immanuel. That is the Truth we all need when waiting for our Savior. Immanuel, God With Us.

It is in remembering His with-ness that we realize the One we are waiting for has already come. The One whose presence we are both doubting and longing for is whispering gently, “I am here. Where are you? I am with you. Are you with me?”

In a painful diagnosis, I am WITH you. In loss too great for words, I am WITH you. In big moves and lost jobs, I am WITH you. In failures and friendlessness, I am WITH you. In every disappointment, every unmet desire, I am WITH you. It’s who I am. Immanuel, God WITH you.

It is not about waiting for the Lord to show up. He already has. It’s about looking around, looking up, getting on our knees in the dirt, to find Him in this place, wherever “this” place may be.

When we stop waiting for Jesus our Savior to come, we free up space to see Him in our midst. Then, and only then, will we be able to say with full confidence, just as Jacob did, “Surely the LORD is in this place” (Genesis 28:16).

Throughout this Advent season and all of our lives, may we long not for the coming Savior, but for Immanuel, the Savior who has already come and dwells with us.

 

seasons of wintery waiting

I am fascinated by changing seasons. I love watching the trees go from green to orange before falling off and then budding anew. I love seasons in the world around me, but I have always disliked the changing of seasons within me. I like constants. I like knowns. But in life, we don’t get the privilege of knowing the seasons end or the seasons ahead. We live in the waiting, the unknowns feeling like our only constant.

Right now I am knee deep in the waiting, the wondering, the constant unknowns, the unpredictability of the future. Seasons with people are shifting. The season of my heart is changing. The blueprint of seasons ahead are locked tight. It all looks and feels as bleak as a January morning. Maybe you are in the same place…


Maybe you are waiting for your miracle after watching friend after friend experience theirs and you’re wondering why them? Why not me?

Maybe healing — emotional, physical, spiritual — is what you’re waiting for and you can’t help but ask how much longer?

Maybe you’re waiting to feel something again, for the fog of depression or grief to lift, so you can see the world again.

Maybe you’re waiting for the day when you can love yourself for real and not wear a smiling mask to hide the brokenness below.

Maybe you’re waiting for someone to notice you, notice your pain, your past, your very presence and as you wait you start believing you aren’t worth waiting for.

Maybe you are anxiously waiting for a phone call, a next step, a sign in the sky, anything to point you towards your purpose and you are getting frustrated.

Maybe you’re waiting to understand, waiting for your life, your circumstances and experiences to make sense. Waiting to see the good in it all, in hopes that then your hurt and anger will go away.

Maybe you don’t know what you’re waiting for, but you feel the weight of it anyway.


The question I’ve been throwing around lately is this — what do we do in seasons of waiting, seasons of winter?

I’ll tell you what I do. I doubt. I get discouraged. I feel hurt or angry. I try to do something, anything to fill the winter and speed up the waiting. I get impatient and contentment escapes me. Perhaps you do the same.

As I did all of these things listed above in the span of a prayer, the Holy Spirit did His thing — His gentle, earth-shattering thing — and whispered words like warm breath to frosty fingers. REMEMBER. Remember. remember. 

Remember My word. Remember My presence. Remember all of my faithfulness to you. Remember all of my truth for you. Remember who I am. 

With these words came a picture of trees, barren in the height of winter. Surrounded by snow, no spring in sight. In that state, do they doubt that spring will come? Do they question the timing of their creator? Do they live in fear, forgetting the harvest they just had? No, no they remember. They remember the fulfillment of the harvest. They remember the spring joy. They remember the summer freedom. They recognize winters importance, yet know it will not last.

Trees remember, so they wait. They wait all winter, saving their energy, for the spring growth that is to come. And it is in their waiting that they are prepared for the coming seasons. They don’t know when, but they trust and they wait.


For in the wintery waiting one thing holds true — the spring WILL come. It always does. And when spring finally comes your winter, your waiting, will make sense in the light of God’s glory.

God is the God of seasons — ALL seasons. Meaning He is as much the God of spring as of winter. Know that your waiting does not go unnoticed. He will come through, the sun will melt the snow, things will bloom again.

