“We are God’s productions, His compositions.” – David Jeremiah
Alarm goes off. You hit the snooze for just five more minutes. When the alarm sounds again, you sit up. The day has begun. As you get ready, you look in the mirror. You don’t look only to fix your hair or trim your beard. Instead, you see something else. You see your story. You see where it all began walking through the various chapters and twists which brought you to this moment in time. A thought flashes across your mind as if it was written in the sky, “How did I get here? Where am I headed?”
We all have those thoughts. However, we do not always deal with those thoughts. We bury them under makeup, clothing, hair style – an image. We can’t face the struggle of those thoughts, because it might shake the whole core of who we are.
Life feels like a puzzle dumped out on the floor, without a picture, and with pieces which don’t seem to go together. We study the pieces carefully. We force some together with failure, and some fit into place like a beautiful tiled floor. Yet, when company arrives or we have to face others, we hide the pieces we do not like or the pieces that do not fit. We can’t be seen as someone who does not have it all together.
Why is that? Why do we look at some pieces in our lives and think it is better if we threw them away? What makes us want to be perceived as having it all together? Are we truly accepting or throwing away the whole story God has given us?
The Myth We All Believe
A lot of us have heard the myth of the Loch Ness Monster or the legend of Big Foot. There are many people who believe in these myths, and they try to prove validity.
Most people chuckle at these myths, enjoy a good movie based on it, and continue their lives like none of it affects them. However, there is one myth all of us have chosen to believe and live by – The myth of being perfect.
Perfect body, perfect job, perfect family, perfect home, perfect self-image, perfect ______; you fill in the blank. We all want to be seen as having it all together. We may not admit it out loud, but let’s check our social media, or the topics we bring up in conversations, or the panic we get when we must attend a public gathering or have company over. We can’t deny it.
The idea of having it all together, especially for Christians, is far from reality. We take verses like Matthew 5:48 (“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”), and we run ourselves into the ground. Christ isn’t saying be seen perfect and act perfect. With this verse, he is paving the way to demonstrate we can’t be perfect, and that is why we need Jesus. Romans 3:23 states no one is perfect. Later in Romans 7:14-25, Paul (considered the model Christian) exposes his life as being one of imperfection. The only perfect he can rest on is Jesus.
We need to be the same to when it comes to our lives. We will never be perfect. We chase after shifting images and shadows when we allow ourselves to believe this myth. The only one who is good and perfect is Jesus. Our stories and our lives will not be perfect. Until we stop believing the myth of perfection we will never be able to accept our story.
The Hidden Pieces
We need to let go of the myth of perfection. This is a continual effort. But, we then can deal with the pieces of life’s puzzle we hide. These may be a struggle, a family secret, an injustice done, a major failing we tell no one – that tell-tale heart beating from the floor boards of our soul. What is it? What are we scared to bring out into the light?
The hidden pieces scare us, because they are the opposite of the myth of perfection. Do you think God is surprised by these pieces? He is the one that put them in your box to begin with (Psalm 139:13-16). He knows we are scared to bring out that one piece. He knew you would go through that. He knew you would struggle with that. He knows. The God who created the whole universe, with its wonder and awe, gave a puzzle-story to you to show off that same wonder and awe (Psalm 8). This even includes the pieces we would rather cut out of our lives, than show a living soul. Yet, God gave you that piece to be used for good (Genesis 50:19-20).
Why are we ashamed over something God gave us to use for him? I think of my own life of how Christians would say I was fearfully and wonderfully made, but would do thing which would cause me to look on my disability with shame. We do this all the time to each other. Whether it is a struggle, a desire, a body issue, or whatever, Christians put each other down if it does not make a perfect image. We don’t see each other as a body, but as contestants in a pageant measuring each other by each other (II Corinthians 10:12).
But, why? Why would God give us these pieces in the first place? He gave it to us for such a time as this so the power of God’s love can be seen through us – even the bad parts (Esther 4:14; John 9:1-3).
