Living Real

Surrendering to the realness of one’s life is not quite as simple as it might sound. Do we allow others to see us as we really are or do we keep the facade going? As Christians, we walk in witness yet where do we draw the realness line? We’re ambassadors of Jesus Christ and we are also human beings with very human problems. So how real do we get?

I don’t know about you but I’ve deeply pondered this many times, especially since my life has been so greatly changed by illness. It can be challenging to be transparent with others. So let me say this comes from my broken state by way of Christ in me.

As Believers, our job is to be obedient and keep it real. But unmasking the realness of our lives can be frightening and intimidating. I'm not saying we throw every detail out into the open and I'm not saying we use it as a dumping ground, but I am saying we have a responsibility to be authentic about our faith. Christians don't have a perfect life, but we know the One who is perfect. Christians don't have all the answers, but we know the One who does. Christianity is not about living a flawless, problem-free life. If we portray that to the world then we are being false because the truth is; none of us have a flawless, problem-free life. None of us.

Jesus was very real with people when He walked this earth. He didn't belittle or dismiss their problems or pain. Instead, He met them right where they were at physically, emotionally and spiritually. He still does. And He called it like it was but showed people the more excellent way because He didn't want them to stay there. He still does that too.

Personally, the more I am drawn into the realness of my relationship with Him, the more I long for total realness in my life. This long, difficult journey I am on is responsible for transforming me into a more real being, a more authentic Christian. It's where God has revealed some of the unexpected to me; it's where He's taken Himself out of the neat little box I put Him in; it's where I've been stretched in my faith. It is the very place where I have learned to surrender.

So the question still remains - how real do we get? That question becomes even more demanding in the face of suffering and nothing can grab our attention for realness like suffering can. It yanks us out of our comfort zones. It shoves us into unwanted pain. It reveals false securities. It challenges our personal theologies. It is truly a crash course in realness.

As I’ve been dealing with my own suffering for many years now, I openly admit I wouldn’t be surviving any part of it without God. Yet I still struggle at times; pain still comes and hard days still happen. The truth is there is a lot of bad and ugly that goes along with the good and we all know it. Sometimes I just don't understand. And sometimes I have more questions than answers.

However, I have found a central key – surrendering to the sovereignty of Almighty God. I know this hardship is producing something within me that cannot be produced anywhere else. I know God has placed a divine destiny within me to be fulfilled. I know He is orchestrating this entire process. So I surrender to it; all of it. But it isn't always easy or appealing. In fact, it's the most difficult and heartwrenching experience I have ever faced!

But Jesus knows a thing or two about difficult and heart-wrenching experiences. Hebrews 5:7-9 says, “While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears to the One who could deliver him out of death. And God heard his prayers because of his reverence for Him. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”

I must look to Jesus in my suffering, as we all must, for He understands the totality of it. He understands better than anyone the impact that suffering has on human lives. And He also understands the impact of obedience. Jesus surrendered to the realness of His life on this earth when He picked up that Cross and carried it to Calvary. It wasn’t for His personal benefit; it was for ours. He fully surrendered to His suffering with us, the whole world, in mind.

By learning to surrender to the realness of my own life, I am ultimately reminded that I can’t begin to live fully real apart from my Creator. Paul said it best when he said, “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Yet learning to live real does not mean we subsist and flourish in the good, happy pleasant times while we live down and sugar coat the painful, difficult and unpleasant ones. It means we learn how to be in both by the foundation of our faith in Christ; that we learn, as Paul said, to live, move and have our being in Him through it all.

There will never be a time when we only exist in either the highs or the lows. Rather we learn to walk through both and oftentimes simultaneously. Usually we oscillate in between and in so doing; we learn how to interrelate with God in every facet of our lives. And by this we can show others who sustains us through it all; no matter what our circumstances. It's really all about our knowing Jesus and allowing Him to be seen and known through us.

I truly believe the Christian faith calls and screams out for genuine realness. I believe it's what many people are looking for now more than ever. I have since come to see that my own realness dilemma is conquered through the very act of surrender. And I think there's something very beautiful about surrendering to God’s sovereignty as it operates in our lives.

I believe living real for the Glory of God is pleasing to Him. And I want to live real. Real enough to express the truth of my struggle through the hope of my faith. And real enough to let Him and His strength shine brightly and beautifully through every step of my life's journey.

Copyright © 2010 Michelle Holderman

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