But in the meantime, you and I must dare believe that God knows what we need in THIS season. We must trust that His timing is better than our own and that He is still working, even in the wintery waiting.

Often times it’s in the seasons of waiting, of nothingness, surrounded by endless snow, that we are able to see the hand of God most vividly. He stands out amidst the barren winter background. And we are forced to face Him — shivering, uncertain, fearful — but face to face with our Father. And is there truly any safer, sweeter place to be?


These words won’t expedite the spring. They won’t change where you are. They certainly haven’t changed where I am. But they have reminded me to remember.

And in remembering I have come face to face again with the person of Jesus Christ — the unchanging, constant, faithful friend in every season I have walked through.

Remembering Him doesn’t change where I am, but it changes WHO I am in this place.

I pray remembering Him, His face, His character, His warmth, changes who you are in your season of wintery waiting.


I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27:13-14

mountains among skyscrapers

 

Walking the streets of Santiago with the hustle and bustle of millions of people. The air heavy. Cigarette smoke lingers. Voices, music, cars sound all around. Eyes down, thoughts all over the place, I block it all out. I walk with purpose, on a mission to catch the metro to continue the mundane, until I’m stopped at the corner. I hear myself audibly gasp. A smile spreads and I laugh aloud as I look up, as I look before me.

There they are. The mountains. The Andes. They stand before me, peeking between skyscrapers and above buildings. There they are in all their glory just like usual, but this encounter is different. This encounter changes me.


As I stood on that street corner, the Holy Spirit spoke boldly. The lesson learned, pondered, taught, nearly forgotten, but recently remembered. Full circle you could say.

The lesson was simple: I AM WITH YOU. The picture was breathtaking: the mountains among skyscrapers. The importance was more than I could have known or understood in that moment.


With my eyes lifted, a goofy grin on my face, I knew the truth. The buildings stand tall, but the mountains stand taller. The skyscrapers loom, but the mountains are still present. My fear, my uncertainty, my inadequacy rise to the heights of the Costenera Center. Anxiety and unknowns grow until I can’t see anything else, until lifting my gaze above them is too much. But there they are, those mountains, waiting to be seen. Amidst the chaos of the city, the Andes stand firm, unchanging. Amidst my overwhelming thoughts, God stands. Just like the mountains, He stands unchanging. He stands with me.

Fear grows, but the Lord makes His presence known. Commitments take over, but He is unmoved. Unknowns remain unknown, but He makes Himself known. Uncertainty addicts, but He refuses to give us up. Life overwhelms, but He surrounds with provision and protection. Everything is too much, but His “with-ness” is enough.


“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forevermore.” Psalm 125:2

This verse and the picture of the mountains among the skyscrapers all scream this one truth to my forgetful soul: He is WITH me. He is Immanuel. He is GOD with us. It’s who He is.

As the Andes surround Santiago on every side, so does the Lord surround me, so does the Lord surround you.

There will be rooftops moments where the mountains clearly surround like the walls of Jerusalem and our souls rest, in unmistakably seeing their presence, and sometimes all we get is a glimpse of them between buildings. But no matter the moment, no matter the time, the mountains are there. They never change, never move. They’re constant. What changes is our posture. Are we looking up or down? Are we looking around, walking blindly by? To see the Andes around Santiago one has to look up. One has to choose a different posture, that of expectancy. We can always expect to see Him. We should always look up, ahead, between. It is only when we change our gaze to the steady, the unmoving, the Mountain in our midst, that the breakneck speed world turns slow and finally our souls can rest. For when we know the Presence before us, we know the One WITH us.


Despite seeing from the rooftop, I somehow forgot about the mountains, about their faithful presence despite the buildings in the way. I forgot about THE Mountain, the One that is bigger than all of my distractions and uncertainty. But a truth-telling friend reminded me, “When the distractions, the seemingly impossible tasks, the skyscrapers of life start to cloud our view, we are reminded of the mountains; never moving, never changing, never faltering. Just like those mountains, my God never leaves me, never changes, and is always WITH us. Remember THE Mountain, the Mountain forever WITH us.”

