The other day I got mad at myself. Here I am writing blog posts read mostly by women and girls who live out a Christian life, when I still fall into sin, every single day. I continually give others advice on how to stay focused on Christ, yet find myself putting the world before God. I ask for prayer requests from my fellow bible study girls, yet I am not the first to pray for myself or even others in my quiet time with the Lord. I am by no means perfect. And sometimes, this really gets to me in the core of my being.
A lot of the time, I struggle with thinking “I’m not good enough to be a Christian.” I am not the poster child for being a perfect woman. Sometimes at church, I don’t even feel God at all in the worship songs. I see everyone else’s hands raised and feel like they are good enough and I’m not. I see people who are just like me who can recite more bible verses. I take advice from other Christians that I wish I would have thought of first. I feel like I fail God because of the way that I act with my spitfire tongue or my stubborn attitude.
Let me admit something to you: I’ve messed up a lot in my 21 years–and if you are ever looking for blackmail on me… it wouldn’t take you long. I have too many regrets, mistakes and sins to proclaim myself a follower to the One who was bullied, beaten and crucified all for the sake of proclaiming His love for God and me.
I doubt I am the only one who has felt this way.
My human instinct tells me I don’t deserve to be a Christian and be forgiven. I don’t deserve to one day look at God during judgement and hear “Well done good and faithful one.” Sure, maybe I’ve been on a few mission trips and try my best to get to church every Sunday, but I haven’t started orphanages like Mother Teresa, nor do I know every bible verse or dedicate all my weekends to being the hands and feet of Christ. My past makes me ashamed. My mistakes feel too dirty. My decisions make me feel too bad to be forgiven.
However, after finding Christ more and more and getting closer to Him in prayer and thought, I realized maybe being “good enough” isn’t the point to being a Christian. Being a Christian isn’t about having a check list of “things you must do to believe.” Having a personal relationship with Christ isn’t about being the type of person with the pretty prayers at the dinner table, and having the artsy photos with the deep captions on every social media account. We aren’t supposed to compare our ways of praising the Lord to the person next to us. Each person proclaims their love and belief for Christ differently. We are supposed to grow in friendship with Christ, love Him, and do our best everyday to wake up and think “How can I love Him more”.
Being a Christian isn’t supposed to be a nice stroll in Central Park in 70 degree weather. Walking with Christ isn’t supposed to be about Instagraming your coffee and bible verse of the day and pretending life is perfect. It isn’t about sitting in a church for an hour a week on Sundays. It is about doing your best to look to God when the world is telling you to look away. Being a Christian is about having a relationship with Christ, and calling Him a friend. It is about falling and admitting defeat. It is about admitting you are not perfect and prone to wander, but knowing that God gave His Son to die for your mistakes, and you are forgiven by His grace and not anything you have done.
None of us deserve to call ourselves a friend of Christ. Jesus Christ is way out of our league if we are being honest here. But, being a Christian is not about hiding the struggle, in fact it is quite opposite. Being a Christian is about admitting you struggle, but because of God–and God alone you are forgiven. You aren’t forgiven because you did a bunch of nice things. You are forgiven because of Christ.
There is no to-do list to get to heaven, because Jesus paid the price for us on the cross, 2,000 years ago. You don’t have to put your hand up in worship to prove you are a Christian, you don’t have to go overseas to be His hands and feet, and you don’t have to have a seminary degree to be theologically sound. All you have to do is love God, and do your best to worship Him with your actions daily. Maybe for you that is spending 2 years in Africa, or maybe it is serving as a camp counselor. Maybe for you that is singing Christian music, or maybe that is simply giving one dollar to a homeless man. Being a Christian is about accepting grace leading to you believing and loving God through your actions. Being a Christian is not about being perfect.
So yes–that means that God takes your anger problems, mistakes from your toxic relationship in high school, addiction, and your biggest regret. He hangs it up on the cross with the sins of the world that hung Him there in the first place. Good looks at all your mistakes and says “You are enough for me come as you are my child. Come to me, and let me love you.” He doesn’t say “Hey I’m not going to forgive you until you say sorry and pay me back somehow, proving your worth.” Instead, He says, “I love you this much”–stretching out His arms to show you, and having them repeatedly stabbed with nails onto a cross, as an offering of forgiveness for you.
I should have been on the cross. I should have been punished for my sins in the exact same manner that Jesus was, when He took the ultimate cause of death away from the world. We all should have been on that cross. None of us are good enough, but that’s what makes Jesus so great. With Him, now we are never “not good enough.” God is asking you right now to run to Him, with your flaws, with your imperfections, with your felony, with your addiction. He is asking you to run to Him.
Try living every day knowing that Jesus Christ is way out of your league— but He loves you and forgives you for every mistake you have made. He decided to die for sinners and losers like you and me, and now because of that we are forgiven and have the opportunity to live for Him and receive eternal freedom.
The creator of mountains, chocolate, and country music says we are enough–and that my friends, is a beautiful thing.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–” // Ephesians 2:8