Is Your Life a Pinterest Fail?

hedgehog-cake-pinterest-fail

2 Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness ” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

It used to be only commercials, magazines, movie stars and the occasional neighbor that made us take a look at our lives and wonder why we couldn’t harness the same perfection that seemingly oozes from their pores.

Now we have social media, and anyone can create the illusion that their life is that amazing.  A friend posted about a trip they were planning, and I thought to myself, “Isn’t that their third vacation this year?”  It instantly made me revert to the memory of us taking our six kids on vacation a few years back.  Our destination was an amusement park in Ohio.  We stopped for breakfast and to our horror, the lady from the Waffle House apparently was so proud of the waffle she had just made that she patted it before turning to us and serving it.  When we checked into our hotel the night before and headed to our rooms,  we walked through tumble weeds of dirt, dust, and debris in the hallway and were greeted with forgotten medication on the floor next to our bed from the previous occupants.  Yeah, none of that went on Facebook.

I can’t figure out how people have this much money and time to have so much fun.  I feel like I’m dredging along through my work day, running kids to their activities, pretending the dinners I serve on the fly actually do have some nutritional value, and collapsing to watch TV when I should be sleeping because I desperately need some mind numbing time to myself.  My beautifully puckered lips or perfect hair day never lands on my social media because frankly, those moments never exist for me.  I did post a video of my guinea pig in the pocket of my sweatshirt eating his carrot.   I don’t think too many people viewed that post and thought, “Man I wish my life could be like hers,” though.

The thing is, my life is perfect.  It’s not perfectly polished without hair-blowing moments or untarnished days, but it’s made perfect through my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Jesus isn’t asking us to be like our neighbor.  He is asking us to be like Him and love our neighbor.

I can celebrate with my friend for going on her fifth vacation in six months because Jesus saved me.  I can look at pictures of someone’s freshly installed new wood floors as I scrub the contents of my cats sensitive stomach staining my carpet for the hundredth time because Jesus’ perfection isn’t defined by my flooring.  I can walk through a house that has so many stories it reminds me of a wedding cake as I lie my head on my pillow in my small ranch because Jesus says one day, I will be in His house.  Jesus doesn’t care about the bow we try to put on our lives to make us look perfect. He only cares about our willingness to humble ourselves and admit that we aren’t perfect by asking for His perfection to cover us.  When we see glimmering and shining lives, He sees the real us with our real hurts and issues and no matter how much we cover them, He is there to love us through them.

Perfection is the opposite of what Christ asks us to be.  It’s no surprise to Him that we carry dings and bruises, yet how many people avoid church, decide against praying, or won’t talk to that Christian because they feel they are supposed to be “perfect” in order to belong.  I remember after falling away from God for a while, I desperately wanted to come back to Him but felt He wouldn’t want me mucking up His church with the sin dripping from my body.  I remember during this time period avoiding my Christian friends because I didn’t want to feel their judgmental stares.  My life had become a Pinterest fail, and I morphed into Eve hiding in the Garden pretending God couldn’t see me and believing my friends wouldn’t want me.  Silly girl.

The enemy uses so many devices, and His greatest weapon is our own desire to be perfect.  When we fall from the bar we set for ourselves, he is right there letting us know we will always fall short and God can’t stand losers and failures.  He tries to convince us that our unworthiness is now a branded letter on our foreheads and all of the good people can see us coming for miles and miles.  We view ourselves as damaged goods and need to be returned to the manufacturer.

The truth is we are all damaged goods.  Our DNA was damaged the second the fall occurred and yes, we do need to be returned.  We need to have a “return to sender” stamped on us because He is the only one who can fix us!  We need to voluntarily put ourselves in that cart behind the counter of Wal-Mart labeled “damaged” because we will be wheeled back to our manufacturer, and we should be grabbing all of the other damaged customers to take along with us.  Basically, that would be the whole store but by His supernatural power, we will all fit in the same cart.  Some will jump in with us, but some will prefer we just wheel on by them.

The next time the fiery dart of envy tries to aim at your heart just remember, we are made perfect in Christ, and it’s only with Him we should be mirroring our comparison.  Our perfection has nothing to do with the beach pictures or perfectly prepared meals we could never fix.  I own that my life is a Pinterest fail.  That’s what makes me His.


Is There Really Only One Way?