I’ll remind you and me now. Whether your view is from the rooftop or the streets below, your surroundings, the mountains, our God, remain the same.  We change. He does not. We move. He does not. We are easily distracted. He is always present. He dwells within and without. He is the Mountain among our skyscrapers. He is God WITH us.

 

 

not the only but the best

When things seem hopeless, we pray. When life is out of control, we pray. When we feel helpless, we pray. When we’re thousands of miles away, physically separated and unable to do anything, we pray. When souls seem lost to us, we pray. When life and health are on the line, we pray. We pray because it’s the only thing we can do.

People of all kinds persecuted for all things. We pray. Loved ones living in darkness, us helpless to reach their hearts. So we pray. People fighting injustice, being the voice, for those who can’t. We pray. Friends grapple with dangerous inner demons. And we pray. Families experience loss and heartache. We pray. The news plays and we feel small, unable to curb the violence and hate. We pray. Strangers across the globe are being bombed out of existence, forced into a rubble grave. And we pray.

Prayer is often viewed as a last resort, a back up plan, what we turn to when all else fails.

In many cases prayer is the only option we have, but what if it’s more than that?

What if prayer was not only the only thing you could do, but also the BEST thing you could do?

That’s exactly what prayer is – the very best thing you could ever do. All that has to happen is a shift in focus, a healthy dose of humility, a realigning with His heart, a surrender to stillness, a commitment to stop doing and start listening.

If we find ourselves busy on our feet more than still on our knees, then fear and doubt have overtaken. If we try everything in our own power before tapping into His, then we have our priorities all wrong. If prayer is not our first response, then pride must be. If prayer has become a back up, then we have become our very own god, we have taken a place we can never fill.

So let’s step down from that place we were never meant to hold. Let’s kneel still and long. Let’s lift voices to Him in desperation, in helplessness, in humility, in praise. Let’s reach hands towards His throne of grace, the place that allows us to both give and receive that very same grace. Let’s pray and expect His presence, His undivided attention. Let’s pray for when we pray we enter that thin place where heaven meets earth and we truly see. Let’s open our hands, our hearts, to so much more of Him.

Because here’s the truth – prayer is not the only thing we can do. It is the BEST thing we can do. Prayer is not a last resort, but our weapon of choice. Prayer is not the back up plan, but our go to. Prayer is our defense against lies and our line of communication with our Father. Prayer is the oldest, most underrated trick in the book. Prayer is powerful, never changing. Constant as the sun rise. Prayer brings us back to humble communion, equips us to keep living and loving. Prayer prepares us to change the world in His name.

Let’s stop doing and humble ourselves to pray. Because when we pray, we not only do the only thing, we actually do the very BEST thing.

 

The Comparison Trap

Guest writer: Audrey Davis

Comparison is something knit into our sin nature, but through the power of the Spirit we can gain FREEDOM. My dear friend Audrey learned an awful lot about comparison in her summer of some serious boldness and she has thankfully agreed to share what the Lord has taught her. It’s such an honor and privilege to have heard these lessons on comparison (and many more) from Audrey and I’m grateful you get to learn from her too! 

Comparison. We’ve all experienced it. If you’re anything like me, you’re very familiar with it. It happens in the blink of an eye. It’s ever so subtle, so that at first we don’t even realize we’re doing it.  Then before we know it comparison has consumed our thoughts.

The Lord has surely done a number in my heart this summer. He has humbled me, revealed himself to me, brought me near to him, and shown me little glimpses of what He intended life to be like. But of all things he has taught me this summer, the one that stands out among the rest is a lesson in comparison.

Comparison is:

  1. A lie from the enemy.

Satan is a liar. When comparison fills your thoughts, it tends to cloud things, making it hard to see the truth. When you compare yourself to others, know that it is not from God. Jesus is a truth-teller. Jesus is life giving. Comparison is NOT life giving. I think Satan has us convinced that life is a zero-sum game. That if someone else experiences a win, then it must mean that I have experienced a loss. That if someone else is praised, then it must mean that I have failed. That if someone else receives a compliment, then it must mean that I am not good enough. My friends, this is a lie. There is no room for this in the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is a positive-sum game. When my brother or sister in Christ experiences a win, I also win.

