When I was a performance based, people pleasing, pew possessing Christian, I never read my Bible. I rarely prayed. But, I wanted you to think I did. Good works and church attendance and saying the right things paved the road of good intentions ahead of me. Never cursing or having a glass of wine or talking about all the doubts I had.
Doubts? What if someone found out I secretly had doubts. I questioned things. I wondered if all the stuff I said I believed was true? Or was it some game I was playing by adhering to a set of rules and jumping through hoops.
How could this be? I could quote verses that spoke of freedom in Christ, but I felt like a prisoner. I sang songs that echoed amazing grace when I felt way less than amazing. I held back anger and frustration for years thinking I must be doing something wrong or not doing enough or maybe I was just plain screwed up.
I feared God and other people. Honestly, I feared other people more than I feared God. I feared they would figure out that I didn’t have it all together. I wasn’t as perfect as I proclaimed. That maybe, I actually needed God. A lot.
But, I didn’t know Him. I knew a lot about Him. My eternal salvation was secure, but I was miserable. And as I looked around my coveted pew, I didn’t seem to be the only one who was miserable.
I believe we preach freedom, but we live captive.
I believe we talk a lot about God, but we don’t talk to Him or listen to Him.
I believe we want our Heaven card punched, but don’t know who we are on this side of Heaven.
I realize that this message will rock the boat. Stir the pot. And ruffle some feathers.
And maybe that’s why I feel compelled to write it and share it with you. I was sick and tired of the “do good life”. It got me no where but depressed and farther from God than I’ve ever been. One day several years ago, one very lonely and dark day, I decided to show up. Naked and with nothing to offer but me. No good deeds. No performances. No money. No idea what would happen next.
What happened was a miracle of sorts. At the end of performing me, I found the real me. The one who had been hiding. The funny thing is, I really really liked her and knew her instantly. She had always been with me, but I was too busy posing to take the time to get to know her.
When I began to face my doubts, look for answers to my questions, and live in the truth of who I was, needy and desperate for Jesus Christ, only then did I begin to experience freedom and amazing grace and joy as the real me. I didn’t need God until I came to the end of the self who was playing god.
But when I let go of the ropes that held me captive consisting of good works, performing, and self-dependency, I discovered grace for the very first time. Instead of falling from grace, I landed in a huge sea of grace. Overwhelming and intoxicating grace.
**Stay tuned for part two of this message. If you don’t want to miss it, subscribe to my blog by email. You can do this by typing your email into the box in the upper right corner of this page.