Tears made tracks down pretty faces and I wondered if they knew how beautiful being messy really is. We wiped the salty desperation from our faces unashamed because we came thirsty and needy. Every face told a story, most of them were the same just in different seasons. I’m tired of watching the shame bully throw guilt in the faces of godly girls just doing their best. I didn’t expect them to open up right away. But I knew this to be a universal truth; if I hold back so will they.
Somehow lost in translation, this thing of showing up to church and serving became a noose around a few necks. And as much as I hate to even type this…they love Jesus but had stopped loving the church.
If we have to show up perfect, we are going to be late for everything.
Maybe it’s because I’m forty-one, maybe it’s because I know what it’s like to be shamed into service. Maybe it’s because I have served in just about every capacity in the church that I wholeheartedly reject the shaming approach to servanthood. Not because I don’t love working in different roles, but because I love serving in the right roles.
One hour can change everything and sometimes- just showing up needs to be enough.
Words flowed from an unscripted plan and I knew that was when God did His best work in me. No list or perfect outline. No desire to edit out the ugly side of the wrestle of womanhood. Just an intimate group of women showing up wrecked and hearing words that remove the shame-noose of perfection around heads trying to stay above water.
Perfection is fear based hiding, so what are you afraid that people will see?
“…the pursuit of perfection can keep us from discovering God’s purpose for our lives. It can distort who he created us to be, and then the world misses out on the gifts only we have to offer.” ~You’re Loved No Matter What, Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect by Holley Gerth
That night I saw freedom stirring in the hearts of women ready for real change that lasts. Some said nothing and some dove headfirst into the deep and gave us the gift of flawed beauty by saying, “I’m starving here.”
I thought about the woman pleading for her daughter. I thought about how most of the time we are so slow to ask for help for ourselves. But when it comes to our children or our loved ones, we lay down our pride and the shame of being needy for the hope of something in the supernatural. I recalled the exchange of words between a gutsy woman and Jesus, and the disciples who just thought she was a nuisance and wanted to dismiss her.
Coming to Jesus needy and empty-handed was the catalyst for her miracle.
21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.[a] (Matt 15:12-28 ESV)
We are so desperate for something real that we will take the crumbs falling from another woman’s table because we don’t think we are worthy of a full meal and unleashed blessings from God. Shame and perfection have become our Kryptonite and coming to church admitting that we are needy have become ridiculously taboo.
Our messiness is often the precursor for the miraculous.
We are so afraid of our small offerings. Yet in this case, a needy woman ready for crumbs was more than enough to stop Jesus in his tracks to praise her faith and grant her desire. He even had time to give the disciples a verbal spanking and a lesson on what reaching lost sheep looks like. It doesn’t look like perfection or shame at all, it looks like praise and a soul-satisfied, spirit-fed faith.
You don’t have to hide.
You don’t have to be perfect.
You don’t have to dismiss your small and messy because, friend, that is simply your starting place.
We are in this together.
So much love to you,