  1. A thief of joy.

I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before, but it’s 100% true. Comparison can diminish joy in an instant. One moment you can be confident in who you are, and the next you can be listing off all the ways in which you don’t measure up. We’re left sitting in a puddle of insecurity and doubt. So we try to change ourselves to be more like celebrities, our classmates, or our friends. And what for? So that we can be less than God created us to be? He didn’t make a mistake when He made you. Don’t settle for being a second-rate version of someone else when you can be a first-rate version of yourself.

  1. A choice.

Satan is a tempter. He tempts you and I every day. He even tempted Jesus. Whenever Satan tempts you to compare yourself to others and see how you stack up, it takes a deliberate, conscious decision to say no to that. But the good news is that YOU get to choose which voice is going to be louder. You get to choose if you’re going to believe lies or truth. You get to silence those lies by calling on the name of Jesus (whether that looks like worship, prayer, opening your Bible, or simply loving on a person). The choice ultimately is yours. Don’t let Satan tell you differently.

  1. Centered around me, and not around Christ.

Comparison often stems from a place of low self-esteem.

It comes from the belief that “I am not good enough.”

This lie manifests itself in many different ways.

Maybe for you it sounds like this:

“I am not smart enough to be a doctor/teacher/minister.”

“I am not pretty/attractive enough.”

“I am not spiritual enough.”

“I am not thin enough.”

And do you know what those statements lead to? They lead to a nasty trail of jealousy and comparison. Those statements turn into this (fill in the blank):

“I am not as smart as _________________.”

“I am not as pretty/attractive as _________________.”

“I am not as spiritual as __________________.”

“I am not as thin as _______________.”

The problem with each of these statements? They all start with “I.” They automatically put the focus on myself and not on God. They find every little thing that is wrong with me and magnify it by ten. The equation is simple, really:

Low self-esteem = High self-focus

My mind was blown when a dear friend and mentor shared this statement with me. For the first time in my life, I realized that my low self-esteem was directly correlated to a level of self-centeredness. It’s a tough pill to swallow. Amidst my tears and struggles in that moment, she assured me that God, when he humbles us, does so ever so gently. He does not condemn us, but rather he in his great love invites us into his grace. She also assured me that one could be healed from this disease called pride. All you have to do is simply turn your gaze heavenward. Stop dwelling on all the ways in which you think that you are not enough, and look at all the ways in that He IS enough. Take a moment to stop focusing on self and instead focus on the One deserving of your attention. When you do this, you are free from worry and you are free to listen.  And if you listen, and I mean truly listen, I think we can hear God saying this back to us:

My Dearest _________________,

Why do you compare yourself to others? Why do you wear yourself out trying to see how you stack up to everyone else? Don’t you know that I made you to be YOU? Why are you letting jealousy take root?
Your value does not lie in your abilities. It doesn’t lie in what kind of grades you get. It doesn’t lie in how many likes you get on Instagram. It doesn’t lie in others opinion of you. It doesn’t lie in how many times you’ve failed. And it doesn’t lie in how many times you go to church.

Your value lies in the Jesus in you.

So do not worry so much. You are good enough. You are adequate enough. And when you fail, I am there. Where you lack, I will give you strength. I will get glory, even in your weaknesses. Trust me.

Know this:

You are fully loved.

You are mine.

You are valuable & incomparable to me.

I would do anything for you.

 Because that’s who I AM.  A good, good Father. The world doesn’t get that, and you are going to be constantly tempted to compare yourself, my child. But remember, your value doesn’t lie in your abilities. It doesn’t lie in your beauty (which is immeasurable, by the way). It doesn’t lie in who the world tells you you are.

Your value lies in who I say you are.

And I say this:

You are fully loved.

You are mine.  

You are valuable & incomparable to me.

I would do anything for you.

Love,

Your Heavenly Father

_________________________________________________________________

One of my close friends pointed out to me that I’m really good at preaching this message to others, but I’m not so good at believing this about myself. It’s easy for me to see others for who they are in Christ, and not what they believe about themselves or who the world tells them they are. I decided it was time to start practicing what I preach. And do you know what I found?

