Friday, July 25, 2008

Practice What Thouest Preach

It's been a while. I could give the Christian answer, and say that with all the stuff I've been going to(Wheatstone/Rebelution) and preparing for(Jr Camp), and reading(The Screwtape Letters, Do Hard Things(again), Passionate Conviction, etc.), recently, I've needed some time to process. I could take the business route, and say that since my cousin moved in(the 15th) I've been trying to make her feel more at home (by *cough* playing video games).

And there's the truth. I've been somewhat avoiding this place. I'd mentioned in my first post that I struggled with a particular sin for six years. During that time I became a master at hiding. I've begun to finally overcome that struggle. The problem is, now I'm struggling with openness.

Even the Rebelution conference highlighted this for me, and it really didn't have much of anything to do with openness. When he asked if anyone would stand, I almost did. I got to the point where I said if anyone I knew stood I would. My mom did. Before I could work up the courage he'd already moved on.

Thinking about it, I was on an emotional high and didn't need to stand. It was the same sort of thing I'd done ten dozen and one times. One pastor's kid puts it that he was 'saved every time his dad preached'. My youth pastor says he 'wore out the rededication program'. My problem wasn't that I didn't have the precise exact spiritual high for being saved. It's that I'd walk towards God, and as life set back in, I'd quietly turn and walk right back to where I was. Sure, I'd remain in youth group, in helping at this or that ministry, going to this or that Bible study, but I'd stepped back. I just kinda watched myself go through it.

Was I no longer Christian because I wasn't on an emotional supercharge? Of course not, but that's when I stopped acting like it. I went through motions because I hoped I would get that supercharge back, not realizing that wasn't what being a Christian was.

What does this have to do with avoiding this blog? Openness. I don't think anyone knows what various things I've tried to respark that supercharge. I'm pretty positive my parents don't know about the struggle I faced for six years. And I'm not sure if even I know who I am without so many panels of painted glass between me and everyone else.

And it terrifies me. The thought of taking those panels away, stripping away the secrets, so I can actually be a person, not a 'perfect Christian'. Afterall everyone around me is standing so tall. If they struggle it's probably something tolerable, like lying, or anger with their siblings. Not something so terrible as what mine is.

God views them the same, but we don't. And it scares me to death, wondering if they would look at me different were they to know the truth. Would they hate me for it? Would I be cast away? Would my parents even be able to look at me again? Shame. Guilt. Fear.*

My youth pastor tells us that everytime you teach on something, that's the exact thing you're going to face. I guess I didn't think of that when I started this blog, or quite how many secrets I had. You keep them so long, it's hard to remember where they end and you begin.

I began this blog telling you the importance of sharing your secrets. Now I'm pointing that same finger back at me. I need the same thing. So I ask that you pray for me as well, as I go through this same painful task, and perhaps, I can reveal what wisdom I gain from the experience.**

And mayhaps we may all enjoy a truer deeper fellowship, and in the walk of 'Do Hard Things', a more rewarding collaboration.

*A very small part of me says that I shouldn't because I don't want to make it seem like my parent's fault. I don't want to blame them. In a way, they did nothing to prevent it, certain events may have encouraged it. (But I still chose it.)

And no this part isn't really being charitable, it's just coming up with excuses.

** I'd mentioned that my friends and I had shared some of our struggles one night. But we didn't exactly move on from there in the right way, in some ways, at all. My next post is going to be about that, so don't worry if it seems I'm starting at the end.


Hillary Hipps said...

I see what you are saying and commend you for being honest. I often find my self, especially at church with people my own age, hiding the fact that I am struggling with this divorce. I often want so badly to fit in that I will hide behind a mask so to say and pretend everything is just fine.

Tiffany said...

A hard thing to do -walking the walk and not just talking the talk- I've come to slowly realize. I know exactly what you mean when you say "emotional high." It's almost like God's there one minute and gone the next, yet you know that He's still there even when you can't "feel" Him. I think those are times when He's saying to us (or at least to me), "Will you still follow Me even though it feels like I'm not there? Will you trust Me enough to work through you in your everyday life?" I get a whole new meaning of the word "Faith". It's not just a one-time thing for my salvation, but an integral part of my everyday life.

When I start to think about how others will think of me, or how I will be accepted if I do this or not do this, I have to remember of what Christ went through for me. And when I do, I wonder at how I could ever think of such silliness as to what others thought of me when the One Who gave His life for me are the only thoughts I should be concerned about! But...*sighs*'s a fear that I have to overcome time and again, and I'm sure I'll have to face more of it. (One of those constant battles of the flesh things...)

I struggle with openness too. Sometimes I feel that in doing so, it would mean I'm selfish. But I wonder if it's just another excuse to clam up and lock the key to my heart...

Sean said...

Aye. Which is why good Christian fellowship is so important, so we may "spur one another towards love and good deeds." Unfortunately more often we seem to be spurred towards greater levels of complacency, foolishness, sin, or immaturity.

And openness is one of our core needs if we are to be developing fellowship. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to make it easier. :(

Why is it that we have this idea that hiding our struggles somehow means we're a better Christian?

Tiffany said...

I don't know. Maybe it's because we think of Christianity as something that has to be perfect, and showing our weaknesses completely blows that idea away. I guess we forget that it's in our weaknesses that God can be glorified most. We think that maybe sharing and being open about who we are, bashes Christians and the Christian way of living. All of a sudden, we start hurting the Christian faith more than we realize. Pride and legalism can set in and we eventually start to see that we've pushed people away from Christ instead of drawing them. But we've also pushed ourselves away from other believers. And instead of exhorting and helping each other to live for Christ, we're torn apart.

Funny how that is-you'd think that if we were to be divided, it'd be because someone from the outside has come in and stirred things up. But a lot of times it's the exact opposite; we're divided from the inside out...

Hillary Hipps said...

I think we hide our struggles because of our pride. We want people to think that we are 'good Christians' and we have this false idea that 'good Christians' don't have struggles so we hide them so people will think good things about us, or so we think.

Thank is what I think...

Hillary Hipps said...


How are you? Praying for you.

Bethany said...

I dont know you but I found your blog and I'm very impressed. I am encouraged by your honesty and willingness to change. Keep it up.