My first entry in an adventure I feel compelled to begin – I wish I could say what all this is about, but I’m not totally sure. It feels awkward putting my insides “out there” for unknown people to read – strange and uncomfortable. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you probably know me and you’re reading out of charity (thank you). If you don’t know me, you can read more of who I am in “About Me”.
I am a Christian, I love Jesus. I love Jesus and yet I struggle. I struggle with what it means to be a follower of Christ. I struggle with Christian culture. I struggle with giving up – surrendering – my ways for God’s. I think Jesus has been whitewashed….literally. He was from the Middle-East yet is often depicted as a white guy with reddish-brown hair. Jesus wasn’t a wimp – He overturned tables at the Temple and cracked His whip in the face of exploitation of God and His people.
Jesus lived during a time dominated by ruthless, brutal Romans yet never spoke of it. He did however, have plenty to say about religious rulers and hypocrisy. Jesus befriended society’s marginalized:
sinners of all kinds
He spoke His mind and regularly offended the establishment of His day.Christian culture often doesn’t reveal the Jesus I know and love. Click To Tweet
At times, Christian culture has an “us” and “them” feel. I have felt uncomfortable in Christian circles because I don’t fit the mold. I have a son with disabilities. I have friends who are gay. I have friends who are non-believers. Sometimes I swear. Sometimes I doubt God – something many believers will NEVER admit. I struggle with giving up who I am for who God calls me to be. Being human and following Christ is hard for me.
I have a difficult time seeing Jesus ostracize someone who is gay – or anyone for that matter. I think Jesus is for everyone. He came for sinners. He came for me – an imperfect, sinful, rebellious human who loves and follows Jesus imperfectly. I don’t have it all together. I don’t have all the answers. I wrestle with the truth of God and who I am – how I live and love, think and believe. I wrestle, I doubt, I fail. God in His grace and mercy helps me up, loves me and encourages me to try again. His love is unconditional and without limits.
I feel nudged to do this – write a blog. I’ve procrastinated – there are so many awesome, cool blogs, what the heck could I add that hasn’t already been said? (in a better, cooler way than I could say it) Yet the nudging continues and I don’t want to miss out on an adventure with God – even if I feel inadequate and not up to the task. I suck at technology, something that is a bit of a disadvantage in an online forum. If I do this, and I’m obviously doing this, I want it to be real – not a dressed up version of me or what I think people want to hear.
Success means together we wrestle with what it means to be a follower of Christ and allow our weaknesses and struggles to connect us. For my unbelieving friends, Jesus is real and He loves you. He loves you without judgment or condemnation. He can handle your doubt, your questions, your past and even your anger and unbelief. Don’t let messed up people with their messed up version keep you from the real thing.
2020 Update from Liz:
I wrote this three, almost four years ago – much of this is still my heart. I still love my Father and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I still love people and have a burden for the wounded, deceived and unbeliever. I still have a burden for those hurt by religion, well meaning Christians and church culture.
God is faithful. Through these years of praying, seeking and writing, He has grown me. I’m not confused about what it means to follow Jesus anymore. I don’t struggle nearly as much and hardly ever swear – there’s been a lot of dying to self.
I know following Jesus requires all of me – everything – there’s nothing off limits. Nothing He doesn’t want to heal and transform.
I’m also more aware of my sin and how I fall short – attitudes of the heart that didn’t even register when I first started this blog. I’ve discovered I’m way more judgmental and proud than I’d ever want to admit. I’ve also discovered His mercy and grace are bigger. I’m reminded love covers a multitude of sin and the commandment Jesus gives us is to love others as He loved us.
I also now know the answer to that question posed on a rubber bracelet, WWJD – What would Jesus do? He would love first.
To God be the glory forever.