Hey, friend! It’s definitely been a while.
I’ve missed this–writing and pouring out my heart. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to. I have. I’ve had a ton of ideas swim through my head, and I’ve got notepads to prove it. But something’s been holding me back. You want to know the truth?
I’VE BEEN FEELING LIKE A FRAUD.
Backstory. I’ve always battled a little bit of anxiety when it comes to social situations. I’ve never been diagnosed or anything, but there are times I can hardly tell my anxious thoughts to shut up for long enough to hold a decent conversation. It’s so freaking annoying, too, because too often I’m too anxious to even admit that I’m anxious. I guess that’s how it works. Hahahahaha, dang it. So often, fear gets the best of me. Now, that’s not to say this is the case for me all the time, but this year has been a struggle with it. When I’m anxious about other things, it just kind of happens naturally. (I can write another post all about mental health, etc. if you’re interested. Actually, I probably will, so stay tuned…).
Don’t worry! There’s hope a-comin’ later in this post, but I’ve gotta get through the muck first, or the story won’t make sense. You feel?
So here’s the deal. I’m an INFP, but also sometimes an ENFP given my environment. Either way, I’m always straddling the fence–like 52% I/48% E or vice versa. It comes in seasons–waves, I guess. I love people, but sometimes I have this annoying insecurity that keeps me from jumping all-in on a conversation. Like I can’t be fully myself because I care WAY TOO FREAKING MUCH about what the other person is thinking. Bleh.
So to tie it all together, I started believing this lie in my own mind that this blog was fraudulent. Because when I write, I say whatever the heck comes to my mind. I have confidence to say what I mean and mean what I say. But in person, I get scared. It’s my weakness.
BUT. But. I have something to share with you that absolutely blew my mind this afternoon that gave me the eyes to see that I was believing that dangerous lie–a lie that was draining me of my joy and kept me from doing something I loved–sharing my thoughts on how JESUS IS AT WORK IN A 20 YEAR OLD GIRL’S LIFE. Is that not the ultimate goal of the Enemy?! Lol, he thought he was winning on that one–forcing me into my shell with no outlet. But SIKE–Jesus wins every time.
So I was flipping through 2 Corinthians, trying to find the verse about demolishing arguments, etc. I finally found it, but I needed some context. I flipped back to the beginning of that chapter and began reading.
“By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you–I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” when away!”
WHAT. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME. I had to go back and reread that again to make sure I read it right. Surely, I thought, Paul, like, THE Paul, basically one of the most influential human beings in Christian history (besides Jesus, because without Him, Paul wouldn’t have any credentials, ya know?) wrote this? Slash felt this way? DUDE, ME FREAKING TOO, I thought. So I looked up some commentary because I was so absolutely blown away by this. Turns out, the Corinthians accused Paul of being bold in his letters, but reserved in person. He was accused of backing out of face-to-face confrontation, but would be intense in his letters. In that moment, I breathed a sigh of relief.
“Holy nuts. I’m not the only one.”
The Corinthians criticized Paul for being hypocritical–that this dichotomy between timid and bold, mild and spicy, meant that he lived just like everyone else, like he’s not special.
NEWS FLASH. Paul was, in fact a human dude. You’re not wrong, Corinthians! He struggles just the same as you do! He’s not Jesus. He’s a straight up human, just like y’all.
But Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” THAT’S the difference. The armor that Jesus provides Paul is literally the only difference.
The armor that Jesus provides.
Part 2 of my story. This morning, I was trying to find a verse on kindness, to try to prove something to myself. I was trying to justify something in my mind. But my eyes caught Colossians 2:13-14,
“When you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive in Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.”
There was a part of me that didn’t want to acknowledge the truth that grace is so overwhelmingly simple. I literally thought to myself, “well, isn’t there a lesson I should learn from this?” And I realized, for me, sometimes grace is the hardest lesson to learn. It’s not complicated, but I often make it. Grace isn’t earned, it’s just simply given. Jesus gave it. After I read that verse, I finally found that other verse I had been looking for earlier.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
It’s like we’ve been given a whole new wardrobe (metaphorically). A beautiful one, too. Sometimes, it feels like I’m not worthy of wearing kindness or patience or humility–like I’m a fake for wearing them. These aren’t mine.
It feels weird because I’m so used to my rags. They’re butt ugly, but they’ve become frighteningly comfortable to me.
But Jesus says,
“Go for it. I died and rose again SO THAT YOU COULD WEAR THESE. They’re mine, but I love you and really wanted you to be able to wear them too. I love you more than you can even comprehend.”
He said this to Paul, He says this to me, He says this to you. Yes, we live in flesh. Sometimes, we’re tempted to change back into those unflattering rags because those are OUR clothes. Being a Christian isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable and confusing. But you know what that discomfort is?
It’s Jesus growing you to fit into His clothes a little better. He’s molding and shaping your character to look more and more like His, because He’s just that kind.
I ended that journal entry with, “I love you, too.” I’ve never added “too” before, but today, something just clicked. We say “I love you, Jesus” because He said it first. He always says it first.
And He’s promised that He’ll never stop.