Rhinestone Jesus: Are We Ready for a Messy Faith?

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Do you struggle with figuring out God’s calling on your life? Do you go through your day and wonder, is this really what I’m supposed to be doing? Because it doesn’t feel right. You’re tired. You lose your temper. Life is simply hard.

And if we’re in the middle of God’s will, we’ll feel peace. We’ll have His strength, so we won’t have to battle as hard. It’ll be like we’re in the peaceful part in the middle of the tornado, and the winds and the rain won’t bother us. We know that we’re safe.

Right?

What if I were to say that I don’t believe a word of that, and I don’t think that’s Scriptural at all.

I see no evidence in Scripture that says that once we’re in the middle of God’s will life somehow becomes easy, and we don’t struggle. In fact, I see the opposite. I was speaking at a retreat last weekend and told the story of Elijah, who was completely in the middle of God’s will. He had a big show-down with the priests of Baal, during which God actually rained down fire from heaven (how COOL is that?). And Elijah was vindicated. And what’s the very next thing that happens? The queen decides to have Elijah killed, and he has to flee from his life, in total depression.

Sometimes being in the middle of God’s will is not easy at all.

I think we have misunderstood the nature of the Christian life. We think when we’re Christians life should be beautiful and easy.  And we want people to come to know God, and so we’re told that we’re supposed to show them how attractive our lives are, with great kids, good marriages, good finances, a picture perfect life.

Personally, I think people will be far more attracted to something that is authentic and real and has purpose than something that simply looks good on the outside. That’s safe. That’s predictable. That’s even–shall I say it?–boring.

Jesus did not die so that we could live boring lives.

Jesus died so that we could live BIG lives–lives where we are sold out completely for Him. And personally I worry that I was far more sold out when I was younger and had less to lose than I do know. I think I need a messier faith.

And that’s what Kristen Welch realized. Her new book Rhinestone Jesus releases this week, and she has something very important to say, that we here in North America really need to listen to.

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Kristen was a stay-at-home mom, wife to a pastor. She’s the blogger at We Are THAT Family. And she had her “Rhinestone Jesus”, where He was all sparkly and faith was lovely and perfect and never messy. And then God took her to Kenya. And her heart was broken. And even though she had a messy life, and she didn’t have a lot of money, and she didn’t know what she could do, she decided to do something. Just something small.

And today the family has a second home in Kenya, paid for by generous readers of her blogs, where she runs a home for pregnant unwed moms (many of whom are victims themselves) and helps them raise their babies. It truly is a beautiful story. And as one who has done the same work as Kristen, albeit in a smaller form and at a different home, I have such a heart for what she’s doing. My own mom is going back to Kenya (for the sixth time!) next year to help young women in similar situations become self-supporting.

But you don’t have to go to Africa. You don’t have to do something “big”. You just have to do SOMETHING. Because when we do something in our mess, it’s amazing how God can work with that mess.

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What if the Rhinestone Jesus was no longer enough for us? What if we stopped trying to live sparkly lives and started trying to live REAL lives–listening to God, doing something small, one step at a time, and giving Him our yes? Even in our mess?

As Kristen says,

God isn’t waiting for you to clean up your mess. He’s just waiting on you to yes in your mess. (click to tweet)

“World changers don’t set out to change the world. They see one need and do what they can to meet it.” And then it multiplies, and you find yourself with a whole new take on life, because the mess doesn’t matter. It’s not about having things perfect. It’s about loving God and loving others.

And that is not easy. When we start saying yes, the mess doesn’t disappear. It just changes. You face opposition. Kristen did–from family, from friends, even from herself. Her kids didn’t always react the way she wanted them to. Her body didn’t like traveling. It wasn’t easy. But you get perspective, you get excitement, you get purpose. You get meaning. And that’s important.

I don’t want to live a Rhinestone Faith, trying to look sparkly. I’m okay with my mess, and as I shared yesterday, I’ve had a lot of mess this year. But if God can use me, even in my mess–if I can find a way to say yes to the small things, rather than trying to be all sparkly, I think that’s how God wants to change the world.

Will you say yes with me?


Cover-copy-smRhinestone Jesus is the spiritual adventure story of one woman who went from living a safe, “good-girl” faith that didn’t cost much, to realizing that God was daring her to say yes to a deeper, more authentic way. This book throws the doors wide open for any woman who has ever thought of herself as “just a mom”.

 

 

Comments

  1. Lauren says:

    Yes!!! In North America I agree we have so given into our cultural ideas we sometimes don’t get the big picture of truly living for Jesus. We get so consumed in life and get knocked down. My husband and I have had some major pulls on our heart lately and this post very much blessed me. Have a great day!

  2. I’ve read this post at least four times today, and the more I read it the more it does two things:
    it makes me squirm
    it makes me want to rise to the challenge.

    Life has been crazy, and the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” have been used as an excuse not to do a lot of things in the past year.
    Time to stand up and say “yes” again.

  3. Cynthia says:

    Thank you so much for what you said here! I recently left a congregation that I had been a part of for years. The reason was because the preacher preached numerous times that if you had problems, you weren’t right with God. Even health issues, or other things showed lacking in your relationship with God. There is a story to my leaving, where I kinda showed my butt by standing up in the middle of church and asking the preacher to clarify what he was saying. I belong to a congregation where women don’t speak out in church. But I did. And everyone’s mouths fell open. I asked the preacher if he was saying he believed that if I had a “more perfect faith” I wouldn ‘t be XXXXXXXXX? Too personal, but involves having custody of my grandchild, and mothering two prodigal children. He looked at the floor, then back up at me. He said yes, that was what he believed, and if I studied it more, I would see that he was right. I sat down,shook my head, and never went back there again. God says we will all have problems. Thank you for showing me someone else believes this too.

    • Way to go, Cynthia! I find the prodigal question odd. I mean, in the parable, the Father represented GOD. So if God can have a prodigal, and it doesn’t reflect badly on Him, why is it that we are so quick to blame people who have prodigals? It makes no Scriptural sense to me.

  4. “Jesus did not die so that we could live boring lives.” Exactly. I live a small life, meaning, there are no great adventures; I don’t travel or have a large public following. I am a stay-at-home-mom of 3 little ones who homeschools my 1st grader because he has problems in traditional school. Most people would say my life is boring. But I’ve discovered when I live for Jesus, exciting and strange things happen that push me out of my small comfort zone. God has put women into my life who are (as the world would say) damaged goods, and my job is to love them and (scarily) get involved in their messy lives. It would be so easy to just ignore what I see going on right in front of me, but I have to be brave and step in to be a friend so someone who is hurting and needs a friend who won’t turn her eyes away when she sees the hurt. I don’t have to do something BIG for him, I just have to say yes. (I love that quote!)

    The more I hear about it, the more I’m looking forward to reading this book.
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  5. No matter how good you are if you don’t believe in Christ everything is worthless.
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