In this world, we are surrounded with messages of perfectionism, measures and milestones of what it means to be successful. All too often, we look at ourselves in the mirror and see anything but perfection or success. What do you see when you look in the mirror?
When I looked in the mirror, I saw a girl who got pregnant at 18, who became a college dropout, a single mom with lots of tattoos. I saw a mom who still struggles with depression and yells at her kids more often than she’d like to admit. Everything I saw in my reflection disqualified me from being enough of anything - I’m not enough to be a good mother, not enough to be a “proper” pastor’s wife, and definitely not enough to be an example of faith. Surely, with all my inadequacies and imperfections, I’m not a good enough Christian to be sharing the gospel.
Have you ever found yourself believing similar things?
> I don’t know enough about the Bible to talk about it with someone.
> I’m not a perfect Christian, so if I share Jesus, I’ll just be a hypocrite.
> I’m still trying to figure things out - who am I to lead people?
> I just don't have enough time to make disciples or evangelize
> Someday I’ll get around to sharing Jesus…
The woman I see standing before me in the mirror is riddled with insecurities, flaws that Holy Spirit is working on in her heart. The woman I see is tired from juggling church life, marriage, children, working from home, and household chores. It’s just a season, she tells herself, Someday, I’ll be a good enough Christian to be qualified for ministry work.
I took this worldly culture of striving for perfection, success, and being enough, and without realizing it, applied it to my faith.
As a Christian, it can be easy to define our lives by all we should be - we should be more Christlike, we should be more patient, curse less, show more compassion, vote a certain way, dress a certain way, act a certain way at the grocery store in case someone sees you - the list goes on and on. I read the list of the Fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control - and I can’t claim true “success” to any of those! Just as I see one appear in my life, I fail in at least three others.
But in all of this worry, all of this struggle to be good enough - we’re focused on our own efforts when Ephesians 2:8 clearly tells us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” .
We’re so focused on ourselves and who we need to be, that we tend to miss the point. It isn't about who WE want to be, it’s about who GOD is, has been, and always will be!
Being a Christian isn't about me being more of anything, it's about God being everything.
The world tells us we have to be more, be better and have more. But Jesus flipped the world upside-down with his love, grace and sacrifice - He paid it all, so that we don't have the burden of being more of anything, the perfect anything, or enough of anything.
It isn't about us. And when we make it about us, we’re missing the point. We’re missing out on what God has planned. We’re missing out on furthering the Kingdom of God right where we’re at - no matter how messy, no matter how imperfect - we’ve got Kingdom work to do.
And so now what? How do we share Jesus, how do we make disciples and serve our community when we feel like we don't have it all together?
This answer came to me just this past year when I served in youth ministry. I was given the opportunity to share my testimony - the real, raw, unedited version. I shared about deciding to have sex when I was in high school, about becoming a single mom, about going out drinking and dancing and seeking approval and validation in all the wrong places. I shared about how God revealed Himself to me, how Jesus scooped me up out of the darkest depression and literally saved me. So many people approached me, touched by the realness in my testimony and were open with me about their struggles.
It was so clear to me then. You see, I just gave what I had. A messy, imperfect testimony. I may not know all the books of the bible, I may still struggle with anxiety, but instead of worrying about what I’m not, I focused on who God is. It is in the lack of my own perfection that God’s absolute perfection and goodness and grace could shine all the more brightly.
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Now when I look in the mirror, I don't say someday I’ll be good enough to share the gospel. Now I see a woman, confident in knowing that God is already great enough to be shared.
To reach the next generation of Christians - whether that’s in youth ministry, your neighborhood, or with your coworkers - we don't have to be perfect. God already is perfect. Give what you have, share what He has already done. Someday is today.