Take Your Mask Off

I’m not a big fan of pretending… I love dressing up for Halloween, but I prefer taking my mask off for the rest of the year.

 As a Christian, my thoughts of giving up have never been directed on giving up on the Lord. I’ve never wanted to give up on my love for Jesus.  My thoughts of giving up, are…giving up on myself.

I’ve thought about how it’s too hard.

 I can’t do this anymore.

Why try? I’m not good enough.

 I have negative thoughts.

I make some ugly choices.

I’m such a hypocrite.

No wonder as a Christian, I have wanted to give up in defeat. Society has painted this picture of Christians living with no depression or problems, no temptations, only positive thinking, no family problems, no alcoholics, no confusion, no hour by hour crisis and happy go lucky.

WRONG!

Honest and sincere Christians will tell you that this isn’t true. They will tell you their testimonies, their faults, their ugly choices, their confusion, their problems and temptations. They will tell you that they are not sitting above you and reach for your hand to place you right beside them.

It’s an insult to Jesus, who became poor, who died a failure in the eyes of the world. Jesus didn’t die for us to pretend that our lives are perfect. Encourage one another to let go of this picture perfect idea of a Christian and to be transparent with one another

Every person on this planet reaches that crisis point at one time or another in life. Great men of the Bible faced the same battles that you and I face every day. In my own struggles, I’ve found great comfort in knowing that God really loves me! God loves his children-failure or not.

You will have broken relationships, feelings of despair and moments of depression. In those moments, it’s up to you to inhale the word of God and exhale in prayer. If you make ugly choices, learn from them and go on.

Don’t beat yourself down and give up!

Give it to God!

Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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I call myself a Weirstian Christian. It’s southern.

 

 I was picked up from a different planet…

                                                                              tossed onto Earth.

 Here you go, weirdo. Here is your new home. Your essentials for surviving are limited. You have a mask to wear when you feel emotional, hide the real you and anything about yourself that makes you unique.

I don’t feel useful when I cover up my unique personality. Why is it so embarrassing for so many to make a fool out of themselves? I love making fun out of nothing, especially if I can make fun of myself in the process.

The best part about living…

Surprises

Like surprise, you just sat on a chocolate donut and you now have to walk around with pants that are questionable. Like, did you poo or is it chocolate? It’s now a fun mystery for everyone. I can laugh at my chocolate “poopy” pants and dance out of a bathroom in front of millions and never feel ashamed.

Summer time, I have a popsicle stained mustache, unshaved legs and a creek stained bathing suit on. You can find me sitting crisscross applesauce, on an ant filled picnic blanket, by the water. Bystanders, get a beautiful sight and an inspiring story to go back and tell their city folks. I love kicking and stretching before I jump into two feet of water. If city folks are lucky, I’ll have my goggles real tight where you can see up my nose and my bathing suit up my butt crack.

 I know what you are thinking…how embarrassing. How, Now, brown cow…

You know what’s embarrassing?

Shade

Letting shade from embarrassment, cover up my sunshine.

You know what else is embarrassing? I let…

embarrassment cripple me for years. It crippled me into thinking that I could never call myself a Christian.

 *But, I’m such a weirdo. Like, how would God love me?*

*I’m so goofy and Christians don’t have fun.*

*Christians smell weird.* (Ok, that one, I just kind of threw in there. I didn’t really think that…Muahaha)

 *And what about those “real good” Christian people? Like, I bet they are going to ask why I’m in this Church.*

And then *Boom* … It hit me like a ton of bricks…

God made me. God made every single one of us to be unique. He didn’t make us so that we can cover up our mistakes and pretend to be perfect. Absolutely not!

He doesn’t want you to be embarrassed or feel less than any other person. And guess what? Christians can act goofy, have fun and make mistakes! And even better…I’m loved! I’m loved for the person that I am and I can finally say that I love myself!

I can still be a weirdo and a Christian. Pretty awesome, huh? I thought so, too.

Fitted sheets are no joke.

Almost got it!

Pop!

 It comes off.

 And, if you’re like me, everything comes off. At that moment, if I had the strength, I’d pick up the entire bed and toss it outside, set it on fire and laugh a very evil laugh. Muahahaha…

Wait…

Just kiddin… I wouldn’t.

Or would I?

People who seem to be fit and have it all together, lose their mind, just like you and I. I mean, come on now.

Let’s be honest…

It’s the crying toddler, the dog licking his butt in the corner, the TV blaring, the notifications on your phone, the overwhelming thoughts, the broken heart and you’re just down right exhausted.

Yes, mentally.

When we see a person’s highlights, we immediately assume that they have it all together.

We don’t see the sheet being tossed across the room, stomped on and then the mattress flying out into the yard. (unless you have a neighbor) We don’t see the struggle that they had before they left their house. We don’t see the mental exhaustion, the anxiety, the overwhelming sadness and the depression.

 We see the staged, inviting, nice and fitted end result.

Nothing is perfect.

Your family isn’t perfect, your friends aren’t perfect, your Church family isn’t perfect, your kids aren’t perfect, your house isn’t perfect and guess what? You are not perfect!

Isn’t that a nice breath of fresh clean linen?

Quit beating yourself up, comparing yourself and trying to be something that doesn’t exist.

Imperfection does exist and it’s beautiful, messy and honest.

