When Your Way of Practicing Christianity Gets "ALL SHOOK UP"- by @ShelleyHendrix
Free to be ME
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 TNIV
For most of my life I seemed to be doing quite well in my Christian life and journey, even through some really tough bumps in the road. I didn’t realize how much or how often I was relying on my own strength, my own wisdom, or my own abilities to get through tough times.
I read my Bible.
I attended and volunteered at my church.
I was very good at “doing.”
I thought that since it was my responsibility to “die to self,” and “live for Christ,” that I was doing my utmost to make that happen with utmost sincerity.
Can I be completely honest? Without truly realizing this about myself, the truth was that I wanted to impress God with how much I could love Him and how good I could make Him look to others—I thought this was the way He wanted me to live my life.
But there was a problem with this way of living: Striving with all my might to be as close to perfect as humanly possible, to check off "the list," to perform well enough for God, others, & even myself, kept my relationships completely guarded. I wore a different mask for different people and different settings--but I wasn't even aware of it! Allowing God to remove the masks, one by one, started out with unrelenting pain. Actually, my willingness to even allow this was as a result of God showing me how I COULD NOT handle life on my own, nor did He ever expect me to even attempt to do this.
It was torturous to my mind and emotions that had been stuck in the same patterns for so long. Those masks are usually glued on tightly enough that we don't even see them in the mirror or feel them hiding our faces, and we have NO clue how much they are impacting our own vision and perception of the world and others, much like the masks we don for costume parties . I thought I was the most sincere and ‘real’ person I knew. For most of us who have learned this way of living—especially as Believers in Jesus—it can be the shock of our lives to find out we aren’t as “authentic” as we’ve perceived ourselves to be.
Okay, with this in mind, take a DEEP BREATH with me here… “Until the pain is greater than the payoff, there will be no change.”
God loved me enough to confront me with truth. Learning to trust His skillful hands to do the kind of surgery only He can do, opened my life up in countless ways and has given me opportunities to be truly known...and deeply loved. To be free—indeed!
The masks may have looked more appealing than the real me, but it definitely wasn’t worth the relational isolation it required to maintain. Knowing Christ intimately, and knowing Christ IN Shelley has made every single ounce of discomfort and pain MORE than worth it.
His Grace still amazes me! ************ "All Shook UP" is the theme of this year's AWAKEN 1-Day Conference hosted by Church 4 Chicks on November 8. Deadline to register is October 31st and you can do that here on the blog (right hand column) or www.church4chicks.ticketbud.com ~ We would love to see you there!
You can find Shelley's website, social media links and more at www.ShelleyHendrix.com but you'll typically find her sipping coffee, taking pics of sunrises and sunsets in her new coastal hometown or wrestling with her crazy Beaglador named Annie.