The owner of this blog is a Christian. She’s made that clear. Tons of times. With Christ-drenched blogs on romance and salvation and perseverance and surrendering. None of which has been an accurate representation of what said blog owner as a Christian is actually like.
Here is what she is actually like.
This blog owner uses bad words. This blog owner laughs at jokes she probably shouldn’t. Has even told more than a few. This blog owner knows innuendo in and out–it’s hard not to when you love wordplay.
This blog owner judges people.
This blog owner gossips.
And yet this blog owner calls herself a Christian.
I prayed the salvation prayer on May 28, 2006. In it, I committed my life to Christ’s Lordship. But in the years since, my life has read like a stutter-start rap sheet of that commitment, a long record of failures instead of successes. Some people have found that their love for Christ has made it simple to turn away from books and music and movies and language and actions that do not glorify God. Some people have managed to reflect integrity despite the pressures of this world.
I am not one of those people. Instead, I have spent the past years bargaining, rationalizing, negotiating with God on my faith, and as a result, in the words of the one Christian close friend I have, I “…look just like everyone else.” The need to belong has caused compromise, and though I try to cling to the faith I desperately need to survive–though I know without God I am lost–I keep failing him.
I feel like a fraud. On Sundays I am a small group leader and music team back up singer. On Monday nights I am a Bible class student. On Thursday nights I am a disciple. But despite these trappings of a “good Christian walk,” I remain petty and unstable and judgmental and paranoid and so, so very prone to compromise. So unwilling, if it comes to it, to let go of the passions and dreams and hopes that give me comfort and security and pride. So unable to change into the person I believe I should be.
What hurts the most is that God isn’t going to smite me for this. He is not going to grind me into dust or send his lightning bolts to fry me. Each time I fail, he is there with his grace, ready and willing to help me start over. And that hurts, because I am a prodigal daughter taking her father for granted. The grace stings instead of healing. The knowledge that he loves me too much to let me go cuts me deep because I can’t reciprocate.
This is the pain that I live with. The pain that God was willing to die for me but that I can’t seem to manage to do the same–die to myself–for him. I preach it, in my discipleship ministry, but as Alice once said, “I give myself very good advice, but I seldom ever follow it.” I’m a hypocrite, and what’s worse is that few people understand why. For the majority of the world, cussing and blue (green) jokes and judging people and gossip is fine and dandy. Everyone does it. If I so much as open my mouth and say I am struggling with this idea of compromise, I will be labeled as a bigot and a Pharisee.
Ironically it’s keeping silent that makes me more of those things.
Tonight, I got my reckoning. A compromise was made–without my consent–in a non-work project I was part of. A passion project. Something I feel I’d die without. I lashed out, in anger, at the call that was made but was met with a row of puzzled and irritated faces. And it dawned on me–if this was but one stepping stone to further compromise, could I give this love up?
And it’s that knowledge that hurts. I love God, but it seems I love myself more and that truth is a slap to the face. It is not empowering, or edifying, or praiseworthy. It is selfish.
It is self-righteous.
It is everything that I am and I don’t know how to live with it.