A few months ago, I read an article that kind of offended me a little bit. Ok, it offended me a lot. I don’t know the writer/blogger/author who wrote it, and I don’t even remember where I saw it. But the sentiment has been lodged in the recesses of my subconscious ever since, making the occasional appearance in my conscious thought. It resurfaced today, when I read a blog post written by one of my most favorite people, BobiAnn Allen, over at bobiann.com. (you can read it here: http://bobiann.com/?p=594) The general idea of BobiAnn’s post was this: We are different. We are supposed to be. It is ok. It is even good. There is room for all of us.
Now, back to the first article, the one that had me feeling a little ticked off. The general message of the well-intentioned post was that we shouldn’t boast about, or celebrate our failures. That we, as Christian women, should be setting a standard of holiness and righteous living, striving to better ourselves and that all of the “authenticity” that everyone is so crazy about is really just lowering the standard of what a godly woman should look like. You know, the pictures of our messy houses, the confessions of our mom-fails, the parading about of our underachieving moments. Those things. Those messy parts of our messy lives. We shouldn’t be proud of those things and announcing them to the world.
I get what she was trying to say, I really do. And I certainly do not want to be guilty of dragging the name of Christ through the mud with my misadventures and mishaps. But the truth is, I am going to fail. I am going to mess up. Sometimes in small, insignificant ways, and sometimes I blow it in a big way. The thing to celebrate is not the failure. The thing we celebrate is the freedom to fail. And the reason I think it is so important to keep it real, to not hide behind some unattainable standard of perfection or righteousness, is because it gives more room for the power of Christ in our lives to shine through. If in our weakness, He is made strong, then our weakness is the very thing we should boast about.
The standard is Christ. Nothing more, nothing less. Not how clean my house is, not how well-mannered my children are (thank goodness), not how active I am in volunteering at church, not how many healthy meals I prepare for my family, and certainly not what other people think of me. And if Christ in me is what matters, then won’t he shine brightest when I am not trying to steal the spotlight with all of my own goodness?
So, I am not really suggesting that we lower the standard. I am merely encouraging us all to stop trying to meet a standard that we are incapable of meeting… And embracing our weakness as our only hope of attaining it.
“We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who they are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.” – Romans 3:22-24