I try really hard to look perfect.
I try too hard to be perfect.
Somewhere, in the process, I build in weaknesses because part of perfection is not being too perfect.
I set up my life in terms of Instagram posts and blog posts and search too hard to find meaning in the mundane for the express purpose of appearing wise. I avoid being awkward and put myself in certain positions so that certain people will notice and comment. I do my homework, get good grades, hang out with everyone, and bend over backwards to be the jack-of-all-trades. To get that validation and awe from my peers.
I know that’s how people see me. I like it like that. I maintain the image.
That’s wrong of me.
I’ve been convicted recently (in embarrassingly many ways, because I’m stubborn) of how I’ve been living. How I’ve been faking it, to some extent, for fear of….rejection? Like my friends aren’t going to want to be my friends if I mess up? If I admit that I am capable of not being on top of my life? I don’t know. It’s a seriously irrational fear.
Maybe that’s a little melodramatic. The problem is, even though it’s much milder than I’ve made it out to be, it’s a habit. And runs much deeper. It affects how I address God.
It becomes a checklist.
Read my Bible. Check.
Write something in my journal. Check.
Listen to worship music. Check.
Talk to a friend about something I’m learning. Check.
I’m not trying to discount any of my faith. I really do believe it all It’s so easy to fall into a trap, though, of going through the motions and forgetting the magnitude of what it means to follow Christ.
But what about when I don’t? What about when I’m overcome by the greatness of God and am, to use the church-y word, on fire? What about the people in my life who seem to ooze with an alien passion for God that is very obviously alive even when I and the rest of my community is stagnant? The people whose lives scream Christ? Who are they? What makes them different?
But think bigger. What if all of us were like that all the time? How would that change things?
What does that even mean? What does it look like?
True to form, I found some Bible verses.
Romans 15 talks about overflowing with hope.
Galatians 5 talks about “serving one another humbly in love” and, of course, the oft-repeated fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Philippians brings up humility again.
So does John.
And both letters to the Corinthians.
You get my point, I’m sure, but here’s one of my favorite passages ever:
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
You guys. Looking like Jesus means being humble. It means serving wholeheartedly and without so much as a second thought. The greatest command, after all, is to love the Lord and to love other people. It’s that simple.
That love is what leads to the overflow of hope and of joy. Being so willing to pour yourself out for others just to be filled up again and again.
Being truly passionate, then, about following Jesus is craving that. Seeing the brokenness and recognizing the unconditional grace and love we are offered and realizing that all we need is more of Him.
When we serve, we do so with the intention of glorifying Christ. When we love, it’s through Him. Every word, every laugh, every action, every hug, that’s out of pure love of others and delight in Jesus.
I know, I’m reverting into serious church talk. I’m trying not to. My point in all this is to say this:
I want to be that person–you all know at least one–that radiates Jesus. You look at me and know that I’m not here for my benefit. I’m entirely real when I talk about the Lord. There’s a joy or a peace or a feeling, call it what you will, that lets people know that I’m different. I want to be quick to serve and do so unashamed, with grace and confidence. I want to be honest. To love everyone well and hard. For everything I do to point everyone around me to Him.
My sole purpose is to glorify God.
Consider this a manifesto on my part.
I hope you make it yours, too.
I know there are people around me who are brave enough to stand up and say that they love Jesus. Who are as kind and bright and excited about life as you’d expect them to be. I’m so glad that I’m their friend.
I want to be more like that. I want to be the person you look at and hear about and you say, “Yeah, she’s totally in love with Jesus.” I want to, because of that, make everything around me better. But I don’t want it to ever be attributed to me. I want the Lord to be so clear in me that you notice Him long before you pay attention to my own achievements, which couldn’t even exist apart from Him.
There comes a point where religion and rules and cutesy things to say fall short. Honestly, I can’t make it any clearer. The short version:
Jesus loves us. He wants us to love Him. I love him and want nothing more than to honor him. I want to look like that’s true.