John 14:6-7
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one can come to the Father except through me.  If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.  From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” (NLT)

You are dying.  There is only one neurosurgeon in the world that can perform the type of operation that will save your life, but he is a long distance away and you would have to make some sacrifices to see him.  You have two good neurosurgeons in the city where you live. They have never performed this type of  operation before but said they would try.  You like them and its convenient.  There is only one shot at this.  Would you choose one of them, or seek out the one who is guaranteed to save your life?

Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (NIV)

You and your kids are caught in a fire in a a movie theater.  Everyone is rushing to the closest exit and pushing and shoving to go through the easiest access point.  You spot another exit further away, but few people are heading that direction and you would have to go against the crowd to get there.  Which one would you choose?

Everyday we have choices.  It is one of the gifts that God has given to us from the very beginning of our existence.  While in Eden, God didn’t have to plant the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  He planted it to give Adam and Eve a choice.  They could choose to trust God or choose to understand like God.  God knew the truth about good and evil, but Adam and Eve didn’t.  When tempted, Satan used that very argument to convince them to choose the latter.  This decision was very unfortunate for you and for me.

Now we are stuck knowing good from evil.  That is great and all because I like to see the shadows from the light, but that is only helpful while on this side of Heaven.  It sure would have been nice just living in the presence of God with that tree completely ignored for an eternity.

Their decision is now our decision.  So many people get frustrated that Jesus is the only way.  They wonder how this possibly could be true?  It seems very vain and exclusive, doesn’t it?  I mean really.  THE only way?  I might as well forget it.  I might as well run to the exit from the burning fire licking my coattails where everyone else is going.  I might as well pick the surgeon in my backyard and hope for the best, right?

I often wonder why people view Jesus as such a big bad bear that bonks people on the head and tells them how awful they are, and if they don’t follow Him they will forever be hated by God.  That following Jesus means giving up everything that is fun and joyful and we must wear these lead handcuffs and perform multiple acts of goodness for this bear to even glance in our pitiful direction.  I am always amazed how people view Jesus as anything but the Savior that He came to be.  Satan is doing a very effective work blinding us from the truth.

Following Jesus would be exclusive if He excluded certain people and only loved and saved a certain type of person.  Is your heart beating? Then He came to save you.  That is His only criteria.  Following Jesus would zap your joy and fun only if He hated Joy.  In John 15:11 Jesus said, “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy.  Yes, your joy will overflow!”

Sin initially feels fun and joyful doesn’t it?  How often do we run down this path in the dark only to see it as it really is when the sun begins to shine?  Sin isn’t so pretty then, is it?  It’s not fun and joyful when the light hits and we look around and our marriages are destroyed, our families are broken apart, and our integrity is in shambles.

Jesus didn’t come to zap our fun.  Who created love and gave Himself unto death out of love?  He came to zap our sin.  Remember Adam and Eve’s decision?  Because of the decision they made, we are forced to make ours.  Sin is covering us like Saran™ wrap.  We were born into sin because of the fall.  Jesus came from glory to live in our Saran™ wrap world so He could make a way for us to uncover ourselves from this clinging, suffocating, strangling hold it has on us.  All He asks is that we admit we are sinners, ask for Him to unwrap this from our bodies, and choose to keep sin at the foot of the cross and follow Him.

My personal sin decisions still have scars that are gouged into my heart.  They weren’t much fun.  Jesus wasn’t there to wag his finger at me, either.  He was there to love me and free me from the hold sin had on me.  Following Jesus doesn’t mean we are overburdened and have to live life like a monk.  Satan likes us to believe this lie.  Don’t.

Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV)

Raise your hand if you have burdens, feel weary, and need rest? I don’t think I can stretch my hand high enough to show this is me.  Does partying offer you rest?  Does an affair unburden you? Does lying make you feel gentle?  Does cheating on an exam make you feel humble?  Insert any sin and answer these questions honestly.

Now that the fruit has been eaten and we all have the knowledge of good and evil, can you admit that there are times in your life that you have sinned?  That the choice you made wasn’t in the direction of good?  That sometimes we can feel like we just keep wrapping ourselves in another layer of Saran™?  We think not choosing Christ is the easy answer because following Him is too hard.  Unburden yourself and choose joy and freedom.  I don’t know of anyone else that willingly gave up everything and died so I could be set free of my sin.  Jesus didn’t choose the easy answer.  He chose the best answer.  Now it’s your turn.