Yesterday at Creekstone’s post-service Inquirer’s Lunch, someone made a comment then asked a couple of questions: “You say you want Creekstone to be a safe place for people who are a mess. What does it look like for Creekstone to be a mess? In what ways are you struggling right now?” Whoa. Talk about getting personal at an Inquirer’s Lunch! But it was the exact question that I needed to face.
There are several ways to handle a question like that. One way is to deflect it for someone else to answer (which is what I did at first). The second is to give a shallow, surface answer that admits to structural, rather than personal or relational, struggles in the church (like, “we are struggling to assimilate the thousands of people attending on Sundays” – pretty cool struggle that would be). A third is to admit the real struggle, which is where the question eventually took me (though I fought against it). Because if I look under the hood of my heart to where the real struggle lies, I have to admit that I struggle to admit what a mess I really am. I say I am a mess (ie, present day sinner), but tend to speak in generalities. My need for Jesus ends up being more theoretical that personal. That is where I have come to realize that I struggle to really believe that Jesus is my righteousness. I talk a good talk, but keep holding on to my own reputation for some reason, with a deep seated fear that someone is going to find out just how unrighteous I am. And so I wear a mask, using religious sounding words to cover over the ugliness of my flesh, when a robe of perfect righteousness is hanging in the closet just waiting to be worn.
You know, my faith is sometimes so weak—really weak. Maybe yours is, too. But that is okay, because we are not saved by the strength of our faith, but by the power of the gospel—the message that tells me that it is not my grip on Jesus that matters most, but his grip on me. Though I continue to fail, hide and be a spiritual wuss, he will never let me go. I’m a mess. But I’m his mess.