Tag Archives: Sin

If You Walk Into Church and Can’t Find A Sinner, You Should Probably Run

I haven’t written a blog post in a while, but as I prepare to attend my favorite blogging conference, I feel inspired.

Blogging has been a big part of my life for years. I’ve gained so much from it, and I’ve also let go of a lot as a result. I love to share my life, story and ideas, but it’s been nice to take a break too. I knew I needed one recently when I couldn’t wrap my head around living my daily life without talking about it here.

I went through a period of almost three months that was stresful and taxing, but I finally feel like I’m standing in the light at the end of the tunnel. There are things happening in my life that make me happy, and I feel a sense of relief that I’ve been craving for weeks. That has allowed me to give some thought to other things that I’ve faced lately.

If we’re connected on Instagram you may have seen a recent post in which I shared my feelings about going to church even though I’m a sinner. Here’s what I said about it:

I’ve taken some flack for being a “church-going sinner” lately, and here’s what I have to say about it: I love God, and I desire a deeper relationship with Him. I seek Him and ask Him to search my heart…to change it…I fall, and He picks me up. I fall again, and He’s still right there…waiting for me to surrender to Him. Even when I turned my back on Him, He never stopped loving me. He’s given me peace and hope, and if you’re reading this, He will do the same thing for you if you ask Him. It’s not easy, and going to church won’t make you holy. Jesus came to heal the sick because they’re the ones who needed a doctor. I don’t go to church to put in heirs about how perfect I am now; I’m not, nor do I pretend to be. I go because I need Jesus, and it’s a place to feel loved and to help me stay accountable to His will. #truth #grace #hope #HisLoveNeverFails #Luke5 #church #christians #disciples #religion #realtalk

The fact is we’re all sinners who fall short of God’s glory. Going to church doesn’t mean that we’re suddenly going to be perfect. Being a part of the worship team doesn’t mean that I’m never going to fall again. That’s not real. It’s not true. I’m weak, but God gives me strength. I sin, and He provides mercy.

Do I use God’s grace as a license to sin? I shouldn’t, but I have. I try not to, but His grace covers that too. He knows my heart. He knows when I’m seeking Him, and He knows when I’m drowning in shame. He loves me regardless.

I desire a real relationship with God, one in which He’s in control of my life and my circumstances. I don’t always act like it because I’m also selfish, and I like to be in control of everything. I love Him, and He loves me even though I often struggle to understand why.  It’s hard to surrender every aspect of my life to Him, but I’m trying (and sometimes failing and trying again.)

If you walk into a church and you can’t find a sinner, then you should probably run the other way. That’s not real. We live in a fallen world, and the the Holy Spirit is the only hope we have as we strive to live Godly lives.

I’m not perfect, and I’ve never claimed to be. Having a relationship with God doesn’t mean that I’ll never sin again. His grace just gives me hope

 

Tangled Webs, Deception and Freedom

Right now there’s a lot of controversy surrounding a popular blogger who lied about some big things. No, I’m not that blogger. (Whew!) But I used to lie a lot. I still lie sometimes. I’ve been careful not to do it on my blog, but for a long time I lied to everyone. I get it. I’m not going to write a post defending her actions, but I do feel empathy toward her.

There are things from my past that are hard to talk about..hard to think about…that caused me to make mistakes that I shouldn’t have. Most people remember bright spots in their childhood, but I remembered the bad parts for a long time. I don’t talk about those things here because they’re too private. I don’t want to relive the past. I dealt with the issues, but I had to crash first.

I hit rock bottom a few years ago. I spent over a decade pretending to be someone I wasn’t. I didn’t do it because I felt the overwhelming need to impress everyone (though there were times when that was the case.) I did it I because my formative years were excruciating in some ways, and I became conditioned to be dishonest. I took responsibility for that a long time ago.

My sister grew up in the same place I did. We saw things that kids shouldn’t have to see, and we witnessed hurts that no one should have to endure. She didn’t become a liar. In fact, she grew into the opposite while I lied enough for the both of us.

I lied to get attention at times, but most of the time I lied because I didn’t realize that I could actually be who I wanted to be. I lived in a snowball effect of self-hatred, and it was easier to pretend that I was some  sort of impressive, elitist game changer than it was to pursue a path to become a person who facilitated change. I’m in my mid-thirties and just started figuring this out a few years ago even though it should have been obvious the whole time.

In short, it’s easy to say that lying is wrong, and it definitely is. The reasons that we do it just aren’t always quite so black and white. I didn’t do it to put one over on people, nor did I do it to be impressive. I lied because I despised myself and my life. I didn’t like the person I had become, and I felt completely worthless and helpless to change any of it. 

I lied for myself. It started as my attempt at self-preservation, and it turned into a way that I could feel loved (even though it wasn’t real.) I didn’t do it to hurt other people, but I did. I hurt people I was close to, many of whom forgave me without another thought. They allowed me to rebuild their trust, and now I have stronger relationships than I ever could have imagined.

There were a few who weren’t so gracious, and I get it. There are people who don’t think that I deserve forgiveness, and I realize that I have to accept that. I forgive myself anyway. I don’t need their approval the way I once did. Thankfully, most of the people in my life have shown grace.

I think that’s one of the reasons I’m drawn to God too. We all make mistakes; we all sin. (Romans 3:23) He offers enough grace and mercy to cover us every single day. I don’t have to live in shame and unforgiveness because Jesus paid the price for every single sin before I even knew I’d commit it.

The blogger I mentioned in the beginning of this post lied, and there’s no excuse for it. I’m just saying that I feel for her because I know how hard it is to stop lying once you start. I’ve been there, and I think that if we’re all honest, we’ve all been there. She took it too far, and I’m not defending her actions.

When I lied I didn’t do it because it was fun; I did it to cover up the emptiness, loneliness, isolation, guilt, lethargy and shame that I allowed to define me. I lied to cover those things up. I figured that it was easier to falsely impress someone at least for a while than it would be to let them know me because if they knew who I really was, what would there be to like?

I was tired of feeling lonely, but I felt lonely anyway. Lying didn’t bring me closer to people. It helped to create surface relationships, but nothing lasted because I couldn’t let anyone know who I was. I hate that I wasted so many precious years trying to make everyone like me. I regret wasting so much time before realizing that I’d rather have a few friends who genuinely know me and like me than to be surrounded by people who never scratched the surface.

When I started blogging I learned that I could be myself and that people would probably still like me. When I started making friends in New Orleans, I laid everything out upfront. I told many of my friends, starting with Clint (aka The Suit) and many people at NOLA Church, that it was hard for me to be honest. I explained that it was rarely my default response, and through lots of prayer and graciousness from the people sitting on the front row of my life, I began facing the truth and putting into practice. (James 5:16-17 is pretty clear about how to handle that.)

I’m still tempted to lie sometimes pretty often. (I proved that recently when I talked about my potential to enter into an adulterous thing in a previous post.) Sometimes lying feels easier in the moment, but it gets out of control quickly.

I am so thankful that I’m no longer a slave to the self-loathing and lies that I used to allow to define my existence. I’m so thankful for God’s incredible and unwavering mercy that allows me to live in freedom every day. I’m thankful for the second chance that I received, and I sincerely hope that the popular blogger gets a second chance as well.

*****

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

Romans 7:18 

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

James 5:16-17

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9