Thursday, June 5, 2014

Misrepresenting me

"You have to get to the place where you don't say things you don't mean. You don't lie. You don't misrepresent things. It doesn't mean being rude, it's just that you have to get to the point that you believe what you say... learn to be who you are, what you stand for. You've got to do this in your relationship with God and with others." - Andrew Wommack

As I've spent the last few months or so really sitting with the Lord and a few close family members on all things life, my calling, and what makes me, me, I've realized that MUCH of my life over the past 4 years has been a misrepresentation of me.

Yup. I said it. I've misrepresented myself. What does that mean? Well, I guess you could say that I've been too concerned with making friends that I have left myself by the wayside and pretty much done what I thought would make others like me. And you know what? It's a miserable existence. Keeping up with appearances and trying to be "that girl" all the time is exhausting. Devastating really. And if I'm really honest - depressing.

When I moved to California I quickly noticed that there was a LOT of "Christian-ese" spoken here. So to fit in, I learned the "lay of the land" and started doing the same thing. I made note of what others would say, experience, and do so that I could do and say the same things. I didn't want to rock the boat, so I just became a chameleon of whatever those around me believed and did. At first it was refreshing, amazing really. I suddenly felt accepted, and I loved it.

Fast forward 4 years and I sit, very uncomfortably, in my own skin. After the fallout with some friends over a year ago, and the realization that they were never really, true friends to me to begin with, the whole "Who am I?" question began. And over the last year it's resurfaced over and over again. Finally, bringing me to the breaking point of me going "Holy mother, I have completely lost sight of the calling laid on my life, my passions, and my giftings. I've become a chameleon of everyone around me."

So here I sit, having to now face the friends that I've made and lost these last years, whom  I pushed away for fear of disappointing them or getting a lecture, or just losing them altogether. But it seems I've already done that in my own self fulfilling prophecy of sorts.

The woman that I am called to be is a lover of God first and foremost, and a lover of His image bearers - both lost and found. She is gracious, kind, generous, and hard working. She is hospitable in every way. She loves meeting new people and hearing their stories; she craves it. She desires to bring people together for dinner, for parties, anything really and to make them feel loved and cared for in the process. She is cheerful, optimistic, and relentless when it comes to getting things done. She's athletic, a health nut, and a fitness guru in the making. She's an encourager who loves to do "little things' for those she loves. She's the doer that gets ideas to become realities. She loves to laugh, to spend time with others, to adventure, and to be in the peaceful beauty that is nature. She hates the "same 'ol grind" and looks forward to getting out of it. She loves being girly, taking showers everyday, and looks forward to dressing up and wearing her heels. She enjoys down time, days of rest and staying in bed all day. She appreciates dinners out and getting to know the waitresses and bartenders that serve her. She is invigorated by conversation with others. She's a planner who can go with the flow. She's a dreamer of BIG things and works hard to make them a reality. She trusts the Lord with the details of life and finds His peace and love her constant companion. She likes order and cleanliness, though her life is sometimes chaos. She imagines often of a home and a lifetime of love and generosity shared with her dear, sweet husband.

This is me. The real me. I have opinions though I often don't voice them. I'm afraid of rocking the boat, so I often keep my mouth shut though I disagree with others. I'm realizing that I'm more liberal in my faith than others. I believe Grace and Love are the biggest callings the Lord gives us. I don't like Calvinism. I'm more Weslyan in my approach to faith. I'm not here to judge, I leave that up to the one the Lord has appointed to do so. I believe that my God is big enough to do anything and I know He will answer my prayers - whether it's yes, no, or not yet. I believe you have to ask to receive and dare to believe that God will give you exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. And I believe the Gospel is simple - and my calling on this earth, too. But all too often it's complicated through the opinions of centuries of theologians. I believe there's a lot more gray than black and white (yup, I said that too). We're too harsh and bitter towards others... and all too often there's not enough grace.

No more misrepresentation. I will stand for who I am and what I believe. No more complacency. No more chameleon. I will be me, period.

I commit to write more, call more, reach out more, pray more, give more, and love more.

"If God tells you to do something, you do it. Just do it. You say what you mean and you mean what you say. You're either a person of integrity, a person who sticks to his/her word, or you're not. Which will you choose?"

Who do you say I am?

"But what about you?" Jesus asked, "Who do you say I am?"

Peter answered, "You are the Messiah" - Matthew 16:15-16

Controversial topic? Yes. Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Messiah to some, a prophet to others. The miracle worker, the healer, the friend of foes. And some would dare say, the rebel of His time, going against deeply rooted rituals of "religion". The one who dares relationship and forgiveness, over ritual and show.

This, my friends, is the Jesus I know and love. Just a few descriptors of who this Man has become in my own life...

Simply put, what Jesus came to accomplish could only be accomplished by Him. He came to seek and save the lost. To be a ransom for the sins of each of us. He came so that you and I may be free and made new amidst the chaos and evil of this world today.

Jesus is ever loving, ever gracious, ever tender, and forever in pursuit of you, his sweet child. He came to love and to die for you, his prized son/daughter. He came so that you may have life.  True, fulfilling, satisfying LIFE!

Jesus is one to be completely honest and "real" with. Maybe the only someone one can fully trust with every detail of life. He's not in the business of being condescending. He's in the business of grace. He's not dismissisive. No, he's responsive. He will not ridicule you but will build you up. He is not judgmental. He's merciful. And oh does His love abound! His love is pure, unconditional. There is nothing you can or cannot do to earn His love, His grace, and His mercy. And it NEVER changes. Ever, never, ever, period. It's perfect.

And perfect love casts out fear. Think of the things that you're most afraid of: Being alone for the rest of your life, running out of money, losing a family member, losing your job, losing your beauty, losing your success, becoming ill, etc.. Now imagine a life without fear of those very things. Is that even possible? To be relieved from the pressure, the stress, anxiety, the fear that overwhelms us?

How freeing would that be? Will that allow you to do more in your life? Would that allow you to be happy for once? Would it allow you to feel free and at peace with the rest of your life? The great news is that freedom from fear is available to you. And as silly as it sounds it's in the name of Jesus. It's His love that casts out fear. It's His love it takes all anxious thoughts all the stress all the fear and separates it as far as the east is from the west. His incredible, unending love is perfect and in Him all things are possible. He loves you. Cares for you. Desires relationship with you. And no matter who you are or what you've done - that cannot separate you from Him. He's there. Always.