Freedom.

Freedom from my fears of not being enough. Free from my fears of being disliked. Free from all the lies that the enemy tries to convince me of. Free from the lie that if people knew me fully, then they couldn’t possibly love me. Free from the self-condemnation that comes along with comparison. Free from being so focused on myself. Once I was free from these things, I became free to believe other things.  Free to like myself for the way God created me. Free to trust that he made me on purpose and for purpose. Free to rest in his unending truths. Free to focus less on myself and more on Him. Free to be both fully known and fully loved. Free to see myself the way that he sees me.

My prayer for you today is that you would have the strength and courage to say YES to freedom and begin to see yourself the way God sees you.

A letter to my brothers…

To my brothers by blood and my brothers in Christ,

You might be wondering right about now, why on earth I’m writing to guys when my blog name is clearly brave GIRL living. But girls aren’t the only ones who need encouragement and truth. Nor are guys the only ones that need to read this article. The reality is we, girls and guys alike, live in the same world and have the same sin and the same Savior. Sin manifests itself differently in everyone, but there are fundamentals that we all need to hear. With that being said, I want to tell you a few things I believe are very important and I hope you listen.

You were made for more.

One little boy I know grows up as we speak wanting nothing more than to be a dad someday, because his five-year-old self sees that as the most honorable of tasks. And you too once had big dreams honor and glory. You grew up believing you would one day fight dragons and save lives. You watched battle scenes on TV and tried to recreate them, to be as fast and courageous as the cowboy and the pirate. You read stories of men who did brave things and saved countries. You heard about people who made discoveries that changed the course of history and you wanted to be like them. You read about great adventures and you dreamed up some of your own. You grew up wanting to be a policeman or firefighter or soldier or cowboy or even president. And you really believed you would be any or all of those things someday, because you believed the truth that you were made for more.

So what happened?

You were made for more than peer pressure and fickle friendships. You were made for more than nights in a bar and mornings with a hangover. You were made for more than cussing and crude jokes. More than your “coolness” factor and your friend group. You were made for more than sex and physical pleasure. More than parties and make out sessions and hookups. You were made for more than lusting for what you cannot or should not have. You were made for more than power and control. More than money and a title to fame. More than the sports you play or the weight you can lift.

You were made for more, because you are more. You are made in the image of the epitome of More. You are not just capable of more, but you were created, hand crafted and set aside for more. But not more money, pleasure and power. No, instead for more Jesus, more of the Holy Spirit, more of your Creator.

You were really made for more courage and kindness. More generosity and gentleness. More patience and perseverance. More respect and faithfulness. More determination to do hard things. You were made for more, but a different kind of more than the world advertises.

We live in a world, where casual sex looks like fun and lust looks like love, but you were made for real love. The all in, no matter the consequences, faithful through thick and thin, Jesus kind of love. The kind of love that fights for what is true, good and beautiful. The real kind of love that is forever and therefore is messy and hard. You were made for more than the typical definition of love, which says love is conditional and based on feeling.You were made for more than that kind of love. You were made for His love.

And yes, I know, His love is not the “cool” kind. It probably won’t win you any points by the world, but it’ll win you the most lasting reward you could dream of.

We live in a world where you are under constant pressure. Girls aren’t the only ones who are trying to be good enough. You feel it too. You feel the pressure to perform, the need to be good-looking and strong and popular and smart and successful and wealthy and accepted. So you drink and you cuss and you party and sleep around and in your vulnerability you take advantage of ours. You seek answers in all the wrong places and all the wrong people. You strive to be enough any way you can, because the world tells you, just like it tells us, that you are not enough as you are. And you eventually get stuck in a rut and feel hopeless and start believing that this is all you were made for.

But the world is the worst kind of wrong about you. 

You were made for more than all of that. When you were little thinking you would fight battles someday, you were right. You are fighting a battle right now. A battle for Christ and the Kingdom to take back what the enemy has stolen. A battle to reclaim your inheritance as a child of God. A battle to reclaim who you are and what you were made for. You’re fighting the real battle. The battle we all fight, men and women, young and old. The battle between the bad guys and the God guys. You were made to fight you just have to decide which team you’re fighting for.

