It's possible to leave a conference feeling:
- like you just don't quite measure up
- with a sense of inspiration but also desperate futility
- like all the other Christian women in attendance are somehow better, more lovely, and more holy.
To put it more crudely, it's possible to be inspired and yet also to feel despairingly ugly. And what's worse, others don't see the ugliness. But we know better about ourselves, don't we? We see our sin. We know the selfishness that lurks in our hearts. There are ways in which each one of us is an ugly, broken, sinful mess covered by a thin and carefully applied veneer of togetherness.
Where do we even get this idea that we need to be polished, shiny, blemish-free?
During Revive '13, this veneer was cracked and then piece by piece gently stripped away. Transparency and honesty before our God and before others was lovingly woven into the tapestry of the weekend. There are many of us in leadership roles, or alongside husbands in leadership roles, who know we simply don't measure up. We know it, don't we? We know that though we may be equipped to communicate God's truth, we nonetheless see all the ways we regularly fail to live out these truths in our own day-to-day lives.
Elyse Fitzpatrick shared with us that she, too, knows what it's like to feel like an imposter. She encouraged us to live with transparency, walking in the radiant light of Christ instead of in the shadows of our sin:
"As long as I'm hiding my sin, I'm not going to deal with it. Come out into the light! Then other people will be encouraged knowing God can use someone as weird and messed up as me!"
"Where does transformation come from? It doesn't come from me hiding in the dark pretending to be something else. It comes from going to the light with my sin where He transforms me."
Though Scripture communicates the contrary, we somehow think our faith should be effortless, easy, or natural.
Where do we even get this idea that we need to be polished, shiny, blemish-free? Though Scripture communicates the contrary, we somehow think our faith should be effortless, easy, or natural. The first man wrestled, doubted, then sinned. Ever since, we've followed the same pattern. We wrestle. We doubt. We sin.
The question, then, is where does our sin and failure take us? Does it drive us to the foot of the cross or to a makeup table where we cover up sin's stain with concealer and artificial color? Elyse shared with us where her sin and her failure take her: to Christ!
"Christ's light transforms us from prisoners in the dark dungeon into well-beloved and intimately known sons and daughters."
"The women who relate to you don't need you to be perfect; they need you to be a sinner with a Savior."
The mess is real. But we are not imposters! We are not frauds. We are sinners who have been washed, cleansed, and made exquisitely beautiful by the blood of our Savior.
I began this post by writing that I'm an ugly, broken, sinful mess covered by the thin veneer of togetherness. But that's a lie. It's not true about me, and it's not true about you. In Christ, I'm an ugly, broken, sinful woman covered by the redeeming blood of Jesus. The sin is real. The mess is real. But we are not imposters! We are not frauds. We are sinners who have been washed, cleansed, and made exquisitely beautiful by the blood of our Savior.
Today, Revive '13 comes to an end. We leave this place not as imposters, but as radiant and unashamed daughters of the living God. By His grace, and through the words of His servants, we leave here strengthened, equipped, and reminded afresh that sin's stain has been covered in Christ's righteousness.