I’m a Christian.
Let’s be honest, it’s no easy thing to speak freely and say what is on my mind. Especially in our ever changing libertarian culture.
I don’t claim perfection, but I don’t claim to be totally retched either. I believe in a God who is perfect and it is what I pray to be. As perfect in his eyes as humanly possible but as me. Nothing more, nothing less. I sin big time. There is a reason I go to church. To become a better person and belong to a family I can trust in Christ.
Humans are broken, habitual creatures. We are forgetful, temperamental and selfish. Tarnished little Gems.
We try and strive to serve Him and be the good patrons modeled out in the Bible, but fail no matter how hard we try. I am so thankful for forgiveness and reconciliation because truth known, I’d burn in the firey pits of hell for my transgressions. Let’s face it, our culture is less than savvy in the eyes of God. What a mess.
That said, I have opinions, I have ways in which the Word comes across to me. I interpret them by what I have been served with. I use my gifts and am on a path that is fashioned in His plan, not in mine. I make mistakes all the time. Big ones! I believe and understand these things in the time I have spent being a Christian.
There are different people in every church body. Some are new Christians, some have been brought up in the church. Some are speakers, others observers, silent servers, teachers, organizers, cooks, art and craft oriented, book keepers, sporties or musicians. There are so many different facets that make spectrum of the church body and when the Light shines through this precious rock it is a spectacle, beautiful in the eyes of God.
I find that sometimes, this jewel is in need of a good polishing, just like most things get when well worn in the everyday muck of life. Life is dirty, just as is our mouths and minds at times.
In a church, Satan is always running around trying to tempt and tease. He loves a good scuffle or gossip session to steer us on the wrong path and cause disharmony. He loves pride and arrogance. He loves to see one feel superior toward another and he loves distain. Let’s face it, he’s a selfish jerk.
We can all be that way and we know it. Yes, even in the church as much as we try and deny our true nature, let’s call it what it is. Being human. God has hard job. Why Satan wanted it is beyond me. We are pests at times.
Imagine trying to keep watch over us crazies. One minute we are worshiping Him and the next minute we are caught in a thorn bush He was trying to keep us away from. I can just see Him shaking his head as he attempts to try and untangle the frantic sheep from it’s own tangled mess in the brambles….and faithfully, he frees us, tends to our coat, dresses our wounds and releases us back to the safety of the herd.
I know as a worship singer I have had many challenges. I have the gift of empathy and big voice. What a combo. I am emotional and loud. Ha ha.
I know though, that I am on a journey and He uses my experiences for the good of the church. Even when my experiences are not what you’d think a Christian should be.
Empathy is a hard gift in my experience, to have been given. I feel not only own feelings deeply, but pick up on others as well and have had to learn to control and learn how to use this gift for good. I pick up and react to the negative just as much as I do the good. Sometimes it’s even painful. I can also be impulsive. I need to keep that in check.
It’s an amazing gift. I’ve learned to be thankful for it and accept it. There was actually a time I tried to medicate it. Such is the bain of our society…Oh you are having a feeling? Let’s medicate that. God made emotions for a reason. Even anxiety and depression. It tells us something is wrong and sometimes we can’t even fix it and we just have to pray and wait to see what He has planned for you or the situation you are in.
This gift renders me very compassionate and at times vulnerable. It’s certainly a calling to serve the in His Body. We are all a part of this and have a role.
I am just a facet of the big picture and without people like me the church would not have balance to shine His light.
Same goes for the other gifts such as service, discernment, leadership…..we all need to recognize that there is a purpose for everyone and the gifts of the spirit should be recognized and celebrated.
We need to work together, guiding, seeking and sharing/caring for each other. Building each other and recognizing when one of us has shut down or become overwhelmed with life or spiritually lost. We should uplift each other, encourage each others gifts. We should not deny who we are in Christ but celebrate it.
Be imperfectly perfect in Christ.
Just like a Gem, retrieved from a rock with little imperfections, with facets chipped and shaped to His liking so his light can shine through and reveal the spectrum of beautiful colour for all to behold.
Patti Armes lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband Mike and their four children.