Sunday, April 17, 2011

Flaws and all

Here is my thought for the day: "When people are real and allow you to see their flaws and struggles you get to see Jesus. It isn't about our perfection. It is about His perfection through us. When people are fake and try to make others believe their lives are perfect, you not only miss what's real, but you make you the focus. By allowing God to shine through our weakness we see true beauty. Beauty that only comes from being real."

Have you ever received one of those Christmas cards that is a letter of what the entire family has done over the year? You read it and then think something is wrong with your family. How about lining up for a family portrait? Are you able to get everyone in the picture with someone killing another?  Now that is real! We put on such a show. Why? God forbid someone think we have problems. We want others to believe we have the perfect job, the perfect spouse, the perfect children and live in the grandest home. We want others to think that all our dreams have come true. We live in a fairy tale. Why are we so caught up in what other people think of us?

Lets just be real. Gosh, I know there are people who don't like me. I know, shocking, right? I have learned not to pay attention. When another judges me it gives me more cause to be real. It is that very reality that threatens others. We don't want to see our imperfections and we sure don't want others to see them. I am who I am, mistakes and all. I can look back upon my life and see how the Lord has blessed. How He and only He has brought me through each and every mess.

A mess you say? Yes, a mess caused by me trying to be perfect. Trying to live that perfect life. That life that holds no blemish. That isn't my life. As hard as I try I will never be perfect and am I really suppose to be? If I am perfect and my life is so grand why then would I need a Savior? It is those very struggles that brings me to Him. Through each and every challenge I go to Him for strength. It wasn't always that way. I didn't go to Him. I tried to do it all on my own and in my way. As Dr. Phil would ask, "How's that workin' for ya?" It wasn't working. The more I tried to clean up the more of a mess I made.

Life is dirty. Life brings tragedy. It brings struggles of every kind. Only Jesus Christ can wash me clean. He and only He can make me white as snow. It was through the tragedy of His death that He brought me life. A life that can only be all it is to be if I live each moment in Him. I cannot control all around me.

My life is an open book. I have good stories to share and I too have those that break my heart. But each story, each chapter is part of me. The good, the bad and the ugly. When we try so hard to make others think we live a perfect life, we no longer make it about Christ. When we make our life about Him and only Him, it's okay for others to see our trials and failures. It is through those very times in my life where Jesus has come through and brought with Him a measure of grace and mercy. He has given me a heaping dose of grace.

To be humble is not to stand in front of others and put on a show. It's okay if our kids don't fit the mold of that perfect family. It's okay if our husband doesn't make as much as he once did. It's okay if you have fallen down and slipped in the muck and mire of life. I never want to stand in front of another and make them think I am something I am not. But we do! We like to say what we do or where we live, but that isn't us. That is only a small part of who we are. Where we live is not what lives within our heart.

Answer this question; "Who are you?" When we think of answering we might think back to our past. We might see our mistakes. The judgement. The names. We are fearful for others to see what we see. What we try to hide. I am Robin Prater, daughter of the King of kings. What "I" have done isn't what matters. It's who "Jesus" is in me that matters. No matter how hard I try to make life perfect, it isn't going to be until Jesus returns. It is then that we will see how much time we wasted trying to show others how perfect we are. Too many times we allow our insecurities to bring us to cover up our life. When we are insecure with who we are we want others to think we are something we are not. It's easy to fall into that trap. When we surrender our past, our present and our future to Christ we give Him reign over our lives. Only honor and glory can come from that.

If we look to Hollywood we see women afraid of growing older. They want to cover up every imperfection. Some are willing to go through surgery after surgery to hide that tummy after having a baby. To cover those wrinkles brought on by the sun. After many of these women get done they don't even look real any longer. Isn't that sad?

If you have lived the first part of your life being an alcoholic and now your clean and sober, share your life. The good, the bad and the ugly. Share the redemption and healing that has taken place. Before we share the grace, we must share the mess. I lived the first part of my life not knowing Jesus. Believe me, I carry a lot of baggage. Baggage that I have given Christ. Baggage that He has turned into blessings. Blessings I never thought could come from such a mess. I am not happy with some of the decisions I have made, but I am not afraid to share them. I know there are others out there who have made a mess of things. Praise God is doesn't end there. It's not our perfection that saves us. It's Jesus Christ.

I am finally getting it. Finally, at forty-four years old. If I am really getting it now, I can only imagine all else there is for me to soak up. Each time we give God room in our life that gives room for an "aha" moment. Friends, the less of us there is in the room, the more of Him will show up for others to see.

I like sitting up front in church. The closer I am to the altar the better. I love sitting close to my Sunday School teacher. That is simply how I have always been. It's not because I want to be seen. It's because I don't want to miss a single moment. It seems the closer I am the more I soak in. Some people are hands on learners. I am one who just has to see. If I can have a clear view of whoever is leading or teaching I am going to grasp more.

As geese flew overhead this morning, it was as though they said, "Good morning, Good morning!!" I simply stood with my head back watching them. These two geese fly over every single morning. Each time I see them it is like the first. I look at them with beauty. I am in awe of God's creation around me. Just as I am the people in my life. God places each one in my path for a reason. I believe that with all my heart. There isn't one person I can't learn something from. I can only pray that through my life others can be blessed. See, these geese remind me that each morning is new. Each morning is another chance for me to give Jesus all my imperfections so He can create something of beauty through them.

I have made some huge mistakes. We all have in our mind what that perfect life is. We can close our eyes and picture it. Try it. What do you see? Do we see Jesus or do we see the world? Isn't it those very things of the world that we think we need for perfection? Sinners are some of the happiest people on earth. Before we are found we must realize we are lost. (Thank you, Bro. Ben) Think about that and let it soak in. How do we show a lost person they are in need of a Savior? How do we explain they are lost if we are worried about showing them how perfect we are?

It's time to simply be real. While we spend so much time being fake we are turning others away from Jesus. People know when we are being fake. When we open up and live our lives sharing our imperfections we can lead others to Christ. We can show others how much we need Him. Through each circumstance that touches our life brings opportunity for God to do something big. If we are stuck on what others think of us we are only going to show others the world's view of perfection.

Why don't we spend less time trying to prove we are a perfect Christian and more time humbling ourselves before Christ? We point fingers. We judge our Christian brothers and sisters. We are so quick to fix others. Might today be the day we begin within our own selfish heart. When it all comes down to it, isn't that really what it is? Selfishness? In wanting others to think so highly of us, is nothing but selfishness. We are taking the light off Christ and placing it on our achievements and deeds.

We are all sinners in need of grace. We will never be sinless, but we can sin less. We can stop looking at ourselves as we are better and begin looking to Jesus for all we are to be. A reflection of Him.
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