I Make God Look Bad

I Make God Look BadI struggle with anxiety. I am a worrier. Sue me.

I have been told its probably hard for my husband that I deal with anxiety, and I heartily agree. But its even harder on me. I have also been told that Christianity must not be working because if it worked, I wouldn’t be so fearful all the time.

If my faith was authentic, I would be at peace.

People have the notion that since I am so often limping along, dragging my frazzled nerves behind me, God must not be real. If He was real, I would not be suffering so much. I have had all sorts of suggestions.

Maybe if I found peace within, I would be better off.

Maybe if I found peace from the universe, I would be mellow.

Self-help books.

Hypnosis.

Hugged some crystals.

Or smoked pot. (This is Washington, so it is legal, which makes that suggestion a little bit less shocking.)

If I just tried something else, I would be courageous. But since I lack courage, I lack God. 

I totally get why people are confused.

If you wanted a poster child for the Christian faith, you wouldn’t choose me because I give God a bad name. I do not advertise the peace that passeth understanding, I will admit that. I would make a better candidate for a prozac commercial, and I would be the before example.

This would have bothered me a few years back.

I would have felt awful that I was turning people away from Jesus with my cowardice way of living.

Back before I realized that God doesn’t need me to uphold His reputation. Before I understood that people are dead in their sins before Jesus and since a dead person can’t do anything, they need to be brought to life first. I can’t breathe life into anyone. I can barely keep my dishes done. God does the calling. The saving. The rescuing. I am to share the Gospel, but I don’t save anyone. No, you don’t want me in charge of something so important as an eternal soul. I would mess that up so bad.

For decades I thought it was my burden to bring people to Jesus, so I tap danced my way to the church pew, hoping nobody would realize I was a fraud. Because then the gig would be up, and God would suffer because I was a miserable Christian. And darn, they would leave without saying the sinner’s prayer and it would be on my shoulders. Talk about anxiety.

Back before I understood the traitor that was my own heart, I tried very hard to behave. The same heart, by the way, that would stab me in the back in a flash. The same heart that would happily lead me to total destruction and then dance a jig on my grave. 

I now fully agree that Christians are hypocrites.

And worse. Which is the whole point. And at times, the mixture of sin and holiness in me feels like such a tug of war, that I can only cry out for God to step in and rescue, yet again, from myself. Which He does every time. And I have hope that bit by bit, I will be changed.

It wasn’t until I settled it deep in my soul, that Jesus is the only good in me, that I was able to be honest about my failings without tremendous guilt and shame. There is no wizard behind the curtain trying to hide anything. There is God, and He sent His Son to die in my place, and He suffered more than I will ever suffer. He is no stranger to pain. He even entered into pain with us, so its tough to shake my fist at him when I think of what He endured for me.

Forget about pretending you have it all together. Moralism is a terrible idea. “Doing all of the right things” isn’t what makes you acceptable. God loves you on my best day as much as your worst day.

The fact that I am an anxious wreck many days, doesn’t mean God isn’t real.

It means I am human. It means change is slow, and while He is faithful to sanctify me, I will fail along the way. But since I am in Christ, the one thing I can rest in, is knowing that He is the brave One. He is the faithful One. And He accomplished what I never will. He exchanged my sin for His righteousness. And even though I am a pathetic Christian, and freak out, I am covered.

If you think I don’t walk my talk, you are right. But I can feel God anchoring me to him as I listen to the Gospel preached, fellowship, take communion, and read Scripture. I fall but I keep walking. And I can see His goodness.

 I don’t need a Ted Talk.

I need something that can handle my messiness. What happens when I find myself in total chaos? I need to know my Creator is actively working in my life. The good and the bad. I make mistakes, but I know what grace is. And I learn, very humbly, to extend it to others. But the more time I spend reading His word, and let the truth of it work its way into my life, I see tiny victories. I see His goodness. I hold onto His promise that everything is in His hands, and I am safe.

I preach the truth to myself despite feeling no peace. Because I know I am on a difficult journey. I know I am being painfully shaped into His likeness, and it really hurts at times. Don’t be bummed out if I do stupid things. Don’t shake your head when I am scared spit-less. Don’t be shocked if you see my fangs.