The Diamond In The Rough
It is difficult not to compare our pieces with other’s pieces. It is like an uncleaned diamond looking around at the beautifully polished ones dazzling onlookers with their sparkle. We see the rough in us, we see our broken pasts, we see that struggle, and we know we will not be like the other diamonds.
Stop believing that lie. Diamonds have many facets to them. Like many pieces to a puzzle, it takes all the facets to create a beautiful diamond. Yet, what we see from other Christians may be only some of their facets. Our story is like a diamond, and who we are reflects the many facets God has given us.
Before we belong to Christ, our diamonds are crusted with dirty and the light inside only reflects death and no beauty (Ephesians 2:1-3). Then the story changes. Once we belong to Christ, a new light is put in us (the light of Christ). This new light begins to shine through the dirt and grim covering each facet (Matthew 4:16; John 8:12).
Our job, even with the facets we want to cover and hide, is to figure out how to let Christ’s light shine through all the facets; not just the ones which makes us look good (Matthew 5:16).
We all have facets we do not want to show (even those who seem to sparkle the brightest). Yet, God wants to use all of us; not just the parts we want him to use. We are diamonds in the rough being transformed by Christ’s light to dazzle brighter each day. Our story is that diamond. We need to let the light shine through the places we keep hidden. It can be embarrassing, but God promises he will never put us to shame (Romans 10:11). Only people shame people. Your story is you. Your many facets make up the amazing person God made you to be. Now, we need to let that light shine through and see who God made you to be in 3-D rather than the 2-D image we want to portray.
Living Our Story With Courage And Strength
It is not easy living and accepting our stories. It is difficult accepting the pieces God has given to us. We have people in our lives who try to mold us into their version of us they want to see. They take God’s Word and read so much into to it in order to create Christian clones. This is not what God planned. Christians should never be clones of each other.
God has created the church to be like a body (I Corinthians 12:12-27). We are going to be different. Our purposes are different. Our personalities are different. If we all looked alike and talked alike, then we would probably kill each other. The world does not need Christian clones warring against the world. The world need Christians living as the individuals God made us to be showing the love of Christ as he made us to love to the world around us. We aren’t building an army for war. We are building an army of servants using the battle plans of love and truth to shine Christ to a dark world.
Our stories are different from each other. Our paths are different. God never said he would give everyone the same race (Hebrews 12:1-2). He gave us our own race he wants us to run. The course is different for each believer. Yet, we are all called to continue to look to Jesus as we run.
Accepting our stories ultimately comes down to that: looking to Jesus. He is the light in our diamond shining through our facets. He is the one who gives us our pieces and purpose. When we hide the pieces we are ashamed of, we miss out on the full potential God has given to each of us.
There will be people who will judge us, mock us, and lecture us in order to make our image more like their’s rather than Christ’s. To those people, we need to avoid them. We, instead, need to lean on those who are pushing us towards God’s potential in our lives. Those individuals see our flaws, our embarrassing facets, our struggles and encourage us to live with these facets for Christ; rather than hide them.
Inside all of us, God has put, through the Holy Spirit, a flame of courage to live for him. We want to. We want to step out our doors and be who God made us to be. Yet, we lack the strength. I am reminded of a scene from The Giver (Watch). Jonas had the courage to do what he was called to do. Yet, the Giver knew he lacked the strength to do it. We are the same with our stories. We have the courage, through the Holy Spirit, to live for Jesus through all our facets, yet we lack the strength. The strength can come from prayer and God’s Word, yet one place we skip over time and time again – the Church. The Church is to be a place where we can get the strength to courageously live (Hebrews 10:24). The Church, through God’s Word and prayer, strengthens us. We could not be who we are created to be without our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Each of our stories are different. Our paths are different. We have a different puzzle set before us. Yet, we know God ordained for us to have this story. All he asks us to do is to accept the story as his gift to be used for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). You may lose friends in the process, but it is better than not living who God made you to be.
Accept your story. Look at all the facets God has given you. Begin to let Christ’s light shine through you, the diamond in the rough, as you use each facet to bring glory to Christ and God’s love to the world.