Tag Archives: Christian life

Girl, Quit Washing Your Face

9 Apr

When I was a teen and in my early 20’s, I struggled a lot with acne break-outs. I felt ugly and embarrassed. I’d cover up with make-up, but those pesky pimples would always poke through. I tried different products: chemical ones I had to order specially in the mail, natural ones that smelled like hippies and half a paycheck. Some things would clear my face up for a bit, but eventually I’d break-out again.

About 6 or 7 years ago, I stopped washing my face completely. Maybe I just got lazy or gave up, but also I remembered something grandma had told me years ago: the only thing you need for your face is a washcloth and some warm water.

So I tried it. I used coconut oil sparingly just to remove stubborn make-up. And I haven’t had a breakout since. Maybe one or two triggered by hormones or stress pimples, but they always go away quickly.

Sometimes, less is more. Sometimes you don’t need to follow the latest trend, spend money on the newest product, or join the latest MLM.

Sometimes you just need to go back to the basics.

Do less, not more.

When I was in my teens and early 20’s, I wanted badly to “be a good Christian.” I struggled with consistancy, with returning to those bad habits and sins that kept me feeling ugly.

I went through humanity’s tired cycle: mess up, cover it up, eventually repent, try to do better, succeed for a little bit, then mess up again.

I looked in the mirror and the only thing I saw was my flaws. The answer, of course, was always to do more.

I just need to read my bible more, or even better, the newest christian best-seller that unlocks the secrets of the bible!

I need to pray longer.

I need to cut things out of my life that were junk for my soul.

I need to sacrifice, to serve God in “fulltime minstry,” go into all the world, be a martyr, give up everything in order to be a “world-changer.”

Shape up.

Clear up.

Fix yourself, because Jesus died for you.

Because that’s what Christianity is about…..right?

The hustle of “working out your faith.”

The radical idea that because we have been given everything, we now need to do everything.

Join the club, pay the membership fee, and then make sure you sell the product to others because it will change their lives too!

Work your way up to the gold level, get the rewards you deserve, if not here on earth, than surely in heaven.

In the midst of the hustle, we don’t realize we are ruining friendships by always being ready to sell.

We are so busy striving and pushing (all in the name of bettering ourselves and others) we don’t realize we are still staring in the mirror.

We trade real, raw relationships for a marketing opportunity.

We trade the power of the gospel for a self-help book.

We trade Jesus for a nice, man-made idea:

That we can be better if we just DO more.

Not realizing that is in fact the complete contradiction of amazing grace.

My grandma lived for nearly a century. Her skin was beautiful. At the time I thought her advice was silly and old-fashioned. Only water?! How will that clear my skin? Besides, what would people think? Won’t I be all greasy? Won’t that be gross?

It can’t be that simple, right?

You know when Jesus said “My yoke is easy, my burden is light” he was serious.

He knew it applied to people like me: a tired mom living in a weird culture where everyone glorifies the busy, the hustle, the striving for perfection.

(Or maybe it’s always been that way?)

Now, I am not saying that we should all give up on our dreams, our children, and our faith and just sit in bed binging on Netflix.

What I am saying, the older I get the more I realize that less is more.

Sometimes we need to stop striving and just be.

Sometimes sitting in the stillness is the most “productive” thing we could do.

Maybe we need to just rest and let what Jesus did for us be enough.

Maybe we need to get away from the mirror and look up.

Maybe we need to quit looking at opportunities to better ourselves and just look at Jesus.

Let Him wash us in the water of the word.

Let Him bring the right people into our lives.

Let Him bring us TRUE success.

Let His bread and wine be our sustenance.

Let Him finish the work He started in us.

He’s already made us clean.

He’s already made us enough.

Now we get to rest in it.

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When I Can’t Stand Reading the Bible

11 Jun

I’ve read a lot of random books in the past few weeks. I gritted my teeth as I read about Aron Ralston cutting through his arm to save himself from his boulder prison in Between a Rock and a Hard Place. I LOL-ed constantly at David Sederis’ wit in Me Talk Pretty One DayI was shocked and disgusted at the abuse one woman suffered in being in a fundamental polygamist cult in Escape.

But I haven’t really read much of the bible. Sometimes I just don’t want to at all. It is not because I am avoiding God, or because I believe I can attain truth elsewhere, I really just haven’t wanted to read it.

I know it is truth and I know it is life and it would probably make me feel stronger and believe deeper, but I still wonder if I should force myself to do something when I don’t know why I am doing it.

I used to read the bible out of obligation. It seems like a different lifetime, but I felt God would be pleased with me, that I would be a better Christian.

At times I would read it because I would get an emotional high out of it.

I guess I want to be sure of my reasons behind doing things. I have become the kind of person that doesn’t like to do things, “just because,” especially when it comes to my faith in Jesus.

Things must have meaning, and the meaning must be specific and deeply personal. I cannot steal someone else’s meaning.

Formulas make me angry,

“Just do this, and you will fill-in-the-blank.”

In fact, when I hear that, it makes me not want to do it even more.

Maybe I am rebellious, selfish, lacking discipline? Who knows.

At least I am being honest.

At times, revisiting certain parts of the bible feels a little like going back to a place in my hometown where bad things happened with an ex-boyfriend. Sure, the place itself is harmless, beautiful even, but there are negative things that happened there that are seared in my memory.

Me: “I heard a silly rumor that you slept with her. Ridiculous! My friend who told me was obviously drunk.”

Him: (Silence.)

Sharp pain. Me leaping out of the truck and running into the cold dark woods, throwing myself on the snow. Betrayal.

Maybe I am dramatic, but at times parts of the scripture feel like this. Painful to read. I was betrayed into thinking I wasn’t enough. That I had to do more, pray more, memorize more scripture, give until I sweat and bleed because Jesus gave everything, so shouldn’t I?

I know it’s stupid to throw out the whole thing and I haven’t. Thankfully, I have had a revelation of God’s love and grace and that changed everything.

But there are days when it feels like it hasn’t. Days when I don’t see what the point of going to church, when it just makes me frustrated. Days when I don’t want to read the bible or talk to God.

Then I am reminded, this is not a religious step-by-step process, this is a relationship.

Relationships are messy. They ebb and flow. Even in the best relationships there are times when I get selfish, when I honestly don’t want to hear what the other person is saying. There are times when I don’t feel like communicating. The monotonous times are sometimes the most difficult to overcome, but thankfully this isn’t all about what I do.

I think I underestimate how much God understands and knows where I am at. He understands and knows my heart and He’d rather me be honest then go through the motions.

I know the bible is considered a sword, but it is also our Comfort. I know it tells me where I am when I am lost. I know it tells me who I am when I can’t bear to look at myself in the mirror.

Besides all that, is it poetry. It capture the essence of humanity, love, danger, ultimate redemption. It is our story.

So maybe that’s a good reason to read it.

Because God is love and Love doesn’t stay silent. It must have a voice.

And so I will choose to ignore the ghosts of my past feelings of guilt and condemnation. I will know God is not pleading me to open the book so I can use it as a sword, the war had already been won.

He just wants to tell me a story.

A story that defines me, that shapes the world around me.

A story that breathes life into all things.

 

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