Anybody else feel like they suck at this Christianity thing? I constantly feel like I don’t measure up or like I’m not good enough, like the term “Christian” is too much for me, too much to live up to, like I don’t fill the shoes quite enough. My journey usually looks like 2 steps forward, 5 steps back, a roller coaster if you will. And yes, there is tears (If you know me even slightly, you know this already). If I can be completely honest, it’s a struggle to do what is right, and I live in constant fear that I am a screw up. It’s a constant comparison trip into shame city asking myself how other people can be such good Christians while I completely stink at it. No lie y’all…this is me talking to myself every day: “Gosh, why did I say that?” “Ay patsy, you’re so dumb”, “I shouldn’t have talked to my kids like that”, “Patsy.. be nice” “Oh screw it, she started it.” “Do not text him. I repeat do not text him.” “Dang it, I give in so easy.” “This is my last glass of wine I promise”, “Ok, I’ll start over tomorrow.” “Ok, for real, today I will read the bible 30 minutes” “Ok, for real, tonight I will not fall asleep while I pray before bed” “I will not have that donut” “When will I learn?” “I’m a horrible person” “I need another 3 hour power nap” “Oh well, it is what it is” “She better not look at me like that” “Try me booboo” “Omg, I need to stop”, “Nombre te pasas, Patsy” “Mrs. Patsy Tebow, sounds nice”, “Lord, can I just be a missionary/writer/millionaire and I promise not to ever ask for anything ever again in my life… except for maybe Tim Tebow”, “Let me google this verse because I have no idea where it is in the bible(pretends to know)”… This is seriously my life y’all, in all its glory, haha. No but really, I am constantly battling what I want to do, and what I should do. Whether it’s not reading my bible enough, not praying, not talking to God enough, a lack of intimacy, or desire… I don’t know, maybe all of the above, but the spark comes and goes. I know that sounds silly, but the “on fire” feeling I used to feel for the things of God- well, it just doesn’t feel the same as it used to. So… is there a spiritual cure? A spiritual remedy or recipe that we can use when we feel like we’re in this- I don’t know what to even call it; this “spiritual rut”?
If you know me, you also know I love Matt Chandler and I love this quote from him:
“Find the things that stir your affections for Christ and saturate your life in them. Find the things that rob you of that affection and walk away from them. That’s the Christian life as easy as I can explain it for you.”
But… is it that easy? What do you do when you feel like you’re not a good enough Christian? When you know you Love Jesus, but you just don’t think you love him well enough, you don’t obey well enough, you don’t serve well enough; kind of like you don’t deserve Him. When you know the person you want to be, the person you desire to be, but you just can’t seem to get there, and you keep slipping up the whole way. Then comes the confusion (at least for me) because I don’t want to be a moralistic, religious, self-righteous person who only cares about looking like I’m “good” and going by the “rules”or working on my behavior on the surface, when I’m rotting on the inside. I did this for a long time, and I think many people still live like this. You know, being a “Christian” and looking “spiritually polished”, without ever even experiencing an intimate relationship with Christ. Just show up to church on Sunday and learn just enough that you can use during the week to make you seem spiritual and keep ignoring the sin that entangles you and trips you up. (FYI I’m preaching to myself here) Because most days, if I’m honest…I don’t pursue God like I need to. I thank him for my food and for my job and my kids, and I read a devotional here and there until I feel better about myself. But the thing is, God calls us to die to ourselves and live for Him, and to so much more than we can even imagine. This reminds me of a quote by C.S. Lewis I have in my office. I like to look at it every day because it is so true and powerful.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – CS Lewis
I mean it seems like an analogy right? but we do it every day. We trade momentary pleasures for eternal ones. I know I do. I’m like that ignorant child who settles. Settles for that job, for that toxic relationship, for that shiny thing that leaves me in debt, for that boy who tells me I’m pretty, for those things that make me feel good at the time but I know in the end will hurt me, not remembering that God offers us so much more than any of these things and people can ever offer. Yet there I go, like a big dummy, chasing after these things. It becomes a habit, then a cycle, but yet… there I go, like I haven’t been there before, ignoring God’s voice when he patiently tells me “No baby girl, you will get hurt. Trust me. I want better for you than what you are settling for.” He puts a big red stop light in my face and I just wait till it turns yellow… slowly driving into bad decisionsville, where you can find me more days than not, crying over how everything’s going wrong. (Well, duh) Ugh. Any who… One thing I like to do when I feel like this is read Psalm 40 over and over and over again.
It helps me remember who I was before God saved me. Where I was in my life, and how lost I was and well, ok, it makes me cry. Every single time. Because we’ve all been there. In the pit of destruction, in the miry clay, in that place we were before God rescued us. Lost with no purpose, empty, living like zombies, alive with no real life, with no sense of direction. That’s where I was. Until one day when God had mercy on my life, and set my feet upon a rock, which is Himself. That’s who He is. Our rock, our fortress, our firm place to stand when everything in our life is a crazy mess, which is most days for me. Many are the wonders He does in our life, the miracles, the changes He makes in us, but honestly, most days, I forget that. I forget who I was and that I am not her anymore, even though some days I still feel like that girl. (Those are the days I read Galatians 2:20 and think I should probably tattoo it on my forehead so I don’t forget) Though I don’t have all the answers and there is no quick fix to being a better Christian, even though this journey is crazy hard and I feel like a failure at it most days, I rest in the fact that when the world is crazy and we feel we will never be enough, God has already paid the price. He is enough, so we don’t have to be.
Sorry to disappoint you if you thought I was going to give you a “become a better Christian in 30 days recipe” like: “Read a Psalm a day”, “pray your way to Heaven”, or “try serving more at church” Could it hurt? Prolly not. (Sometimes I like to use the word prolly instead of probably to up my street cred) but will simply “doing” all these things make you feel like you suck any less at being a Christian? I mean, maybe…if you are doing it sincerely. Come on, be honest. You’re talking to a girl who just used suck and Christian in the same sentence… pretty sure I just had a jewel removed from my crown or something, or at least a couch removed from my mansion in Heaven. Haha. (Joke people, that was a joke) Truth is there is no perfect Christian. Christians who don’t mess up, or make mistakes, or fall off the wagon, or slip up, or feel like a horrible person when they sin… yea, they are non-existent. You can’t put Christianity in a box , hang it up on a “one size fits all” hanger or dress it up in a Sunday Super Suit or think that being a Christian means always having a smile on your face and never struggling again. It means despite all of the doubts and fears, and ups and downs, and do’s and don’ts, that come with Christianity, of one thing I am very sure… I much rather live this “mistakes that bring me to my knees-roller coaster-some days I feel it some days I don’t-pushing through-ugly crying at church-lifting my hands-surrendering every day-fighting my old self- struggling- trying to figure it out” life with Christ, than to live one SINGLE DAY WITHOUT HIM. ❤
Psalm 40:1-6 (NASB)
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And
He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. 3 He put a new song
in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear and will
trust in the LORD. 4 How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his
trust, and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.
5 Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, and Your
thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You.