It’s freedom.

Down to Earth.

I want the ugliest dog in the shelter. I want the frizziest hair in the house on Sunday morning. I want to carry the cheapest purse and brag that I bought it at the Dollar Tree. I want to own a car that can back fire super loud in the Taco Bell drive thru.

I want the feeling

of being ashamed

to disappear from planet Earth.

I don’t mind if your pants show the top of your butt crack. I bet I have one too, if I could see back there.

I don’t mind if your breath smells bad and you forgot to brush your teeth. I’m sure we all brush a little extra on those dentist trips.

I don’t mind if you throw all of your clutter in your closet. I’m sure I have a few things hidden in mine, too.

I don’t mind if you didn’t wash your hair. I use dry shampoo and I’m on day three.

There isn’t a soul on this Earth that should make you feel ashamed or uncomfortable. I bet their bathroom smells just like yours. They might even use Walmart sacks for trash bags just like you, too.

Love people for who they are and not for who you think they should be!

If I trip over my own foot, I apologize.

Growing up, I’ve always been told that I’m too sensitive or that I just need to toughen up. I’ve always been told that I can’t save everyone nor can I save every animal.

I’ve always been told that I can’t give and keep giving because people will take advantage of me.

I always felt as if something was terribly wrong with me. I always felt the need to apologize for who I was. I always felt ashamed.

Now that I’m 30, I’ve not grown out of being too sensitive and I’ve not toughened up. I’ve not saved everyone nor have I saved every animal.

I still give even when I feel like I have nothing left to give. I give even when I know someone could possibly be taking advantage of me.

But I’ve learned…

Over the years, I love being who God intended me to be. I’ve accepted that it’s a gift for me to feel every emotion and for me to care so deeply.

I’ve accepted that it’s ok to cry. A lot. When I’m happy. When I’m sad.

I’ve accepted that I can’t change the world, but I can do my best in spreading what I have to offer.

I’ve accepted that people can and will take advantage of me, but that doesn’t mean I have to change my character. I can still give and extend love because that’s who I am. I will not let anyone harden my heart.

I’m not apologetic anymore for loving so deeply, caring so much, being empathetic and giving to the point of exhaustion. If I tried to change and “toughen up” then who would I be? I wouldn’t be who God intended me to be. I don’t want to put my feelings away and pretend that they don’t exist. I want to feel life.

I want

 to feel

every

 single drop of life.

If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a little girl, I would whisper peace into her sweet soul.

Dig into your soul.

Dig into your soul. Dig deep.

Remember the first time you experienced loss? Maybe for you, it wasn’t the loss of a loved one.

Maybe you experienced the loss of childhood, divorce or maybe an absent parent. Wherever there is loss in your soul, just know that it’s important. It’s also important for you to acknowledge it and to break away from it. Don’t let it keep you in bondage.  

Loss will take over your mind, body and spirit. Probably, even more than you realize. It can easily turn into depression and then into anger.

It’s so unbearable to watch people around you suffer.

How do you feel when you lose something? Let’s say you lose your car keys. Do you feel angry and want to yell?

More than likely, if someone knows that you have lost your car keys, they respond with love, even while you are yelling and screaming. They immediately want to help you. They are more understanding because they know you are experiencing the feeling of loss. They know you are angry because you can’t find your car keys. But is this right? Do we really need to know where the root cause of their loss comes from to help them? Do we really need to know why they are so angry before we respond with love?

In life, we don’t know people’s past or where their anger comes from. It’s not our place to question it. Why do we need to know? If we looked at everyone’s pain as loss, I think we could give more love and offer more comfort instead of neglect. Just as a baby cries, we respond with love. We don’t cry or yell back.

Try to remember that everyone needs love no matter what. I know it can be hard, especially if someone is yelling and screaming at you, but in reality, those are the people that need you the most. Those are the ones crying out for help. They are hurting over loss. It’s easy to love people that are easy to love, but with all you have in your heart, dig deep and love the unlovable.

Matthew 5:43-47

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?

Broken.

As I placed one foot onto the bed of the forrest, I acknowledged the feeling of brokenness. Why was I feeling this?

It was hard to focus or comprehend what I was seeing through the fog, but I knew that I wasn’t stopping there.

I resumed closer. I resumed deeper.

I came upon a tree that was broken and split down the middle. I wanted to know it’s history.

I studied the way it’s vines were entangled and weighing it down. 

I studied the way the branches weeped and how hollow the trunk appeared to be.

I studied the way it’s branches no longer stood tall, but leaned sideways grasping onto the closest tree.

Isn’t that what we do?

When we are broken and become entangled in darkness, do we cling to whomever is the closest? Do we grasp to whatever is in our physical reach? We most certainly do.

When the world is weighing heavy on top of our shoulders, we break.

We fall like a ton of bricks hoping someone is strong enough to catch us. We grasp to whomever we can on our way down. All of our twisted vines entangle onto them. We weep on their shoulder and wait for them to bring our hollowness back to life.

What if I told you that even the strongest tree in the forrest can uproot? 

What if I told you that even the strongest tree in the forrest can’t always carry you? 

There is strength available if you just call out. Let Him whisper. Listen. Feel. Reach up. Read his love letter. Open your heart.

You can lean on people for a little while, but you can lean on the Lord for eternity.