more than artificial fruit flavors

Girls are complicated beings, contradictions in design. I am sensitive, but resilient. I am eager to connect, but hesitant to put myself out there. I am simultaneously confident and insecure. I am intelligent enough to discern a poor relationship, but so fiercely loyal that I will endure the pain of repeated heartache and disappointment in the hopes that relationship can be saved. I am imperfect in striving for perfection. I desperately want to reach a hurting world for Jesus and I am so uncertain of how He could use little ole me. I know that He can, and does in small ways in the everyday.

In the everyday, my relationships are where Jesus refines me, where He gives me my story that he’ll use for His divine purpose…somehow.  This is where I learn my lessons. This is where I have triumphs and successes. In the everyday is where it’s the hardest to be genuine and not made over in the image of what I think a Jesus girl looks like. It’s probably that way for you, too.

What DOES a Christian look like – according to God? Well, I can tell you that the Christian looks like a lot of different things to us people. Maybe, to you, a Christian looks like a traditional family – husband, wife, kids all debt-free, giving their possessions eagerly, open door, put-together…unattainable perfection. Maybe to you it’s a Mother Theresa-type of person living a life of poverty and service. Maybe, to you, it’s Billy Graham, Beth Moore, your Dad, your pastor, your friend. Maybe, to you, a Christian is the worst kind of hypocrite, pointing out your faults and living a life nothing like the standards he or she holds everyone else to achieve.

Well, in Galatians we’re given nine characteristics of a Christian, nine indicators that someone is striving to be like Christ. These characteristics are likened to fruit on a tree. In my life, those “fruits of the Spirit” are on display for all to see (or not to see) while I interact with my husband, with the kiddos, with family, co-workers and friends. Peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, goodness, faithfulness and love for ALL, not just the ones who appreciate me, who invest in me, who encourage me or even for those who like me.

I’m not feeling all that peaceful today. My feelings, those sensitive little feelings, are a little bruised. We don’t go through life without scrapes and even worse. We are all people and we sometimes behave badly. But if the outward sign that I am a Christian, an evolving, changing Jesus girl is the presence of these “fruits” in my life, I can’t pluck that fruit from the tree and stomp on it by choosing to say hurtful things to or about someone, even if he or she would never hear it. Ouch.

While I walk this long and winding journey to joy, I’m absolutely allowed to share my heart and speak my mind. I am also absolutely responsible for how I make others feel, intentionally or otherwise. I have thoughts and opinions that will probably, eventually, tick someone off. I will draw inspiration or frustration from my life and work through it here.

I do not consider myself better than anyone. I am just walking this path as an imperfect girl. It’s probably that way for you, too.

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