Tag Archives: legalism

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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Men & Rocks (A Parable)

30 Aug

Two men were walking down an old dusty road called life carrying sacks.

One stopped along the way and picked up a stone called “Addiction,” and put it in his sack. The second man picked up a stone called “Evangelism.”

They walked a little further, when the first man found a rock called “Sexual Sin.” He put it in his sack. Nearby, the second man realized he must be missing something so he found a rock called “Feeding the Poor,” and did the same.

The two men walked on, a little slower this time because of the weight. The first man stopped by a tree and found a large boulder called “Self-Hatred” which he carefully squeezed into his bag. The second man found one just as big called “My Reputation,” and fit it in his bag.

They continued along the road. The first man acquired several more over the miles of travel: “Abuse,” “Dishonesty,” and “Drunkenness.”

The second man also picked up more to add to his load. They were big shiny rocks with long fancy names such as: “Memorizing Scripture,” “Attending Church,” and “Protesting Abortion.”

By this time, both men could barely walk under the load.

Out of nowhere, along came a man with a smile on his face. He stopped and looked at the men, both sweating and straining under their heavy sacks.

“Let me carry them.” He offered, firmly but gently. The first man put down his sack and looked inside. He recognized the rocks were no good. They were jagged and dirty and making his back ache. He closed the sack and handed it to the smiling man, grateful for the relief.

The second man put down his sack and looked in. All his rocks seemed were smooth and shiny, even though they were just as heavy.

“I can’t just let him carry them,” he thought to himself,  “They are my responsibility. Besides, they are not all dirty and jagged like the other man’s rocks.”

So the second man said “No thank you.” He closed his bag, and hoisted it back onto his own aching back. He continued to shuffle down the road, miserable and sweaty, but filled with a sense of self-pride.

The first man joyfully skipped down the road, following his savior, free from all things that had weighed him down.

 

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