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For years, I was a stout believer that if I had a bad week, if I was naughty or if I had a bad thought..I simply could not come to God. This belief stemmed, like most things, stemmed from childhood, where in the eyes of someone close to me, it was hypocritical to commit whatever childhood transgression I had committed and then go to Church and act “pious”.
A simple statement that was made in frustration kept me from reaching out to God for years, because, in my mind, I thought God would think that I was “faking it”. The Enemy has a way of affirming lies throughout the years and this was most certainly true in my life.
I grew up in a Church, actually a few Churches, where the principles taught were shame-based. I attended the whole purity rally thing at one Church and was taught that I was no longer valuable if I had pre-marital sex. If you don’t believe that this happens, ask any Evangelical teen about the spit- on hundred dollar bill or the trampled rose and they can easily back me up. 🙂 No one bothered to mention that a spit-on hundred dollar bill can still be used to purchase something beautiful.
For years, I was a part of another Church that placed emphasis on your looks and shamed women for the simple act of a pair of slacks. A teenager obsessed with hair and makeup, I didn’t belong and often felt I wasn’t as holy because I couldn’t give these things up. As a homeschooler, I endured countless hours of teaching against rock music, bright clothes, dancing and other trivial things. This teaching was supposed to teach me how to be pleasing to God. Funny that it came from a man who we now know committed multiple acts of disrespect towards young girls. Not to mention that for years my family took part in the “patriarch movement”, which even they will now tell you is the most shame-based thing you’ll ever come across. Trust me when I say that my stomach still rolls over at the principles they teach.
All of these things that I was taught, these principles that my life consisted of just confirmed to my heart that I was simply, not acceptable to come before God for anything more than a prayer of repentance for my horribleness.
I left home at the age of 18, under circumstances that I rarely speak of. I did the rebel-child act for all of two months. I know, I’m tough, right? During that time, I had a chance to think for myself. I realized that I didn’t know a lot about God. I knew who these people had said He was, but honestly, their lives didn’t reflect the goodness and love that I caught glimpses of in the Scriptures and I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to be in the same category as the leaders I knew of.
February 3rd of 2012, I sat down and wrote a list in my old pink journal that would change my life. I wrote a list of everything that I knew about God. That I knew, not that I heard from someone, not the things I was told. I wrote down things like He is Good. He has healed me. His plans for me are good. He loves everyone. He dances over me. He gives me peace. That simple list was the basis upon which I built my personal beliefs and to this day, if my thoughts get muddled it is the first place I will go.
In looking at my list and reading verses in my Bible, I realized that I can never be good enough. But God knows that and He wants a close relationship with me not because of my goodness, but because He is the epitome of Good. This was refreshment for my soul and through this lie I actually learned the true meaning of the Gospel.
Today, I revel in my humanity. I have learned to embrace it because, without it, I have no need for a Savior. The longing that my messy heart had to just draw near to God in the midst of my failures is actually written about in Hebrews and my first instinct to do that is the correct thing, not the hypocritical thing.
Today, I walk with my Savior, Jesus as an imperfect Christian. As someone who messes up each day, but who has the boldness to run to Christ knowing that I am accepted there. Today, I spill out my darkest secrets to the only One who can illuminate the darkness that I bring upon my life.
Today, I am enough. Not because I am good. But because God is Good enough for the both of us.