But when we do…Jesus.
September 7, 2014
In normal 3 year old fashion, Beckett was climbing under the coffee table and jostled it, spilling my
best friend coffee.
I flipped out.
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?! DO NOT MOVE THE TABLE. WHY WOULD YOU MOVE THE TABLE? WHO MOVES TABLES??”
Unfazed by my obvious overreaction and ridiculous line of questioning (who moves tables, really?), he crawled out and went to find something else to play with.
A few minutes later, out dump 3,258 of our Hoarder’s Edition® Matchbox cars all over the floor.
“DUDE. WHY. WHY ARE YOU DUMPING ALL OF THOSE OUT? I LITERALLY JUST PUT ALL THOSE AWAY.”
He looked over at me and started picking them up before I even asked. (He already knows to appease mommy when she gets crazy eyes.)
And then in his sweet little squeaky voice he said,
“But mommy? Can I just keep a few out to play with?”
Daggers. Daggers in my heart.
There was absolutely no reason for me to yell at him in that moment, I was just grumpy and let my own attitude dictate how our day would go.
Our Bible study started back up on Wednesday, and the topic of honesty with ourselves and in relationship came up. Being authentic and truthful.
The idea that, until we all quit pretending to have it all together, we cannot really be in relationship with God or with others.
It’s pretty important.
But being authentic isn’t natural or comfortable. On the contrary, it’s quite vulnerable and terrifying.
The second we choose to be real, we open ourselves up to criticism.
“Don’t you work with the youth group? And you yell at your own kids that way??”
“Aren’t you a Christian? Because you seemed to think that racist joke was just as funny as everyone else.”
“You claim to follow Jesus yet struggle with addiction? Is that allowed?”
“You read what the Bible says about money but continue going further into debt? How’s that work?”
What a hypocrite you are.
How dare you claim the name of Christ.
Or at least that’s our fear if we choose to live transparent lives, right?
But here’s what I love about authenticity: it takes every ounce of pressure off of us. Off of our abilities.
We’ll never fully measure up. We’ll always be lacking in some area or another. We will always let someone down.
Each of us. We’re all jacked up.
It’s exhausting and embarrassing to pretend otherwise, yet here we are in Facebook-world where we only post the best, most flattering aspects of our lives.
I love what 1 John 2:1-2 says:
“I write all of this so that you won’t sin, but when you do…Jesus.” (New American Sarah Version)
Being a Christian isn’t about not messing up anymore.
Following Jesus doesn’t mean we don’t sin. Or get angry. Or hurt people. Or make bad decisions.
We live on planet earth where sometimes life sucks and is hard and painful. Kids are frustrating, cancer is awful, money is tight.
We don’t stop living in a broken world when we choose to follow Jesus. Our human emotions and reactions are still very much intact.
It doesn’t mean that we won’t sin or struggle anymore, it means that when we do, Jesus.
When we do act on our anger, we apologize.
When we do hurt people, we ask forgiveness.
When we do disagree, we still love.
When we are wronged, we pray for our enemies.
When we do, we respond with Jesus. We respond like Jesus.
I don’t know why we’re all so scared of vulnerability.
It seems to me that our sins and failures are an excellent talking point about the grace of Jesus, no?
Pretending we’re perfect kind of negates our need for him, doesn’t it?
So after yelling at my sweet boy in a way I would never talk to anyone outside of my own house (funny how we treat those closest to us at times), I got off the couch and knelt down in front of his face.
“Buddy, I need to apologize. We’re always talking about treating others how we want to be treated, and only having words and attitudes that are helpful in building others up. And the past few minutes, Mommy has not done any of those things. My words weren’t helpful, they didn’t make you feel happy, and I wouldn’t want to be treated the way I just treated you. Did you know that mommies mess up, too? I’m sorry. Do you forgive me?”
He did. I think.
Regardless, I don’t want to play the “perfect Christian” role. I want to be authentic.
I especially want my boys to always see the real me.
I want them to see the good stuff – working through a Bible study in the morning, loving others, talking to Jesus with them throughout the day.
But I’m also ok with them seeing the ugly parts – yelling for no reason, arguing with a friend, being selfish, struggling to love difficult people.
Because those things happen. Quite often. And that’s an accurate picture of life and proof of my need for grace.
I want them to know that – try as we might – mommies mess up, too.
And it’s ok.