Today, my Sunday school teacher spoke at length about the double life many of us lead on the internet. How? Because you can act much more spiritual than you really are when you can polish and edit everything before actually posting it. You can take the time to think out the most spiritual way to say something.
Today's post is an effort to put out there who the real Taylor B. is. It might be really easy to look at the blog and think that I'm really spiritual or theological (or dumb, maybe you disagree with me). My attempted focus of this blog is Jesus. I don't want anyone here to read this blog because you want to know what Taylor thinks. Read instead to learn about Jesus, to know Him better. That said, my purpose today is to put out there some of my own failings.
It's really easy to always put the prettiest side of our lives forward. Just ask my brother; he'll tell you I can be a rascal. I don't want to do that. I want anyone reading this to realize just how much I don't know, and I guess that's my first point.
1.) I don't know everything. I'm sure some of you are out there thinking, "Duh, we all noticed you don't know everything!" The fact of the matter is, I don't know the answer to a lot of things, spiritual or otherwise. And I'll be honest that I really struggle with the fact that I do not understand some things that I believe, or at the very least struggle with the fact that I can't articulate what I believe on certain topics.
2.) God doesn't always feel like he's sitting next to me. Look, I don't know about other bloggers and writers. They might be more spiritual than me, but honestly, there are times I feel really far away from God. There are days that I don't want to read my Bible, or pray, or sing. There are days I want to forget God even exists.
3.) There are days when I doubt God. Again, I just read from other people sometimes, and I'm just thinking, "Seriously?" These people are like angels; they have perfect faith, all the time. I'm not like that. I wrestle sometimes with whether or not God is really sovereign, or if He really cares.
4.) I don't always do things for the right reasons. Although I try not to, I find myself doing a lot of the "good" things I do for the praise of men. It's probably the thing that irritates me the most about myself. I constantly do things, or say things to improve others opinion of myself or my spirituality. True spirituality is done for an audience of One.
5.) I don't always want to do the right things. I fail, a lot! I make a lot of mistakes, more than my fair share. And there are days I just don't even want to try, that I'm just tired of it all. There are times I just want to sit back and not worry about reading my Bible, or praying. There are days I really wish I could feel peace about teaching taekwondo when I get older. I may feel God leading toward missions, but it would be a ton easier to just do what I really feel like doing.
6.) There's a side of me that really wants to paint this into a prettier picture than it is. I guess that's why I love God's grace so much. Why God loves me is something I will never figure out. I honestly cannot get over even the basic part of the question, not only why does God love me, but why doesn't he just kill me, or why is He even mindful of my existence. Part of me really wants to make myself look really spiritual. Part of me wants to paint a pretty picture of all my spiritual successes and skip the failures. Part of me wants to skip my depravity and go straight to how great God is without touching on my own failures. Part of me wants to talk about my sin in general terms that never really touch my pride. Part of me wants to walk on tiptoes around my own failures while attacking those I see in others.
7.) Although in head knowledge I may know that God is in control, I still carry great fear about the future. Who will I marry? What will I do for work? Is missions really God's calling on my life? Am I wasting time I should be using doing something else?
8.) I don't always here God's voice. Just this last week, I was sitting by a lake praying during the teen conference I attended, and I was wrestling with whether what I was hearing was God leading me in a certain direction or whether that was me convincing myself that it was God telling me to do something that just so happened to line up with what I wanted Him to say. All that to say, I'm not some sort of amazing teen that God is constantly whispering divine messages in my ear or sending me sacred dreams.
9.) When I do hear God's voice, I too often ignore it. I can't begin to tell someone how many times I have felt God nudge me to give out a tract, or give money to a beggar, or take the time to listen to a friend that needs a willing ear. Again, I'm not a Christian superhero that can see dreams from heaven, then interpret them, and then act on them immediately. I'm more like the guy who wakes up rubbing his eyes going, "Wow, that was a weird dream", then doesn't even think of it again.
Some of y'all are probably asking, "Why is he writing this?" Truth be told, it's for this simple reason. I want it to all be on the table. I want to be really honest. I want people to know that I'm not an amazing Christian or a really mature teenager. I'm just an average teenager that wants to know God better. You don't have to be an amazing person. You don't have to be perfect. God isn't waiting for you to reach perfection before he extends grace.
Just today, I was speaking to a friend about our mutual tendencies to criticize ourselves for not being good enough, or not measuring up. This friend mentioned that up against the standard of a perfect sibling, they just don't measure up. And I guess the point that kinda came through after thinking about the conversation was that that's true for all of us. If we line ourselves up against the standard of Christ, we too see that we fall hopelessly short.
But that's the beauty of God's grace. God isn't standing on the other side of your sin waiting for you to figure it all out and eradicate it before He will speak with you. He wants you. He desires you. He is jealous for you. He longs for communication with you.
So I wrote this post for two reasons. One, to specify that I too struggle with these things. I'm not immune to temptations and sin, by any stretch of the imagination. Two, I wrote it for the purpose of telling once again the beautiful story of God's redemptive grace over our own sin.