I pray, dear God I pray, you choose the God guy. 

And once you choose the God guy, I pray you choose Him everyday for the rest of your life, because He’s chosen you everyday from the beginning of time. He chose you on the cross and at the resurrection. He declares you a chosen man set aside as His own possession, so that you may proclaim the glory of Him who called you out of darkness, out of the world, into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). The God guy chose you, adopted you as His very own son, and desires you to be holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:4-5). He has created you like Himself and wants you to walk out of that identity.

Your identity is more.

Your identity is more humility and less pride. More grace and less judgement. More grit and less timidity. More hard Jesus things and less comfort. More friendship and less rivalry. More sacrifice and less self. More Jesus and less world. Your identity is in Jesus. Let that be enough.

Brothers, you were made for more than the world lets on. So get up and fight for the God guy.

Sincerely, your sister in Christ

 

 

 

 

thank you for not being perfect

Perfect daughter, sister, friend. Perfect student, dancer and artist. Perfect body, face, clothes. Perfect christian, perfect life. Altogether perfect. That’s what I thought I needed. Perfection, the unattainable goal, the unspoken expectation.

Perfect so people will like you. Perfect so you can live with yourself. Perfect so God will love you. Perfect. Just be perfect. 

The whispers turn into screams. The desire an expectation. Before you know it the striving has overtaken. Yet you fail at every turn.

Perfect so people will like you. Perfect so people will want to be your friend. Perfect so people will love and accept you. Perfect so guys will like you. Perfect so a team will want you. Perfect so you’ll be successful. Perfect. Just be perfect. 

I saw perfection in people around me. That’s all that was shown, all I had could see. Perfect lives and legs. Perfect scores and successes. But, like most people, I could only see imperfections in myself. I saw that people tend to like people similar to themselves. So I subconsciously decided from a young age that people would only like me if I was perfect like them.

Perfect so you will like yourself. Perfect so you can sleep at night. Perfect so you can stand tall and not cower in shame. Perfect to avoid having to beat yourself up for your many failures. Perfect. Just be perfect.

I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that one could love them self after and despite failure. I couldn’t possibly like myself if I wasn’t pretty and smart and talented and perfect in every way. My self-set expectations  meant to lead me to perfection loomed higher and higher with each passing day. But the more I looked up at them, the faster I fell, the further I failed. I could never live up to myself.

Perfect so God will like you. Perfect so He will choose you and use you. Perfect so He will love you. Perfect. Just be perfect. 

God is perfect. I’m supposed to be like Him. So shouldn’t I be perfect?  Perfectly kind, gracious, joyful and strong. Perfectly patient and loving and put together. That’s what God wants, right? Anything less is a disgrace, a disappointment to Him.

These are thoughts you may have. Lies you may believe. Actually, let’s be real, they’re lies you do believe. But I have some Truth for you. Truth for me. For all of us.

You were not made to be perfect. You were made to glorify God and love Him forever. If you were perfect you would have no need for a perfect Savior. You are not expected to be perfect. God knows that your flesh is strong and you will fail. He knows and that’s why He bestows grace upon you, upon us all. Perfection is not a prerequisite for His love or attention. Our Father loves us in our imperfections. He uses us in them.

Last week, when wrestling with my own perfectionism and my fear and discouragement at my inability to be perfect, my therapist spoke some freeing Truth.

“God doesn’t send perfect people, because perfect people aren’t helpful people. Perfect people are scary people because others can’t relate, can’t understand. Perfect people cause others to stumble, to feel like they’re doing it wrong, they’re not enough. Do you want people to feel that way? No. Of course not. Imperfect is better. Unqualified and imperfect, but empowered and sent is better than perfect.” 

Woah. Amen. Yes. Wow. All the praise hands to that TRUTH. Imperfect is better than perfect.

Look through the Bible. Does God ever use one perfect human? David. Adulterer and murderer. Jonah. Hid from God. Thought he was better than the Ninevites.  Moses. Didn’t believe God could use him. Paul. Persecuted Christians. Esther. Faced fear and doubt. Peter. Proud. Denied Jesus three times. And the list could go on and on. But name one person in the Bible saved by grace and living for the Lord, that was not used. Name one person that was perfect. You can’t, because they are all imperfect. But they were all perfectly used, perfectly loved.

