Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Embrace your flawed self

If you are here visiting from the "Yes to God" bible study, or if you haven't done so yet, I would love it if you could stop by HERE to say 'Hi' to my 100th post.

This is the eighth week of the online bible study, Yes to God; studying the book "Behind Those Eyes," by Lisa Whittle. If you are not yet doing the study, and want to join in, click here. Even so, if you have ever spent even a moment hiding your flaws...read on:

I will not forget the bumper sticker I saw that read,

"Christians: not perfect, just forgiven."

Yes, we live in a world where Christian's are expected to be perfect. Aaargh, the pressure. People even will say, 'I don't go to church because it is full of hypocrites.' (Ok, I could write an entire ranting post on this one, but get real, who have you met who ISN'T a hypocrite. And if you say yourself.... look up the word in the dictionary, and pull out pictures from your college days....)

We live in a world where everyone strives to BE perfect. AAAH, the PRESSURE! It is not a possible task.

We live in a world where those who are NOT perfect (um. everyone.) are gossiped about, ostricized, alienated, hung out to be 'crucified,' for falling short....

(BTW: We live in a world where He who was perfect was hung out to be crucified.)

OK. So, do you get the point?? We are NOT perfect, right? But yet, we somehow feel all this pressure that we are EXPECTED to be perfect. We actually have to live in this world that I was just talking about.

Well, diffuse the pressure! It is time to embrace your flawed self!

Why? Because:

1. It is only by understanding how flawed we are that we can truly begin to grasp the AMAZING love offered by God's free gift of grace and forgiveness.

This is the truly the heart of what Lisa's Chapter Nine was about: Early in this chapter, Lisa states, "...as people and as followers of Christ, [we] are completely flawed and yet forgiven completely." (It reminds me of that bumper sticker)...If you need help understanding how we can be so flawed, and yet so forgiven... if you need help believing this in your marrow, you will be so blessed by this chapter. Better yet, read the New Testament. Especially the parts about forgiveness..

2. Sharing your flaws, and how God has redeemed you in spite of them, points to the Glory of God and brings freedom to the captive in your soul.

I am thinking of a friend of mine. She is an alcoholic. She is sober. But she is not free. You see, she refuses to share her story. She tries to pretend that she never suffered. She tries to pretend that her past is buried. She tries to hide that she ever made a bad choice or a mistake or has a heart filled with shame. She is trying to bury it... not heal it.

But OH, God CAN heal it. He can redeem it. And, in the process, He can use her story to bring comfort, healing, peace, and hope to others!!! I still pray that she will cooperate with Him...

I have first hand knowledge of this redemption myself. The more that I share how flawed I truly am, the more I can rejoice in my own salvation! AND, I can witness God using my hurts to help a brother or sister in pain. The pain is worth it...

But I would not be able to say that if I were not willing to get REAL, share my flaws, share my mistakes, admit my sins - these are VERY unpretty sins I am talking about- and then point to the very Christ who has made me perfect in HIS sight. ("As far as the east is from the west..." -Psalm 103:12; thanks for the reminder, Lisa!).

So open up, friends. Share what He has done in your life. Tell your story. Cry with a brother or sister in pain. Let others know that you are also unperfect, just like the rest of us. Encourage with your Real-ness. Point to His redemptive abilities. Show off your wounds, and your scars, and then let someone know Who healed you.

Embrace your flawed self.

Jesus Christ has.

13 friends had a thing or two to say...:

Yolanda said...

Two things are spurring me to post this afternoon.

The bible study I am participating in just told us last week. God does no want PERFECT, He wants PASSIONATE women!

That sure takes a big load off! ;-)

And then, you used the word, EMBRACE several times. That is a word God is bringing up to me over and over.

Blessings!
Yolanda

Laura said...

I have to find one of those bumper stickers! Loved your thoughts on this chapter, Darlene. Experiencing forgiveness is just plain impossible if we didn't have all that imperfection! I've never really reflected on that and this chapter really brought it home.
Embracing it...
Laura

Paula (SweetPea) said...

You are so right, Darlene, about the freedom and liberation your friend would receive about sharing her story. There is so much blessing in sharing our pain and the story of our journeys. When we are obedient to to that for God, in return He blesses us unimaginably for doing it.

Great perspective on this chapter.

HIS Daughter said...

Beautiful post from a beautiful woman of GOD!

Women long to hear that from someone who is gorgeous and has what to many seems like the perfect life in Christ - that they admit their flaws.

To be blessed by the Father with beauty and humility is tremendous, Darlene! It is rare, even in the body of Christ.

Praying for you to continue to be an encouragement to many women!
Teri

Cindy said...

Embracing my flawed self has allowed me to embrace God's grace and mercy toward me.
If we deny our flaws then we are saying we don't need God's grace, mercy or forgiveness. How sad would that life be?!
I am so thankful that He has shown me the real me and completely forgiven the flaws I carry.
Bless you,Cindy

Tammy said...

What a great post!Sharing our stories only helps people to see who God is.

Letting God uncovering my secret,I have found healing and freedom.

Liz said...

Darlene,
Your post brings joy to my heart this morning. Your comment also encouraged me. Some days, I would rather hide all the flaws and pain that I have experienced, but it makes it so much harder to live in freedom. I was sort of whining in (in my thoughts) about having to revisit that same old yucky story in that post, but His healing and forgiveness WINS everytime!
Blessings.

KMTM1970 said...

Darlene,

Loved the post. Love the quote about Christians not being perfect just forgiven. Love the idea of sharing our flaws...takes courage but the rewards can be great not only for the one sharing but the ones who learn from it or are ministered by it.

Kristy

Happy Mama said...

Great post, Darlene. I was just talking about that with my husband.

PS Thank you for your comments. You rock too!. :-) Feel free to post a link to the post, you don't even need to ask me.
I am on my way to read your other posts.

Shannon said...

Your post really resonates with me. I believe you read my post, about my "issue"? I guess I still have a problem admitting my flaws:) BTW, The Beautiful Letdown is a song by Switchfoot, it's on my Nov.8th "Then Sings my Soul Saturday" post-great song!

Shannon said...

Your post really resonates with me. I believe you read my post, about my "issue"? I guess I still have a problem admitting my flaws:) BTW, The Beautiful Letdown is a song by Switchfoot, it's on my Nov.8th "Then Sings my Soul Saturday" post-great song!

Lelia Chealey said...

You go Darlene!!! Loved this....all of it. I used to struggle from the shame of my past too until I heard Beth Moore's teaching Cd's called "The God Who Is, Was and is to come". Life changing for me!!! God will lead what to share & when...in the meantime just share about Him!!!
Great post, I hope your friend gets to the point of surrender soon.

hkudla said...

wow, thank you for sharing this post. I have found God helping me reveal myself more and more throughout this year than ever before... and if it helps someone else, then Praise HIM!
God bless,
Heather