Happy New Year!! Okay, so I know most people post their new years blog on the 1st, but I like to be different! I had been praying at the end of the year for my ‘word’ for the coming year. I know surrender is one of my words, but I knew there was something else. Then as my husband and I were driving on New Years Eve to my brother/sister in laws house I got it. Authentic Faith.
A life following after Jesus is not perfect. It’s actually quite messy. We mess up, we make mistakes, we loose our temper, and we can become easily distracted. But His mercies are new for us every morning! We have financial stresses just like everybody else. The difference between us and those who don’t know Jesus yet is that we have a Savior who walks beside us and gives us wisdom and teaches us self-control. Our families go through sickness just like other families, we just happen to serve a powerful God who can heal us if He so chooses- but He is also ever present, walking with us during our sickness. He is always with us.
In the past, women, especially those in ministry, have worked hard to maintain an image that if you follow Jesus, well, then everything is perfect. Perfect home, perfect image, perfect kids, perfect life- problem is, that image couldn’t be farther from the truth. You see, that image not only leaves us frustrated and disappointed, but also feeling like we can’t measure up. We can’t live up to the image of the perfect Christian that we’ve tried so hard to maintain. And for others watching our lives, they feel like they must be doing something wrong and they feel like failures as a Christian. They see our Facebook life and ‘think’ we have it all together. Truth is, most of the time, we just really enjoy sharing our victories with others or our favorite photos. That doesn’t mean life doesn’t carry its share of trials.
Make no mistake about it, we do not have it all together, for I fear if we did we would not need Jesus so desperately. We all have our issues. We have messes all around us- kids that throw tantrums, kids that have entitlement issues, days when our marriages are less than perfect, fears about if we’re even doing this parenting thing right, hoping we’re not messing up our kids. Some of you reading this have even cried yourself to sleep recently because, as I said before, life is messy.
We are entering a new year. I believe this is a year of authentic faith. What is authentic faith? It’s a faith that is real, transparent, lived out in front of believers and non-believers alike. Many of us have had disappointments from the previous year. If you’re breathing and you have a pulse (and I hope you do), I am sure there have been a few. And when I say authentic faith, I’m not saying to go around telling anyone available all of your deepest life problems. As Christians, we are to pray for wisdom. And God will guide and direct us to other solid Christians we can share our struggles with. But authentic is real. Its ‘welcome to my beautiful messy life’.
Living a life of authentic faith points us, all of us, to something that the world is desperately trying to find- hope. The opposite of despair is hope. And as a follower and friend of Jesus, we can have hope. Hope in God that He will restore and make all things new. We have hope in a Savior that has promised to walk with us no matter what we go through. He is near to the brokenhearted. No matter what the enemy tries to throw at us, my God has the final say and the last Word! And on the other side of this mountain He will take us to a place where there’s no more tears, no more pain, and no more suffering. I pray that by living a life of authentic faith, I just might be able to take a few people with me. Not fake, but real. Real is refreshing. There is freedom in our stories, and our stories make up who we are. People can relate to that much more than us having it all together.
The number one enemy of authentic faith is fear of man. What will people think? What if I write something that people criticize? What if I share my struggles and people don’t think I have enough faith? What if… what if… what if. There will always be more than enough ‘what-ifs”. Here’s a couple of scriptures to help you with being worried about what people think (fear of man)-
Acts 5:29 I am a God-pleaser, not a people-pleaser. I obey God before man.
1 Cor. 4:3-4 I am not controlled by what people think of me. As long as God is satisfied with me I am satisfied.
Gal. 1:10- I don’t try to be popular with people. All I want to do is the will of God.
I don’t want to tip-toe around, always worried about what others think. I want to use my gifts, talents, and abilities to live for the Lord. If that means writing something that doesn’t get very many comments, then I will write for the sake of the gift and craft God has given me. Life isn’t a popularity contest, although I will admit, it feels like it at times. Being authentic is truly honoring the person that God has made you to be. The good , the bad, and the ugly. It means that we stop comparing ourselves with how everyone else is doing it, and we do things the way we feel like God has called us to do things- for us, for our families, for our friends, and for our lives. Authentic; real; transparent; refreshing.
So who’s with me in this New Year of 2014?! Together we truly can be a light to a dark place. Let’s show others that though we don’t have it all together, we know Someone who does!
Lord, Help me to walk out my faith in this coming year. Messy houses, messy kids, messy cars, messy lives- but You Lord can turn a mess into a masterpiece! It is my hearts desire to put You first in this new year and I know that everything else in my life will flow from that. I am so over trying to act like I have it all together, because that’s not real. But what’s real is that You’ve promised to carry me through all that I go through. And You can even surprise me with joy when I least expect it. I pray that as I encounter obstacles, challenges, and even heartaches in this new year, that I would face those obstacles standing on Your Word, spending time in Your presence, and just seeking You. Let Your Word be a light to my path in the coming new year.
In Jesus name, amen!
John 16:33- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”