Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Grace Has Its Own Tiara

The last couple of weeks I have read Angela Hunt’s Uncharted and Dave Egger’s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Uncharted is a work of fiction and Egger’s book, though autobiographical, reads like a novel. Both good books. But variety makes life juicier not just more spicy, so I chose as my next book a nonfiction work my friend Kay recommended to me.

I am now reading, or should I say eating up, Brendon Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel. I am only in chapter three and I can tell this is one of those books that can change me from the inside out.

It’s all about grace, a theme in my life for the past couple of years.

See, in my past, I desperately wanted to be Super Christian. This was the aim of my life as if I were going for a pageant title, complete with Super Christian sash and tiara. Try as I might, I never felt close to winning. The days that I did sense I was close to becoming the Queen of all things spiritual were also days that I walked around hiding the real me. That part of me that is just icky. I am selfish and prideful, impatient and gluttonous.

Not exactly pageant material.

But life happened and God started to explain to me gently, okay sometimes not so gently, that seeking to be Super Christian was the equivalent to wanting to be a Pharisee. Yep. Like those guys in the Bible that Jesus called snakes. Yikes.

But God, I just want to be good. I mean spiritual. I mean, a good spiritual Christian. Isn’t that what You want?

My Christian bubble exploded. The balloon that held all my Christian hot air deflated.

Robbie, I just want you. Just as you are.

Brendon Manning completely summed up my mindset when he wrote, “Our approach to the Christian life is as absurd as the enthusiastic young man who had just received his plumber’s license and was taken to see Niagara Falls. He studied it for a minute and then said, ‘I think I can fix this.’”

That’s me. Before I truly opened my heart to God’s freedom, I needed to fix up myself and make sure I looked all “perty” and beauty queen-like.

Didn’t work.

Another quote from The Ragamuffin Gospel:

“God not only loves me as I am, but also knows me as I am. Because of this I don’t need to apply spiritual cosmetics to make myself presentable to Him. I can accept ownership of my poverty and powerlessness and neediness.”

Ahhh. It feels good to let go. I love not being in the Super Christian pageant circuit anymore. I am who I am. Instead of being the Queen of all things Spiritual, I am just a regular old Popeye.

Sometimes I eat too much. God cherishes me.

I don’t read my Bible every day. God adores me.

I can be a real jerk to people who annoy me. God wants to dance with me everyday.

I am NOT A GOOD CHRISTIAN! (Is there such a thing?) God delights in the dorky, fun, overweight, impatient, loving, greedy, kind and simpleton that I am.

His Grace is Enough!

If you are getting ready for the Super Christian pageant, I urge you to put the duck tape and Vaseline down and just be yourself. Take a nap. Walk around at night and thank God for the stars. Watch a movie and laugh out loud.

He loves you without a sash and tiara. Just as you are.


Jan Parrish said...

This is good stuff, Robbie. So very true.

You are pictured on my blog. :)

cj marley said...

This is the best one yet. Keep it up. Love you.

Kay Day said...

wonderful! Beautiful!

And you are not Popeye. Popeye is a boy. You are Olive Oyl.

Cheryl Barker said...

Thanks for the reminder that God loves us no matter what. What a comforting truth!

John Iobst said...

I love seeing you grow in grace and shrink in self as you allow God to both Love and Know you more fully