I had a difficult winter. It was too long. Too cold. Too dark. Thankfully, the sun has re-appeared, even if the warmer spring temperatures haven’t returned with regularity yet. But they are coming, I hope. Sooner rather than later would be good.
As I struggled through this past winter I had my usual January blahs that extended into a February funk. I was emotional, crying with the stress of even getting the kids out the door in the morning. An eating plan that I hoped to adopt became too much of a challenge and I didn’t even want to step on the scale. I changed my hair according my usual post-Christmas custom. I had trouble concentrating and I felt like I couldn’t get anything finished. Anything I did try felt sub-par and benign. Basically, I wanted to hibernate.
Regardless to say, it was not a good season.
I wanted this year to be different. I wanted “More” (see post from January 2nd). I believe that when I make a statement about wanting more that I can draw some enemy activity. You may not believe that and it is okay. But I do. I believe that the enemy does not like it when I try to make a stand. So I get some resistance. And it is oppressive.
I read a book from a author who is new to me. I actually found out about her when I started watching a home-rend show called “Big Family Reno”. The wife’s name is Jen Hatmaker and she is a pastor’s wife from Austin, Texas. Watching the show lead me to reading her blog which lead me to ordering one of her books. It is called “Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity”.
Yes, I suppose grabbing a book with a title like that when I was already a little less than content is like pouring gasoline on a fire. It does not help. But I’m not sure I wanted help to feel better. I want to BE better. I want to BE different. And this book is definitely doing that.
I have become very aware of social standing. Maybe because I don’t have a lot. Our family is on the lower end of average Canadian income. We definitely don’t have the average number of children in a Canadian family. Statistics Canada reports that the average number of children in a family was 1.1 according to the 2011 Census. That is not us. We don’t have our children enrolled in numerous after school programming. I am not the type of woman who has a perfect manicure at all times. I can’t even remember when I last had one. Maybe my wedding 15 years ago. My hair is its natural (greying) colour. I am a kind of “take me as you find me” kind of person. And that makes me different.
There is a tendency, at least in the circles I often travel in, to only allow people to see the best in me. To keep my insecurities, my imperfections, my true self hidden. Not to show any vulnerability. To put my best foot forward. It might be my age. Women my age want everyone to think that they have it all together even if they don’t. Between the challenges of older kids, aging parents and often balancing work and home, life is difficult but I can’t show it except to my very closest friend or my husband.
The author of the book, Jen Hatmaker, suggested that I need to allow myself to be vulnerable so that others can see Jesus through me. And I think she is onto something. While church is important, being able to connect, really connect with someone will speak a great deal more about real-life faith. Not shiny, rehearsed concert-worthy worship faith. Not messages so inspired that they should be written into a book faith. Just simple stories of my fragmented life being held together daily by my Father God. Testimonies about the God who is big enough to control it, even when I simply can’t. Tried and tested faith. Unshakeable faith.
It is important to live my faith. I recently heard a quote from the new movie “Do You Believe”. It intrigued me. The quote was:
If someone ever accused you of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
I think it is an interesting question. There have been times in my life when I haven’t wanted others to know that I am a Christian. Christians have sometimes had a bad reputation and I didn’t want to seem like them. But as I spend more and more time in this life, I realize that my relationship with Jesus is the most satisfy relationship I have.
It is like marriage. If you were to get to know me, really know me, you would hear me talk about my husband. Pete would be disappointed if suddenly he met a good friend of mine who was shocked that I was married because I never spoke about him. I don’t mean complaining about his dirty socks on the floor or how he always bad-mouths me to his mother (which, by the way, he doesn’t do either). I don’t mean trying to make everyone jealous because I have the best husband in the world (but he is the perfect one for me). I mean speaking about how my life is different because of him. Better.
I think Jesus would feel the same. If my relationship with Him was so important to me, people around me should know about it. And I want it to show.
Let’s face it. Maybe some people might be attracted to people who look like their lives are perfect. I’m not. People like that remind me how imperfect I am. How messed up my life is. I like seeing how others truly get through all life’s unexpected moments. Like miscarriage, the premature death of a loved one, unemployment, an unfaithful spouse, or rebellious children. Things we never expect but that we are sometimes dealt.
My desire is that all the stuff in my life will reveal Jesus to someone who might never darken the doorway of a church. That I could be accused and convicted of being a Christian. I don’t want to settle for anything less.