Life is hard.
And being a Christian doesn’t change that. Sometimes it even makes it harder.
Sometimes to follow Jesus you have to move to another state and leave family behind, who you really miss. Sometimes you have to sell a home and take a $100,000 loss. Sometimes the cartilage in your knees gets torn and you struggle to walk up stairs. And then from out of the blue your back starts hurting again. Not just a dull ache but an intense stop-life-as-you-know-it pain. And that’s nothing compared to the relational pain that blindsides when my sin clashes with others or when I’m the victim of their sin.
One of the best gifts I can give someone is to let them see how I struggle with the brokenness in my life and continue to persevere following Jesus. To help them realize life isn’t a sprint, but a marathon and you will hit the wall… multiple times. That everyone is broken and life is hard, but what a difference the presence of Jesus makes! That even in the midst of life’s darkest hours He is there to cry with you, carry you, help you press on and even bring good out of the worst things imaginable.
But they’ll never see that if I come across as always having it together. In fact, one of the worst things I can do is make people think following Jesus is like a cake mix – “Get the right ingredients and it turns out great every time!” (and yes, I was told that when I was a young Christian!).
I’ve seen so many people fall into this trap. That everything is “fine!” and they waltz through life with a smile plastered on. That is not reality folks! And we don’t do anyone any favors if we perpetuate that lie.
Remember a disciple is a learner. Learners are people who not only want to learn, they need to learn, they need to grow, they realize they are in process until the day they die! Let those you meet with see you in process and share the journey with you as you struggle to follow Jesus.
Now I’m not saying make your one on ones gripe sessions or all about you. Ephesians 4:29 is key to remember here. We are instructed to speak “only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” But I think it’s vital to note one of the key ways we can help build up those we are meeting with is to be open and vulnerable as the Lord directs. They too are facing hard times, or soon will. They need to see what it looks like to walk with Jesus through the hard seasons in life.
Be willing to be real. That, my friends, is a thousand times more impactful that a smile-plastered-on-Bible-answer-woman any day!