“I pray for the REAL you to show up in the Body of Christ.”
– Sarah Bessey
In the beginning of 2016, I read a little yellow book called “Out of Sorts” by Sarah Bessey. Now, the last time I read a book by her, I remember getting stares from an older lady in a restaurant, perhaps because of the book’s title. As both an author and a Christian, Sarah Bessey has a way with “keeping it real” and staying encouragingly relatable when it comes to life and our Christian faith.
In my head, we are close friends.
Whether it’s talking about a re-visited view of women in the Bible or expressing the importance of making our work and witness be marked by who we build up rather than who we tear down; one quality makes her voice stand out in the midst of the many voices that contribute to living life as a Christ follower, and that quality is her authenticity.
As a girl who grew up going to church, it took me years to actually really understand the difference between trying to earn grace vs. accepting and resting in the unmerited grace of God over my life. It also took MANY SEASONS of growth for my eyes to open up to the fact that I was also a part of a “culture of niceness,” which inadvertently has been hurting the church.
The inability to say, “Girl, my life is a hot mess right now,” plagues us. We hurt ourselves, by not choosing to answer a sincere, “How are you?” with true honesty of the day’s happenings. Instead, we say, “I’m good.” Frankly, these are just a few of my contributions to that “culture of niceness.” Although I consider myself a follower of Christ, sharing and being completely honest about my struggles has been, at times, hard for me.
Reading “Out of Sorts”, felt like experiencing another baptism. Sarah Bessey’s words pushed me to strive for ALL OF ME to be present in the Body of Christ.
It is only in Jesus where we can know who we truly are and how to build real, life-giving, authentic relationships. Although at times, my introverted tendencies can make connecting with new people difficult, I learned that even though choosing to be courteous appeared as the automatic right choice, it often left a bridge between forming authentic relationships with others.
As Rebecca Pippet says, in the “culture of niceness,” we give the impression that now that we are Christians we just simply swing from one victory to the next; but that idea, my friends, is not real, and it wont attract real people.
Now, I’m not necessarily saying that we should share absolutely everything with every fellow Christ follower we encounter, however, I noticed that as I began to be more wisely authentic in my own life, something amazing happened. God showed me that the more others see authenticity, the more others can understand that it is not by my own doing that I am a saint or sanctified, but it is by the doing of God that keeps me sustained. Openly expressing the stuff that you have overcome or are struggling with allows you to elevate the grace of God in your life.
Our ability to be wisely authentic with our struggles also allows us to really love. It gives me chills just realizing how intentional, committed and honest love is, far more than courtesy will ever be.
So, with wisdom and discernment, I pray that you can be surrounded by the right people, BE FRANK, and live authentic, so that His grace can be glorified.
I also pray for the real you to show up in the Body of Christ.
With love, Ligia
“ You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.”
– 1 Peter 1:22