Something has been weighing on my mind for awhile now, something I finally got some clarity about this morning and thought I would share for two reasons...
One: I think it applies to all of us and it might be helpful to someone who might be struggling with the same thing
Two: It will be a great post to share the link to in the future, should I need to explain this to someone
As you know, I'm a fiction writer for God. My books are about the real stuff of life: sex, cursing, addiction, pregnancy, mental illness. In my writing, I allow my characters to experience the real stuff and then I allow them to work through it in a real way as a hope to those out there who might be struggling with a similar issue. While my message is Christian, I feel the experiences of my books are fitting for anyone, not just a Christian. I see them as morally-infused. It just so happens that my morals are based in God.
I started a YouTube series where I am reading my book 30 Below for free and then I give some commentary at the end of each episode. In doing this, I am explaining my reasons for making my characters do the things they do. My husband has been previewing them as I finish and after about the third one he came to me and said this...
"When you write, do you really think through all of those lessons and things as you go or does it just happen naturally? I had no idea everything in there had a purpose. It would be really easy to miss so much of that because your work is so entertaining."
I beamed with pride at so many words in those sentences. The answer to his question is BOTH. I do think through a lot of it and make my characters do what they do for reasons, but also I feel like God just gives it to me and if I'm obedient... it all just fits together perfectly. I was glad to know he picked up on that and that he thinks my books are entertaining. I'm so blessed to have him... he is a wonderful man, one I take for grated far too often. (Sorry honey, I'm trying to do better.)
As I continued recording my videos and doing my commentary, I have begun to feel like... I'm not worthy to give these messages. That perhaps I am going to do more harm than good to God's mission and it gave me pause. Why? Well, I'm a very flawed person. Very. Yet, I'm sitting here writing about people who turn to God and resolve their issues with His help. I began to feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and wonder if I should continue. I mean, what if someone were to find out just how flawed I am? Would my work then be discredited? Would God's movement in my life be seen as not enough? Over-all would it all be just plain hypocritical and do more harm than good? I got scared and started to feel like I needed to be more perfect just so I don't disappoint the Lord.
Perfection. Yes, if I could do a perfect job at living this life... then my words won't come back to haunt me. But unfortunately, perfection is not within my grasp. Yes, it is my job, especially as a person who is actively pursuing this career to further God's loving reach to be the best I can be... but honestly, I'm just really dang flawed. There is so much to work on to be better that I get overwhelmed when I think about it. And that's when I feel like quitting.
But here's what God had for me this morning as I listened in silence:
Aside from Jesus, God has always used very flawed people to share His love with the world. Always. Why, you ask? Well, who better to reach the flawed than a person who is also flawed. It's relate-able, it's authentic, it gains trust, it's credible and it's the only way He can reach others through a person here on earth since all of us are very flawed.
Let's say you are a person who struggles with gossiping. If a person who claims to have never gossiped came to you and said, "You should really work on your gossiping, other people have noticed it and you should stop." How likely are you to listen to their statement and work on it? Since they claim to have never gossiped, they have no advice for you on how to stop... and if they gave you some, how credible would that advice be? Most likely you would walk away grumbling about hypocrisy.
I myself have struggled with gossip for many years. I have an attraction to drama and gossip stirs it up but what I have learned is that gossip says a lot more about me, than it does about anyone else. It says I am not trust-able. It says I don't respect other people's privacy. It says I am judgmental. It says I am not a good friend or confidant. In the end, it creates distance with people who I actually want to be close with and, it makes me feel disappointed in myself at the end of the day. One thing is for certain, if you are hearing gossip from a person... that person is most likely going to gossip about you too when you're not around. Who wants a friend like that?
Since realizing all of that, I have worked hard at trying not to gossip. I pray asking God to help me be a good friend who respects other people's stories and experiences - they are theirs to tell, not mine. I try to think before I speak and make sure what I'm about to say is appropriate. I do my best not to listen to gossip, as it leads to me wanting to gossip. I fight my urge for drama, reminding myself that being centered is much better for me. I still fail at times though. *sigh*
That's me - I'm flawed. I admit it. I'm a hypocrite. But I share the ugly parts of myself with the hope of helping someone with my experience. I've broken nearly every commandment (probably all of them in some way). That's what I write about... my experience and what I've learned so I need to stop being scared that someone will attack me for not being perfect. I need to just do my best and trust God.
The apostle Paul is my favorite... I especially like what he says here...
"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."
Paul knew exactly how I feel now. I know better, yet I still fail. I make willful decisions to act incorrectly. I make accidental mistakes that lead to sin. I forget about God and behave like me... often. Yet, God has called me to be used by Him to reach others and I will be obedient to that call. Anyone who has a problem with that can take it up with God. You will never hear me say I'm perfect... you will only hear me say, "The only reason I know this... is because I'm guilty."
Have an amazing day! And try your best to do the next best right thing. I'm trying!