Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been known as two things: "the sweet little angel" and "the strong one" to almost everyone who meets me. Flattering as it is, that's not the only thing that makes up Anna Michelle Henderson. When I am put on a pedestal like that, there is no where I can go but down. I am not more righteous that anyone else on this whole planet, but the very moment I mess up or make a mistake, I feel like I have to hide that from everyone around me because I have to be "strong" or I have to put on that million-dollar smile and pretend like everything is okay. Most of the time when people ask me how I am doing, their question isn't sincere because they think they already know the answer: "Great!" Now don't get me wrong, I do strive daily to be a light to people who may not see any light the rest of the day, but I do have bad days. I have them more frequently than most people realize, even my close family and friends.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, "come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." He sees my smiles, my giggles, and my happy dances. But he also sees my tears, my heartaches, my cuts, my bruises, and all the other yucky stuff that's hidden in the deepest parts of me. It's so easy for me to just open up to him and tell him all the things I do wrong every day. The world, on the other hand, sees my mistakes and points at each of them individually. So what do I do? I hide them. And why do I hide them from the world? Because the world isn't forgiving. And as long as Satan is the prince of this world, it never will be.
But that doesn't make it okay. Just like the Good Book says, we are in this world but not of it. We are of God and saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. When I hide my sin from the world, I am telling myself that I have to be the best. But the thing that is wrong with that mindset is pride. And pride is sin. So really, by hiding my sin I am only just covering it up with more sin.
I remember the exact moment that God completely rocked my world and I began to see him for who he really is. Dustin Willis was speaking at Awanita when I was in 8th grade, and he said "we must have a reaction to Jesus Christ that shows no concern for our reputation." That is a quote that I will never forget but by hiding my faults and failures from the people around me, I forget to live by it. And I have this crazy feeling that I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Jenny and Tyler (one of my latest obsessions) wrote a song that hits right on this issue, and one of the lines in one of their songs says: "I can't let them know about my sin 'cause what will they think of me when they finally see that this little girl they know doesn't let her bruises show?" But God says it doesn't matter what the world thinks. He's the one in charge here, and he wants us to be transparent to the world so that lives will be touched and maybe even changed. We are the messengers of Jesus Christ, and how will His Word be spread if we all walk around like we're perfect? News flash: it won't.
In Philippians 4:12, Paul tells us that he has matured to much in his walk with Jesus that he can rejoice in any and every situation that he is faced with. I believe that that is God's desire for everyone of us. And if God desires it, then it is his will. And if it is his will, then it's our responsibility to try our very best to do what he says. Why? Because he promises that he will never ask us to do something that we cannot do (1 Corinthians 10:13).
As Jenny and Tyler put it so perfectly, "it's not what they think, it's how You think of me." Let Jesus be your judge, not people. Jesus died for you and me to be free, not to live a life filled with guilt and regret. Let's start living the way he intended us to live! Deal? :)