“I’ve wanted to tell you this — honestly, I can’t remember the last time I read my Bible, and I forgot to pray for my child on the first day of school, like it never even crossed my mind. Now you must think I am a really bad Christian,” a friend confessed.
Quite the opposite, I thought before responding. “Not at all. You are like many Christians who’ve been deceived by Satan into believing that if we do not check every spiritual box throughout each and every day, then we’re unfit to be Christ’s disciples.”
Not too long ago, I posted My Dirty, Not-So-Little Secret to encouraged women to have honest conversations about areas of their lives that keep them hidden in the shadows instead of boldly proclaiming their worth in Christ. Now I want to totally “come clean,” and share with you ten areas that I wrestle with, some daily, some just barely underneath the surface, only to break through at any given moment. You won’t find these in a Sunday School quarterly and probably won’t discuss them at your next women’s circle meeting either, but here they are:
- If honest, I wonder if God really listens to my prayers.
Sometimes it seems like I’m talking to a wall, even when literally crying out to God. I just do not think He is there with me. I can’t see Him or hear Him or feel His presence, so, is He really there? Does he really care about “first world problems,” or only listen to people who have serious issues? Did I pick up this Bible in Greek? The words don’t make sense, I don’t even understand the commentary, maybe I should get my child’s Bible. Great, David defeated Goliath like a million years ago, good story, I get it, we can do big things with God. But where are you now? When are you going to do BIG things in MY life?
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6
- If honest, I’m glad when bad things happen to good people.
Not catastrophic things, just something to mess up their pristine world a bit. For once, can she just come to church with a stain on her dress? Seriously, it should be a sin to look that put together with small children. Or, I hope she doesn’t get that new job; maybe then her life won’t be so Instagram worthy if she doesn’t get everything in life she wants. Why does everyone else seem to go through life living off cake, while I am surviving off breadcrumbs? Just one time, can’t someone else experience my disappointment, hurt, loneliness?
If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Galatians 6: 3-5
- If honest, I assume my husband wishes he married someone else.
I notice no one praises the “Mom Bod,” even after all of the truly incredible things it’s been through and miraculously provided to sustain life. I carried babies in my body for nine months, nursed each one for a year, carry them on my hip for two more years and take care of these small humans ALL. DAY. LONG. So yes, I’m tired at the end of the day, and don’t have much energy left for you, dear, so can just get into my sweatpants and watch Netflix until I drift off? Besides, what’s the point — I saw those women at the pool, and I don’t look like them, now or ever, even at my best. They’re funny, too, which I’m sure you noticed. No doubt, they’re “animals” in the bedroom, but you got me. Sorry. I guess you really think you drew the short straw.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
- If I am honest, I add completed tasks to empty spaces on my calendar.
Oh no! Its 10pm, I don’t even have our meals on the planner. Hum, we had frozen waffles for breakfast, scratch that, waffles with fruit, that sounds better. What else did I do today? Grocery Store, Laundry, pulled weeds, took a nap (that’s not going in there), and yeah, I kept two little girls alive. Yeah right, I don’t think anyone will think that was worth putting down in my daily achievements. There, now I can go to bed, my calendar is full of all the things I accomplished today. Too bad my heart fills sorely empty.
To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16 1-3
- If honest, I fight battles with my children to maintain a certain image.
They have to match, and where is that bow, did I forget to get this monogrammed? Nope. That won’t do, moving on to the smocked dress. Not the target brand diapers, pampers, what if she has an accident, I don’t want the nursery workers thinking we don’t love our child. No ma’am, you are not going to wear light up tennis shoes, did you bump your head? I know you love them and they bring you joy. Joy that I wish I could get even a piece to fill my aching heart, but what will the other mothers say? Probably think I also feed you McDonalds and let you play on the playground with no socks…. Oh wait.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
- If honest, I obsess about how my body looks compared to others.
Do my thighs look bigger, smaller, or about the same as hers? Is she born that way, surely not. She probably has kale smoothies, water for lunch, and grilled salmon for dinner, I bet her life is boring. Tomorrow, yep, tomorrow is the day, no more yo yo dieting, I am going to get a plan and stick with it! What’s that new diet fad? 10 lbs. in 10 days, okay, let’s do it. Hey, why is she losing more weight than me? What’s wrong with me, I am always going to be, what did that boy in high school say, “soft.” Let me just finish off this box of oreos, it may make me feel bad for the next month, but at least for the next five minutes, this fix is going to make me feel really good.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4
- If honest, I ponder what life would be like if I just ran away.
I see now why my grandmother used to say that she hoped she would get a different name in Heaven than “Momma.” It’s not just the kids; it’s my husband, too. Can’t anyone do anything for themselves? Nevermind that I have the flu, I will get up and make everyone breakfast, no problem. I use to be just me, not wife, maid, personal cook, when will just ME return? I have dreams and goals; there is more to me than just being caregiver to my family, but you would never know it. Where is the person I once was — lost forever?
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:2-3
- If honest, I worry we will not have enough money to live comfortably.
You only got a 3% raise, that’s it we are all going back to eating cheese toast and tomato soup. Let me get my resume together, there is no way we can survive on one salary alone, what was I thinking? Baby number 3, am I going to have to give up my pedicures? Does this mean we can’t eat out anymore? We might not be able to afford a babysitter? How are we supposed to live, this is basically like being in a third world country. I have exhausted the amount of log ons to my online banking in one day, really? I need to make sure we still have our savings, maybe that way I can sleep tonight. New tires, braces, the heater blew?, So that means that number is going to get smaller in our account? I can’t live like this.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10
- If honest, I resent people who do not thank me for my efforts.
I did all this work for this big event, but not one person thanked me. Yes, I know this should be for the glory of God, but can I get a little glory kick-back, too? Like now. Do they not realize how much time, not to mention my money, I put into this event? Did she not send me a thank you note? I could have picked up a frozen meal, but I made that lasagna from scratch — hope you enjoy the drive-thru next time. I just love spending hours preparing a lesson for no one to show up. Does RSVP not mean anything to you?
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. … so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6: 1 and 4
- If honest, I am a better Christian outwardly than I am inwardly.
“Maybe I would be better wife if you would learn to be a better husband!” “You are making me crazy, just stop, go to your room, I don’t want to see you right now!” “I heard she was having problems in her marriage, not surprising do you see the things she posts on Facebook?” “I hope our girls are better behaved then theirs tonight, their kids are complete brats.” “I don’t know who she thinks she is, doesn’t she know we have certain rules at this church?”
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and please to God- this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1
My prayer as I write this is that you will realize that you are not the only sister in Christ who struggles with secret guilt, shame and spiritual inferiority. By identifying the source of these feelings, immersing yourself in Truth, and proclaiming God’s sovereignty in your life, you will be spiritually armed to fight the battles that wage within all of us and able to lift your head high like the daughter of a king. Because you are.