For a while I was planning to write this post and it was going to be called “I’m Sorry (Again.)” because it was essentially a re-writing of my post “I’m Sorry”. I’ve been coming to this realization time and time again. It’s almost like clockwork, how often I think those things that were in that post. Lately I’ve been feeling like I screwed up and that I’ve fallen short of those expectations that others have for me. I had wanted to publicly apologize again for not meeting “the standard.” (Whatever that even is.) I even started writing it out too. I showed all the ways I have fallen short over the past few months. I was going to go on about the fact that I drifted from church, from some of my friends, that I’ve gotten disconnected from a lot of things; that saying “God” felt foreign rolling off my tongue, that my bible has collected a considerable amount of dust. I was going to tell you all that I am a failure and that I’m, once again, not the hero you wanted me to be.
I’m not the perfect Christian the adults in my church want me to be. I’m not the best sister to my siblings. I’m not the best daughter. I’m not the best friend or the best ministry leader or the best jr high leader or heck, I’m not even the best blogger. I have fallen short of all these expectations; the ones I have from other people and even the ones I have for myself. I’m not always the person I want to be.
And I’m learning to deal with that.
I’m not where I want to be but thank God I’m not where I was. That’s how that saying goes, doesn’t it? There’s another one I’ve been seeing a lot. “I’ve been learning to let the place between where I am and where I want to be inspire me and not terrify me.”
I’m learning to let my doubts strengthen my faith instead of weaken it. I’ve been allowing myself time to acknowledge my shortcomings. I’m starting to see I don’t need to be a fake person.
I walked into church two weeks ago for the first Sunday in like a month. I was scared the night before; I was worried it wasn’t going to feel like home and I wouldn’t be able to connect with the people anymore because I had been away for so long. I had thought, once again, that God was waiting for me; crossing His arms, shaking His head. Maybe I thought the people were going to be like that too. But I got there and I cried the entire sermon and through most of the music. It made me feel like myself again. For the millionth time I realized that no matter how far away I get, God will always want me back. I realized that I am exactly the hero He needs me to be. In my sin, dirtiness, flaws; all of it. This is where I can really be of use. It’s actually in that mess where I’m best suited for the job. This is where I am humbled enough to let go of my pride and stop pretending I’m so great and have it All Together.
I don’t think my church or my school or the world need one more individual who pretends to be okay.
The truth is, I’m scared to mess up because people are watching me. I have siblings that look up to me, I’m a jr high leader, there are girls at my church I want to help. It’s not just myself I have to look out for and that terrifies me. But I thought about how I want to be the person I needed when I was younger. Younger Faith didn’t need someone to sugar coat stuff for her; little me needed someone who was strong and not afraid to admit when she was wrong. She needed someone who was brave enough to be themselves, unapologetically; flaws and all. I needed someone who didn’t use that as a free pass to keep messing up, but used it as a way to move on.
That’s what I want to be.
I’m done apologizing to you for not meeting your expectations. I am not like my brother or my best friend or my mom; I’m not going to be the next church success story or whatever. I’m going to be me. I’m the girl with a mouth. (even though she’s working on it.) I go on feminist rants, my music swears sometimes, I have my belly button pierced, I’ll probably get more tattoos, I have my issues and doubts about Christianity as an organized religion, I love arguing, (so please don’t tempt me I’m trying to stop.) I create art that deals with taboo things like sex, sometimes my clothes aren’t perfectly modest, I have a hard time setting boundaries for anything, sometimes I blatantly ignore advice from the bible and from friends, and you know what? I am loved and accepted by God anyway. Yes, I screw up and
sometimes most of the time I know better. But hating myself will get me nowhere. Constantly apologizing will get me nowhere. Instead, I’m adopting a new philosophy that says I am allowed to make mistakes and I can have grace for myself. I am trying to get better. It’s two steps forward, one step back. And I am learning to love myself as much in the backward steps as I do in the forward ones.
Every day I realize more and more the meaning of the phrase “take me as I am.”
So if you’re like me, I want you to know that you’re not alone. Seriously. I know so many people share this same fear as I do; that’s why I wanted to address it. I wish we could have serious dialogue about the things we’re going through. You do not have to be perfect to be accepted. Honest people are the best kind of people; and that’s what I’ve always striven to be.
It’s for this reason I’ve given up on apologizing to everyone for every little thing I do. As twenty one pilots says, “We’re broken, we’re broken people.”
I think I’m finally okay with that.