Painting by Joey Kikke
I have been going to church my entire life. Ever since I was a child, I have never felt that I actually belonged to any of the churches that my family attended. There seemed to always have been this “inner circle” that was off-limits; this perfection that I could never quite attain.
As a child, fitting in was difficult, especially in church. I didn’t wear the same type of clothes they did, look the same way or even act the way they did. Half of me loved going to church because I loved worship and learning more about God but the other half hated it because of the people.
I carried this thought process into adulthood. I thought that I had to look and act a certain way in order to be accepted in church. I always smiled and greeted people happily, even if I was tired or had a bad day. I always tried to dress up and wear make up to feel the part. You know the adage “fake it ’til you make it”? That was the church me. It was all about faking my life to impress other people.
Then, it changed. Then, I was transparent. Then, I told my story. All at once, there was this difference. Other people came up and thanked me for talking about the reality of my situation because they didn’t feel alone now. WOW. Other people felt left out? Other people felt alone? I thought that church people were “perfect”? This was my light bulb moment.
Church is not about perfect people coming to impress other people. I totally missed the point. Church is about lost, hurt, scared, depressed, addicted, imperfect people reaching out to Jesus and living life with other people who will help lift them up.
We need to stop with all the nonsense. We, as women specifically, need to stop believing that perfection is the end goal. We need to stop living like we have it all together. We need to stop living like we don’t need help. We need to stop living like we don’t need a savior. Because, believe me, not one of us has it all together. We all struggle, we all need help, we all need each other. We all need a savior.
So, I am tired of being the problem. I am not going to fake it anymore. It is time that we, as a church, stand up and speak truth into each other’s lives; to stop pretending we are someone or somewhere that we just aren’t. Jesus came to save us as we were still sinners, in no way did he save us after we reached perfection. Why then, would we ever want to make other people feel any differently? Feel like outsiders in a “perfect”church world?
A wise man once told me, “Don’t put your faith in me, I will fail you every time. Put your faith in God.” That is what I missed. People are not to be impressed, but to be loved with honesty, truth and transparency. It’s time to genuinely live for him. It is time to be the branches.