I Don't Want to be the Church Lady

10:58 AMHeather

We sat in conversation with our pastor, and my friend made a 
comment about being a church girl all her life. 

I related to her. You know, being a church girl all my life, too. I've sat in a church pew since before I drew a breathe--from within my mother's womb. 

A church girl. All my life.

But the winds of change have been blowing through me. For nearly three years now. It's been a journey that is hard to describe. Not instant. Not easily definable. 

It's funny. How the ripple effects continue from just stopping the crazy train of life long enough to ask some profound questions about my faith and my life and my goals and my methods.

Through the asking, a deconstruction began in my soul. A tearing out of religion and tradition as my eyes were open to the plight of the actual world. You know--outside my holy huddle. 

And I began to see things that I think Jen Hatmaker best finds the words to describe. I began to see that I'm at the top of the food chain around the globe. I'm in a the top 1%. Because I have food, clothes, shelter, disposable income and enough margins in my time and resources to continually seek to be entertained rather than just surviving.

I began to lean in to these questions. Reading books like Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis and 7 by Jen Hatmaker. Completing a study called Radical by David Platt. I started discussions with other friends who were also asking the same question.

What are we doing here, in our cozy little life? And what should we be doing? Then, I attended the first ever IF: Gathering in person in 2014, and I heard speakers like Christine Caine.

This journey...this deconstruction and tearing out and asking how to be rebuilt. It's been brutiful. And it feels like unraveling a ball of yarn all tied in knots. The more I unravel, the more knots I see, to be honest. But yet, at the same time, I feel like a snake shedding old skin. Being freed from old, tired things and worn practices that did little more than bind me up.

At this point, it's still foggy to me. I'm still full of more questions than answers. I told a friend recently that I feel like my life and faith is a like a connect-the-dots picture. I keep seeing dots. I keep seeing strengths and talents I have. I keep seeing needs that spark a passion in me. I keep asking questions about how it all fits together. I keep pulling at the thread.

And God has yet to actually number the dots so I can see how they are all connected.

When I pondered my conversation with my friend and my pastor from this past Thursday, her church girl comment kept running through my mind.

Then it hit me.

I've been a church girl my whole life.

But I think I've just begun the process of being a Jesus girl.

And I'm realizing the huge difference between the two--at least as I define it.

A church girl is busy with church activities and roles.
A Jesus girl is quiet and still as often as possible to hear her Father's voice.

A church girl is all about her particular congregation.
A Jesus girl is all about all the congregations--all those within them and all those outside of them.

A church girl memorizes her Scriptures by heart.
A Jesus girl meditates on the Scriptures, stopping to think what they actually mean and how powerful they are.

A church girl fills in all the blanks in her Bible study book.
A Jesus girl is learning to chuck things done out of obligation.

A church girl is all about the latest best seller book or study.
A Jesus girl is diving into the words of Jesus and what he actually did and said while on this earth so that it can be imitated.

A church girl looks to get fed and filled within her church.
A Jesus girls looks for the hungry and empty and is willing to pour herself out.

A church girl prides herself on following the rules, living within the perimeters.
A Jesus girl is regularly broken by her awe of how Jesus' grace erases the rules for all of us who can't live by them anyway.

A church girl sees "us" and "them"--and greatly prefers her comfort zone and her holy huddle.
A Jesus girl sees HIM and us--all undeserving. All covered by grace. All rescued from the same sinking ship.

A church girl is wound tight and narrow minded and bent on doing things as they've always been done.
A Jesus girl is learning how to live on the unforced rhythms of grace.

A church girl is convinced of her goodness.
A Jesus girl is humbled by her wretchedness and bows in awe at the goodness of his grace.

A church girl is full of self-righteousness.
A Jesus girl is grateful to be clothed and covered only by His robes of righteousness.

A church girl tends to judge the book by its cover and thinks in categories and labels.
A Jesus girls looks deep within, fully convinced of our shared humanity and need for grace.

A church girl likes to be noticed for her contributions and efforts.
A Jesus girl is learning to fast from self-glory because all glory is His alone.

A church girl lives on her high horse.
A Jesus girl clings to the hope of the white horse whose rider is called Faithful and True.

A church girl thinks about her efforts being applauded in heaven.
A Jesus girl thinks about bowing low to her knees at the name of Jesus.

A church girl likes to be heard.
A Jesus girl strives to hear His voice, leaning in to listen closely.

A church girl likes her flannel board Jesus. One dimensional, easy to grasp, the protagonist in all the stories.
A Jesus girl can never wrap her mind around the depths and dangers and dimensions of her Jesus and asks him to write all of her stories.

A church girl is all about behavior modification.
A Jesus girl is digging into thought life and heart motivation and throwing herself at the mercy of God.

A church girl lives in her safe little world.
A Jesus girl considers a dangerous world who needs a Savior and what she is called to do to share him--and where she is called to go to do so.

A church girl works to control worry and fears and doubts, desperately throwing out empty prayers with no belief behind them.
A Jesus girl realizes her worry and doubts are nothing but sin and begs the Almighty to help her think the truest things about him, to help her unbelief, and to increase her faith.

A church girl's prayers are full of demands and requests and "I deserve's."
A Jesus girl's prayers are full of confession and adoration and thankfulness.

A church girl likes to read her bible to check it off her list.
A Jesus girl likes to read her bible. Period. 

A church girl finds worth in her reputation and accomplishments.
A Jesus girl finds value in immersing herself in the Word and prayer, emptying herself of any pride.

A church girl seeks to perform for love.
A Jesus girl throws herself completely at the feet of Jesus who pours out a love undeserved, a grace unearned, and a mercy unfathomable.

A church girl is concerned about how others see her.
A Jesus girl is concerned about how she sees Jesus.

A church girl is focused on how others fill her love tank.
A Jesus girl is so filled with his love that it spills over to all those she encounters.

A church girl lives on the safe surface.
A Jesus girl plunges the dangerous depths of wherever trust leads her.

Here's the bottom line. I've been content to live out my faith for nearly my entire life as a church girl.

Good enough for me. Far better than most other people are doing, after all.

But no more.

Not any longer.

I may be late to this game...I may have missed the point for many, many years. Close...but not quite there. I could kick myself for all the lost opportunity to live out a genuine, grace based, gospel driven faith.

Or, I can just leap forward now. And say enough is enough.

I don't want to just be the church lady.

I want to be a Jesus girl.

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