Real

Warning: This is long…

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they’ll soon discover
That I don’t belong

So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I’ll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who’s been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who’s traded
In the altar for a stage

The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be

Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay

Well if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small

~”Stained Glass Masquerade” by Casting Crowns

This song has been rolling around in my head for a few days. I wonder how many of us go to church, or even live out our daily lives, feeling like we can’t be real. And how many of us show up on Sundays with a smile painted on, when inside we just feel like crying? I know that there have been many times when I have felt this way, but I’ve been afraid to show it because I don’t want to seem any less “together” than the next person. Why is it that the one place where believers–and everyone else, for that matter–should feel most free to be themselves is the one place where everyone becomes an actor in a play of happy people? Why do we have such a hard time admitting that our lives aren’t perfect, that things aren’t always “fine,” that Christianity isn’t a lifetime of nonstop highs?

The truth is, I struggle. Christianity is hard for me. And it should be hard because I believe that those things in life that are most difficult are the most worth it. I am horribly selfish, horribly arrogant, horribly inconsistent. I want to believe that God is in control and that His ways are best, but sometimes my rebellious heart wants to take control, thinking that I can somehow do a better job. I don’t always want to spend time with Jesus, but I know that when I do I’ve never wished I hadn’t. I battle with depression on an almost daily basis. I’m on an antidepressant, but I don’t tell many people that because I’m afraid of being judged. I even stopped taking it last summer because I felt guilty and like I was a “bad Christian” for having problems. And you know what? Last semester was a nightmare the majority of the time, and I believe I could have been spared a lot of it had I not been too proud to accept the help that God provides me, in whatever form He chooses to provide it. Now that I’ve been taking the medication again, my walk with the Lord is stronger and more vibrant than it’s been in a while. So if that makes me a “bad Christian,” then I don’t want to be a “good” one. (Even as I type this, I’m afraid of clicking that “submit” button because what I’m writing here leaves me very vulnerable. But you know what? There’s a lot to be said for vulnerability. It certainly makes it much harder to prideful.)

I’m tired of feeling like I can’t be real. This is who I am: I’m an inconsistent, emotional, melancholy girl who succeeds and fails, laughs and cries, thinks too much, wishes for that fairytale romance, hopes for all things good, doubts and believes, worries and trusts, loves and longs to be loved. This is who I am, and what is incredibly liberating about the jumbled mess that I am is that I can do or say nothing to make Jesus love me any more than He already does right now.

He loves you. Believe and be satisfied.

Psalm 145: 14-16: The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

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