Left to myself, I am a scoundrel.

In Christ, I am righteous and loved. 

Thank God for that.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Michelle Lindsey

Nice to “meet” you! I'm Michelle, a wife of twenty-three years, a mother to five, a homeschool mom, and a classical education tutor. I want to use this space to share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly that is my life. Maybe it will encourage you. Maybe it will inspire you. Maybe it will simply amuse you. Whichever it is, I am thankful you are taking time to be here.

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Comments

  1. Karen says

    Thank you for being transparent. Years ago, I was in a severe car accident God was with me and glorified through my healing. Then…I started having worsening pain and health problems related to the accident. My husband (at the time) was not a believer so I tried to hide it all. Not easy to do! I struggled with fear of what it would say about God that I was suffering again. One day, God very gently reminded me that I was responsible for His reputation! That revelation changed my life.

  2. Kristy says

    I really needed this today as I struggle with my faith as I am going through a tough time with my marriage. Some days it is hard for me to get out of bed due to my depression and I think to myself you are being punished because you do not trust God. No matter how much I try to leave it in his hands, the fear I have is overwhelming and I end up breaking down. Its a struggle and I am praying every day for God to change me and although I trust him I know I do not trust him enough. Just praying for a breakthrough.

    • Michelle Lindsey says

      Kristy,
      Thank you for sharing. I know it is so hard to accept that God is not, in fact, punishing you. I don’t trust enough either. But by God’s grace, I will, bit by bit. Hugs to you and prayers for your marriage.

  3. Jen says

    This is so eloquent and honest. Thank you for sharing this, I have also struggled with some of these exact thoughts and feelings. The struggle is real and I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in it. Praying for you!

  4. Ashley says

    Thank you for this because it’s so comforting to know that I am not alone with this struggle, and the “tug of war”. I hate feeling like I’m disappointing God but this made me feel slightly consoled. Again I thank you.

  5. Karen says

    This is more truth than realized by most of us. How I struggle daily with guilt and depression because I am supposed to be so advanced in my Christian walk after so many years. Thank you for the truth that because we struggle and don’t have our act together doesn’t mean we are any less in His eyes.

  6. Lori says

    This is exactly what I needed today. I struggle with high anxiety on a daily basis. And the feelings of neighing judged by others that don’t quite understand are rough!! I also have been told that my faith isn’t strong enough, or that I just need to pray more, or pray harder. I know that God is shaping me and molding me. I also don’t trust enough. I am so thankful for his grace and faithfulness!!

  7. Melanie says

    You’ve hit the nail on the head with this post! I’ve read your blog for quite some time now. But this particular subject I think is what speaks to a lot of us, especially us women. So thank you for that! God has gifted you with articulating your words and using that to reach out to others, such as myself, to encourage one another with life’s difficult issues.

    What you’ve mentioned here is really speaking to me to be a better friend to anyone who needs a listening ear. Not to just throw a scripture at them and tell them they need to have more faith, because I’ve been told that by my spouse or friend. I know they probably mean well, but I want to learn from that. We are to carry each other’s burdens and to be patient with one another. If a friend is crying, I want to cry with them. I want to pray with them, not just for them.

    Thank you for so boldly sharing!

  8. Brittany Boegli says

    Wow! Thank you! I felt as if I was reading about myself in this article and now I feel so much better that I am not alone in this. My whole life I live in fear, constantly praying for the Lord to take this away from me which doesn’t seem to last long but I just keep pressing on and keep praying and I know the day he comes he will finish the good work in all of us. My husband has came out and told me he has an addiction to pornagraphy a few months ago and it’s driving me crazy all the time, always paranoid and it’s consuming my life. Plz pray for me on this. <3 do you have a Facebook page I can follow with you?

  9. says

    This is what I needed to hear. AND! this was so amazingly written. I appreciate your words of wisdom and your sincere honesty because all of us Christians struggle, but its only God’s grace that helps us continue on.
    Thanks again for letting your honesty shine and connect with others.

    Nicky.
    http://www.sincerelybalanced.com

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