I love handstands and headstands. I’m fascinated by them. They constantly challenge me. There is this element of strength and precision that I am always striving to improve on.
My goal is to handstand tall, aligned and balanced. But if I do not make constant corrections–shifting my weight, flexing my abs, pointing my toes, broadening my hand grips–I will fall over. This is Christian living. If I do not constantly refocus on Christ daily, I lose balance and I fall. This is a lesson I have been learning in my own life.
My intentions start good, great even! They are strong. But I tend to drift and if I’m not careful, my good intentions become blurry and out of focus. This is where I realize that I took my eyes off Jesus.
So I get back to my Bible and journal and I pray and I read and I refocus and strive for balance
“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Have you ever run a race? I have. I have run a few 10K races. Running to finish the race is hard, tedious work. If your eyes are not fixed on a goal, you will quit. If you do not have a strong focus, the exhaustion will become the loudest voice you hear. This is the same with life.
There is a reason Paul tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus! It’s hard work. If you do not set your focus, you will wonder off course and lose your way.
Handstands and running races both require constant, intentional effort and exertion. Same with following Jesus. The moment you take your eyes off the goal, is when you lose balance and fall.
I have recently read through the Book of Acts. This book brings me awe. It humbled me, challenged me, and taught
me. It brought me to tears more than a
few times. It depicts a radical faith,
one that I can only strive to have. It’s a story of one man taking on the
ancient world with a big story, the story of Christ.
One thing struck me. God works in unexpected ways that are way
bigger than anything we could imagine or foresee. To give you a bit of background, Paul was a
Roman citizen and an expert Jew, highly trained. He was a Christian hater and torturer. This very same man, who after meeting God on
a road in a radical way, turned his life around and spent his life telling
everyone everywhere about the hope of Christ.
Wow. Just wow!
God is just as powerful and awesome today. We can choose to serve
and believe in the same Lord. This great
story doesn’t end here.
Paul was beaten, jailed, threatened, disowned, rejected, shipwrecked, stood trials from Jerusalem to traveling to Rome from false accusations, and yet he never wavered. He stood strong. He refused to give up. He refused to back down, even in the face of death.
How God works can sure be ironic at times, and yet so effective. God works in the unexpected. Paul had to stand trial for his faith more than once. And what did he choose to do at these trials? This radical man chose to tell entire courtrooms of powerful and influential people of his day about his conversion story from a radical Christian-torturer to becoming a radical follower of Jesus. He witnessed to entire rooms of prominent people. This infuriated the crowds of accusers. The Jewish people plotted to kill him.
But being born a Roman citizen gave him a very unique
vantage point. Not just any one could
mess with him. Being a Roman citizen
gave him access to Roman law. A Roman
citizen could not be punished until being guilty of a crime. So Paul appears before a Roman Governor, and
shares his same story. But they cannot
find him guilty. And he appears again
before a King with all his prominent men and military officers, and
shares his story again. And once
that is inconclusive, Paul appeals to Caesar and is sent to Rome where he
spends the next 2 years freely sharing the Good news of Christ.
See the irony in this all?The more he stood firm in what he believed and spoke truth, the grander the audiences God gave him to speak in front of. He was able to witness to the most influential people in the ancient world at that time. He shared God’s story with sincerity and passionate conviction. The Jews in Jerusalem falsely accused him hoping to get him sentenced to death. Instead they set the stage for Paul to share his story on an even larger and grander scale than anyone could have imagined. God had a plan, and Paul trusted God to fulfill that plan even when Paul did not see how that would happen.
What faith! What an
example he left us.
I challenge you to live out your faith in a big way. We are not all given grand stages on which to proclaim God’s story, but we definitely can proclaim it. Live with so much integrity that your life tells a story. Take the road less traveled. Reach out and love your neighbors, your co-workers, your family, your friends, even those difficult people that seem impossible. Show love in a world of haters. Choose to walk by faith in a fact-based world. Choose to forgive when you have been hurt. Be the person who you always wish you had in your life.
You will never regret taking the high road in life.
I am a huge fan of being authentic in a culture that is so
saturated with ‘ fake’, filters and edited photos.
…That is so saturated with fake and unattainable.
…That is so saturated with unrealistic expectations.
This impacts us whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.
We may choose to believe that social media doesn’t really
affect us; that all those perfect selfies of endlessly happy and smiling
perfect-looking people doesn’t bring us down.
That mainstream media doesn’t rub off on us…we know it’s all fake right?
If you are brave enough to be honest with yourself, I think the truth tells a
very different story.
Inauthenticity sums up our culture, our media, and our
social media, it goes deep and far even saturating our friendships and
Inauthenticity is a theme of this generation.
Are we scared of showing our mess?
Are we scared of judgement? Of not being good enough? Why does being good enough matter anyway?
I have chosen to go against the grain.
I challenge you to dig deep and really think how this
I will not be a victim and let inauthenticy steal real
joy from my life. I haven’t
always been this strong. There was a
time in my life when media directly dictated my worth. My appearances and my self-worth were
measured by an unattainable image. I
felt I never could become or make myself good enough. No matter how hard I tried, I was still
lonely, I was still not thin enough, I wasn’t trendy enough and on and on…I
just couldn’t reach the bar. It was
always one step too high for me.
Then the era of social media came into play. This
was a whole new beast. Creating new
levels of unattainable.
When will it stop? I
am not against social media. But I am
against the perceived image it betrays.
I am not OK with young teenagers editing their photos with filters that
change them to perfection. This tells
them that they are not pretty enough, not flawless enough to really
be seen as they are.
Isn’t that what we all desire? For others to see us?
To see us as we are. And to accept us as we are, flaws and
imperfections included because they are us. We don’t get to pick and choose our
character, our scars- both real and ones we carry deep inside ourselves.
It is my hearts cry that everyone will put the walls of
inauthenticity down once and for all.
Let’s embrace who God made us to be.
Let’s embrace that we are enough. Let’s embrace that we were created for
community that loves and supports each other regardless if we are hurt
and broken. Or broke. Or struggling with image. Or don’t have a clean house. Or don’t have it all together.
How would our environments that we are in everyday change,
if we embraced authenticity?
We are all wanting to be real, but fear holds us back.
Be the brave one.
When asked how your family is, choose to share the
When asked how life is, maybe you get real and cry when you
share how hard it is.
If instead of portraying perfection we gained real and
meaningful connections that allowed people in to see our hurts, our fears, us,
we would be linking arms instead of building walls. We would be allowing others to see that it is
OK to be vulnerable. When we become
vulnerable in friendships, we take a step out of our loneliness and form
community. And when we support each
other, and build each other up, we reinforce that we are in this together. We
reinforce that we have each others’ backs.
We reinforce that it’s OK to be broken, and that we will get through
So be the difference.
That neighbor, that co-worker, that mom, that friend, that
teenager…choose to be real and brave.