#NOFILTER = FREEDOM
"YOU ARE SO WRONG!" I thought as I stormed away from an argument last week.
Of course, I was right and they were wrong. Perhaps it was completely unintentional but in my frustration, the last thing I was prepared to do was give the benefit of the doubt. I believed I had every reason to be salty. And I was SO not ready to forgive.
Not long afterwards, I received an email. It stopped me in my tracks.
The line that really kicked me in the gut read:
"I just love you! You are THE SWEETEST person ever!"
Isn't that funny?
I'm over here fuming and failing to share authentic sweetness while someone on the other side of the country is convinced that I'm sweet.
"Oh boy," I thought, "if only this person saw me right now. They probably wouldn't have hit SEND."
But of course, I wouldn't show that. I would send some simple and sweetly crafted response to uphold that notion they had and go on about my day, gritting my teeth in frustration.
It got me thinking. Isn't that just what we do? We can make ourselves look as sweet, or put together, or strong as we want. We create this perceived reality of perfection by filtering what we choose show the world.
It made me wonder how authentic we really are...how authentic I really am.
If I'm being totally honest, I'm not that sweet.
I often come unraveled. And then I fight to cover my own hypocrisy rather than let grace wash over me.
The email hit me so hard because it caught me in a moment where I was in desperate need of grace, but living in a world where I hoped to create an image of a sweet gal, happy all the time. It caught me in a moment in which I wholeheartedly failed to give the grace that has so freely been given to me. And I had no choice but to stare that moment blank in the face.
I would love to be "the sweetest person ever".
But I never will be.
That person does not exist.
I don't have it all together. I'm broken, on my knees, weary and worn. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the filters + blue ribbons we hand out for successfully crafting our lives to look like the perceived reality of perfection. Because despite the good qualities we showcase, the sweet smiles we share, and helping hands we may offer, we are still flawed, damaged, and broken.
My motives will always be slightly selfish, I will always face frustration, and my efforts to escape my own flaws and problems will prove feeble. Because that's the natural condition of my human heart. I am in desperate need of grace. And of more grace when I fail to give it.
When we stare our failures straight in the eye, we can choose to do one of two things:
1. We can trap ourself. We can beat ourself up and work hard to cover up our mess so that no one sees it.
2. We can choose freedom. We can let light shine through the cracks of the walls of our hearts, stand in awe of the grace that has been given, and surrender. We can let Jesus' grace cover our mess rather than striving to do it on our own.
When I choose the latter, I get a glimpse of the glory of grace. In moments that I experience how hard it is to give grace , I realize the magnitude of that word we so casually toss around.
Grace cannot be cheapened. Grace is a big deal.
And moments of failure are defining moments...Moments that allow us to see the magnitude of what's been given to us.
Because unlike most things in this world, the reality of grace is something we cannot create.
I cannot produce my own sweetness and nor can I create my own grace.
And neither can you.
But I can surrender. And so can you.
I challenge you to drop the filters, to surrender your sorrow and failures. Instead of sitting in sorrow or frustration, allow those moments to refine and sharpen your heart. Instead of covering those pains and flaws in nice clothes, filters, and statuses, free yourself from the grip those flaws have on you by exposing them to the light of grace.
Preach this to yourself: In my pain and flaws, grace is still available. In my failures to share His grace, He gives more grace.
Because we weren't created to obsessively control over our imperfections.
We were created to have open hands, to worship, to find freedom.
That, my friends, is BIG.