You see God chooses the broken, the failures, the flawed and scarred because those are the people, we are the people, who are needed. We don’t need more synthetic perfection in the world. We need more authentic Jesus-lovers. We don’t need more people who are going to cause others to feel like they’re not good enough. We need more people who will look past each others failures and into eyes and say, “You are magnificent.” More people who will live unashamedly in their imperfections, knowing that Christ made them perfect on the cross. That is what the world needs.

You and I think we want to be perfect. We think that perfection is best. But I’d rather be imperfect in the hands of a perfect God any day.

Loosen your grip on perfection. Lower your expectations. Let your mask fall. Let people in. You’ll find that they’re imperfect just like you.

So thank you for not being perfect. Thank  you for failing and falling down. Thank you for making mistakes and messing up. Thank you for sinning and repenting and asking for forgiveness. Thank you for not being awesome at everything. Thank you for sharing your imperfections and letting others love you despite them. Thank you for having bad days and letting people see those days. Thank you for being imperfect.

searching for a savior

Some days the world just really hits us in the gut. Every picture, every news title, every thing media related. It all screams of anger, greed, judgement and injustice. It’s all coated in depravity and sin. And it’s everywhere. You cannot escape it. You cannot hide from it. It’s everywhere. We live in a fallen world. We live in a world that is depraved, because it’s desperate. It’s desperate for a savior.

The world and everyone in it is on a perpetual search for something to save them. I see it everyday. I see it in myself, my friends and family and every human on this planet. We search and search for something to fulfill us. We turn to fame and power to make us feel loved, alive, in control. We turn to money as the answer to all of our problems. We look to drugs as the magic pill and alcohol as the only means to having fun. We sleep around in search of someone who will fulfill us intimately, someone who will save us. We look to food and exercise to numb, to cope, to fit in. We search for a savior in friends and partying, in more clothes, newer technology, a bigger house, nicer stuff, a better job, thinner legs, more likes. And when this search inevitably leads us nowhere we, the world, get more desperate.

The world is both desperate enough and lost enough in it’s search for a savior that it has turned to heartbreaking crimes against each other, against all things good and beautiful, against God Himself. The world is desperate enough to sell young girls for sex. Desperate enough to sell tiny babies as nothing more than “parts.” It’s desperate enough to kill people simply because they’re a different color. Desperate enough to bomb buildings and murder thousands. It’s desperate enough to defile sex into a perverted, demeaning, relationship-killing industry. Desperate enough in it’s search for a savior to worship all that is evil and the evil one himself. The world is desperate indeed. Desperate enough to participate in these kinds of things, yet not quite desperate enough, and far too stubborn, to turn to the Savior that already came.

It’s easy to be depressed by the state of the world, the state of man, the state of ourselves, but as Christians we cannot afford to live paralyzed by sin. We cannot afford to cease hoping, cease living like Jesus. We cannot afford to stop praying for His Kingdom to come. We cannot afford to forget that He has already won, He has already crushed the head of the serpent with His heel. He has already overcome the world and all of the desperate actions it has taken and will take.

So we don’t lose hope. Instead we choose to pray that man would continue to search. That he would search to the ends of the earth if he has to until he discovers that the Savior has been here all along. We pray that he would search the world until he realizes that there is nothing of this world that can save him, for Christ is not of this world. We do not pray that the world’s desperation would cease, but instead that it would become more desperate. We need to pray that the world would become desperate enough to stop the violence and choose to love. Desperate enough to quit pornography and pre-marital sex and commit to God honoring marriage. Desperate enough to choose love over hate and mercy over judgement. Desperate enough to make the hard choices that go against the grain. Desperate enough to turn from evil and cling to the One who is good.

I pray that our desperation would lead us to Christ, instead of away. I pray that our search for a savior would reveal the truth that only Jesus Christ, the Savior of all the world, can save us. He is the Savior that the world is searching for.


I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  John 16:33