You can be NOT okay, and still be a good Christian.
I’ve been pondering this statement over the last few days.
Because I really want to be okay. Or at least, I want to give the appearance of being okay.
Last week I shared that my husband accepted a call to serve at a new church, and we are moving to New York. I talked about how although I don’t have any plans or checklists in place for this big move, I’m amazingly okay with this.
I was okay. I am okay.
Except when I’m not.
You Can Be NOT Okay…
I am fully trusting God to guide our family through this move, excited for a new adventure, and ready to face the challenges that lie ahead.
Except when I’m not.
I’m so human.
I’m tempted to share with you only the good parts of how well I’m handling this big transition.
How fake that would be.
In two weeks we say goodbye to our church where we have served for 15 years. We have loved them and they have loved us. I want them to see me handle this flawlessly.
I want to show how I’ve become strong and mature over the years. And I have. Sometimes.
Soon we move to our new church in New York. I want to make a good first impression. I want the members of our new church to see a pastor’s wife who loves them, loves her husband well so he is strengthened to serve, and has her act together.
I do love them already, and I do my best to love my husband well. I don’t exactly have my act together. I’ve got some pieces patched together, but it gets frayed around the edges.
Can I show my messes to new people? This feels terribly risky.
Vulnerability carries risk. Dare I show my flaws, my sadness and grief?
I am ready to move to New York, yet pieces of my heart will be in other places. Our two oldest daughters have decided to stay in Colorado with Mike’s parents for one more year to finish school. I fully support their decision, but oh, I will miss them!
One of our children with behavior issues is not stable enough to make the transition of a move across the country. This child is not stable here, let alone moving. If you are reading this and are willing to do so, would you please pray for this situation? We do not yet have a solution. (You can read these blog post about Understanding Kids with Trauma History and For When You Are Facing a Terrible Decision for background information.)
…and Still Be a Good Christian
What does it mean to be a “good” Christian, anyway? Look at what Jesus says about my “goodness”:
And a ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.’
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
Isaiah 64:6 (NIV)
Anything good I attempt misses the mark. I know this, and I also know that as one who loves and follows Jesus, I want to be a light in the world:
‘You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.’
This “light of the world” part is where I get tripped up.
I mistakenly assume that to be the light of the world I need to always look like I have my act together.
That’s not what the Bible says.
These verses say let others see your good works. Who is “good”? Only God.
The only good in my life is from Jesus living in me.
Friends, Jesus died on the cross for you so you can go to heaven someday. This news is so incredibly amazing! I cannot hold my life together perfectly or even pretend to try, but I can tell you about a Savior who keeps me going and gives me hope.
Some days I’m an energetic packing machine who parents her children well and offers encouraging answers with a smile.
Other days I’m a sobbing snarl of non-showered ugly-messy. When my children actually scramble to obey for fear of my wrath, you know it’s seriously bad.
Stay far away. If you are brave enough to come close (God bless those dear friends who are), bring a margarita and a Salted Caramel Pizookie.
I’ve learned that when I’m NOT okay, Jesus still loves me.
For your ugly-messy days, here’s what I have to share with you.
You can be NOT okay…and still be a good Christian, too.