Vulnerability is scary. I am writing this fully aware that some of you may agree with me, and some of you may think this is completely inappropriate and wrong. I respect both opinions, but this has been placed on my heart and I want to share it. I also would like to note that my intention for my openness and vulnerability is that Christ would be lifted high, and that I would be brought lower.
I've written about my struggles with the church, my struggles with losing my dad, my struggles in marriage, but I have always somehow deflected identifying my day to day sin.
I've heard a lot of Christians accuse atheists and agnostics of having no morals, being bad people, etc. I am rejecting that statement and hope to show that following Christ is not just about having morals and being a good person. I hope to show you that with and without Christ, I am no better and, on my own, I fail all the time at practicing what I preach. I have always been scared of being called a hypocrite, but here I am, showing you that I am 100% a hypocrite. (So thankful to go to a church that embraces our hypocrisy). I just ask that now you would hear me out.
I have some very serious sin in my life. I know a lot of unbelievers hate the word sin, but dictionary.com defines sin (as a noun) as “any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse, etc.; great fault or offense.” Even if any of you live by a “no regrets” motto, I am sure you still regret at least one thing you have said or done in your life. I view my sin, whether it is against me or another person, as also committed against God. I also believe the Bible gives clear outlines about what sins to avoid, and also the punishment of sin. Again, please hear me out. (I’m starting to get really nervous…)
As a follower of Jesus, It is easy to follow my own desires and temptations. I am opening up to you—maybe you feel alone in your struggles, or maybe you are annoyed of Christians pretending to have it all together. But here I am, a Christian who DOES not have it all together. My sins and struggles may be different than yours, but regardless, you and I are loved (and I will get to that….)
1 I do not see a problem with having a beer or two with dinner. (Or wine, bourbon, etc. if that’s your thing) But unless I am in a controlled environment, I struggle with self-control. I would love to tell you that the last time I was drunk was on my 21st birthday (or actually, if I could tell you I've never been drunk), but that would be a lie. Aside from the Bible telling us to not get drunk, I will tell you why I see drunkenness as an issue for me.
a. My body does not want to be productive while hung-over.
b. I ALWAYS wake up regretting something I said or did while drunk. Social filters are pretty much gone.
c. If we are on the feminist track…I have never been more disrespected or violated than when I was drinking or interacting with drunk guys at a bar or party. (Luckily, this IS something that hasn't happened in 2-3 years)
d. More times than not, if you've seen me drunk, you've seen me cry. Drunkenness and Kelsey= angry sad emotional sentimental beast.
While getting drunk and partying isn't a huge part of who I am anymore, the fact is, if I’m not in a controlled setting, I will easily keeping drinking. In an effort to make every drinking setting a controlled setting for me, I have asked Alex (my husband) to keep me in check when we are out (I am more of a social drinker…if we have a beer or two at home, it’s easy for me to stop). I recently have decided to be open about this being a struggle for me. I have an accountability group that I am 100% honest with. This helps keep me in check, but when I do fail, they encourage and lift me up, not judge and try to make me feel more shame than I already do. While I am so proud of my efforts to control my drinking, none of these things bring redemption.
Here’s another big thing: gossip and insecurity. I have and do say hurtful things about people. I almost always regret it immediately after, and I am always working on minimizing that talk in my conversations. It adds nothing, and it really goes against the whole “love your neighbor as yourself” commandment Jesus gives us. I am not justifying my actions, but any negative talk about someone is always founded in an insane amount of insecurity I possess. As a follower of Jesus, I still seek affirmation and security in shallow things. I also get extremely jealous of other people. I try to stop talking about people and to be content with who I am and what I've been blessed with, but redemption is not found in my sometimes successful, most of the time failed efforts.
I could really go on and on with sins I struggle with, but the last one I will point out is a sin I think is primarily a religious sin. (Maybe not, but I think it is found mostly in the church). I can be very judgmental and guilt based in why I think people need Jesus. What do I mean by guilt based? Well, it is easier for me to point out why a sin is wrong than it is to point people to Jesus.( I could probably even give you a Bible verse telling you why it is wrong!) I can list off every single sin I struggle with, but still be in awe about sin present in someone else’s life. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? My judgment of myself and others doesn't bring anyone to redemption.
Here I am-- someone who claims to follow Jesus exposing a lot of my dirty laundry for you to read. If I am not somehow lifted up and better than you for following Jesus, how am I different than someone who chooses not to?
11) We are ALL loved by God. Every. Single. One. of us. What’s different about me? I have accepted that love and have a desire to have others accept it too.
22) I am released from the punishment of sin. While all of us are loved and have the same opportunity to accept it, I cannot deny the truth of the Bible. I believe every human being will stand before God on judgment day and answer to Him.
33) While sin remains, it no longer reigns in my life. Our pastor, John Murphy, says that frequently in his sermons, and it always sticks with me. My redemption is not an excuse to keep sinning, but that sinful nature does remain in me while I am in this world. At the same time, my sin does not reign over my life. The sin that once consumed me has been replaced with hope and an incredible love that overshadows guilt, shame, and regret.
44) I believe that Jesus came on this earth and gave himself up for us as the ultimate sacrifice for sin. He is how I am able to approach the Father as clean and worthy.
If there is any point I hope to make with this post, it is that I do struggle and fail as a follower of Jesus, I put a lot of effort into making it better and “fixing” my problems, but that the true solution is Jesus. He is far more capable of restoring and renewing my heart than anything I could ever do on my own. I pray that as you search your own heart and try to make sense of life, that you would encounter Jesus and the great love he has for you. He doesn’t want sin to own you, but instead wants to offer the love and freedom that comes from Him. As always, if you want to talk about it, I'm here.