Thursday, November 13, 2008

Death Of The "Church Lady"... The REAL Get Revival!

I know the idea of fellowship and bible study should sound appealing, but last night I would have sold my favorite (make me look skinny) jeans to not have to go. I dreaded the prospect of sitting in a room listening to one particular person rant on and on, while the rest of us stare aimlessly into nothing, offering up silent prayers of escape.

Is it a sin to pray that someone stops talking?

I so badly did NOT want to go, that I actually called and cancelled (due to a sick child... that was actually sick... a little).

Yet as the hour of the study approached, a deep sense of guilt came over me. This WAS a commitment, and darn it, I'd better tough it out.

I reluctantly hauled my lazy butt into my chick car, and began the 20 minute drive into town. I was in a foul mood so I thought some music might help. I listened to a Tim McGraw song about a guy killing his step father. Real God honoring stuff. Good song... bad choice when I was already having serious attitude.

I pulled up into the driveway of our associate pastor's house 10 minutes late and noticed that mine was the only car. "Hmm, maybe it's cancelled?" I thought eagerly to myself. I knocked on the front door then stepped inside to a room revealing the associate pastor and his wife, and one other woman who is new to our church. Usually the class is pulling in a dozen people or so, so I was surprised to see such a small turn out. Ah, but the talker wasn't there, so my mood brightened just enough for me to stay.

The 1st half of the study was ... slow. I started counting the chapters we had left, playing with my hair, daydreaming about the cookies I had back at the house.

Then it happened!


He took a stale bible study and brought life.

A simple question was asked and the "new girl" opened up and answered with such transparency, it opened doors to an evening of ministry and healing.

Now I'm a very open person, to have me speak my mind, feelings, or struggles is nothin' new. However this woman had a lot, and I mean A LOT bottled up, and wow, did God use her courage in a BIG WAY! Before you knew it the associate pastor and his wife were sharing their struggles and hurts. They were being vulnerable in a way that I seldom see pastors (or their wives) be. Ugh. If only pastors could see how much good it would do the congregation to let us see their "dark side". It's nice knowing that we are not the only ones who struggle.

A couple of months ago I was asked to give my testimony to the women of our church. I planned a big speech about how "bad" I used to be and how God has changed me. However, when I prayed over it, God told me that he wanted to to share how "bad" I still am. Not in a condemning sort of way, but in a "I'm still struggling, I still make mistakes, and God still loves me" kind of way. I also got to take a few jabs at the legalistic gals in their floral jumpers and worn out Old Testaments, and share about the "grey" areas of my life that were NOT sin, like Santa, Merlot, and Crunk. So fun.

After my testimony was shared, I had dozens of women coming up to me, calling me, etc sharing their own struggles, their own "secret" lives. Most of their stories were the same. A glass of wine on Friday, a "secret" viewing of Desperate Housewives, whatever. Almost all of them had things in their past that any "good Christian" would turn their noses up at. I thought if these women would just open up to each other, they'd see they were all hiding the same things.

Then there were confessions of the REAL sins. Anger, lust, revenge, gluttony, you name it. There again, so many shared so much in common, but never opened up enough to let anyone know it. One woman said because of her struggles she felt like an island. How sad... if only she knew.

Not until we stop trying so hard to hide who we are, can we really start to tackle our sin. Being fake is too exhausting. Deception is the breeding ground for sin. Hiding your personality is deception. End of story.

I could fill a months worth of posts with my "grey" areas, current sins and struggles, and past, but I'll spare y'all.

Ah, but I got to confess a little!

I.... like tattoos, I lack contentment, I'm a little vain (ouch, that one hurts), struggle with self control, and used to be able to shoot large amounts of tequila without flinching.

So I want to hear some truths! Common, it feels great! Tell me something you'd normally hide at church. Free your soul!


Halfmoon Girl said...

Oh boy, how much time do you have? I came quickly to link up to you for the meme you tagged me with, so I will come back to answer this!

Growin' with it! said...

i say read most of my posts and you'll get my "grey" areas! transparency is my favorite word and i strive to be real as can be each and every day. life is too short for playing the dumb girlie games and i for one have found incredible freedom in laying it all there for anyone to see. LOVED this post!

oh and boy do i feel your pain on the chatty patty's of bible studies!

Becky said... to take a few jabs at the legalistic gals in their floral jumpers and worn out old testaments


Okay, so I guess I've had a few run-ins with the same ladies.

I like to speed, I mean, get places on time.

I don't like to admit when I'm wrong.

Emily said...

Grey? I watch all sorts of shows that I wouldn't want my kids to watch if they were my age. :)

Halfmoon Girl said...

I care too much about what others think, I want everyone to like me, and I am jealous of naturally fit, skinny people. My list could go on and on.

andysbethy said...

I really like "real" people, and I don't have nearly as much patience for the "holy people" as I should. For some reason, it is much easier for me to have grace for the "sinners" then for the "saints", and when it all comes down, God has grace for them all.
Also, truth be told, I am way too concerned with what size my jeans are. Vanity is a killer.

ConservaChick said...

" is much easier for me to have grace for the "sinners" then for the "saints", and when it all comes down, God has grace for them all."
WELL SAID andybethy! Ugg, as the little jab of conviction hits me hard... I have little grace for the hollier than thou crowd... could use a little more. ~K

Mommy Brain said...

I buy candy and hide it under my seat in the car...for "when I need it." It's sick!

Great post!

EEEEMommy said...

Well, first I'll say that you've given me a complex because I talk a lot during Bible study (and am wondering who is wishing I would just shut up), and my Old Testament is worn out (because that's where you really learn WHO GOD is), but I don't own ANY jumpers. ;)

Otherwise, I struggle to share what I wouldn't share at church, because I am very transparent, wear my heart on my sleeve, and am always tearing down the pedestals people insist upon building for me. I lose my temper regularly, I'm very critical, I am proud, I am insecure, my Bible gathers dust sitting on my shelf far too often...on the other hand, I have grown tremendously in areas like what I watch (no more CSI or The Bachelor or __________), what I listen to, and what I read...not because of some legalistic standards, but because to continue watching & listening & reading would have meant grieving the Holy Spirit who was so consistently convicting me in those areas. Now if only it were so "easy" to let the law of kindness guide my tongue as it is to change the channel, because I know the Spirit is grieved by the way I talk to my children...

I've seen God work in amazing ways through transparency. I'm glad that you were blessed, and that you forced yourself to go despite your frustrations. This was a great post!

Francine said...

I would say one of my biggest is what you said.. I let others hold me back.. I let there staleness (is that a word hmm is now) make me stale.. Thank you for writing this!! I needed it

Gombojav Tribe said...

I yell at my children way too much. I rarely have my dishes done. I blog instead of cleaning my house. I have a potty mouth at times.

How's that for starters? :-)