“I’m over pretty Christians.”
I said this to my friend Emma. And then I wrote in my journal about this… realizing I too have been a “pretty Christian”.
It is 2019. Let’s face it. Social media has become a highlight reel of our best moments. And Christians, we are the biggest producers of this culture.
We gotta hang with out pretty friends, take solo pics of just them, add coffee, and flip to the chapter in our Bible where the most highlights are used.
“This girl. This day. #blessed.”
Maybe, not exactly like that… but you get the point.
Side note: I’m confessing something embarrassing… in high school I felt like I needed to highlight more in my Bible. Why? Because I saw some girl with more highlights and I didn’t want to look like I didn’t use the Bible. How tragic would that be! (Now I realize this is CRAZZZYYY! But I can’t be the only one who has ever done this…)
So we take the pic of our pretty Bible, pretty nine dollar cup of coffee, and pretty friend. We then go back to our prettier Pinterest boards and dream of a prettier life because Katie from life group has a prettier life. And our favorite blogger is way cooler and we don’t want to learn from her, we want to BE her.
We make sure our social media stays the same. We want people to see the good parts of being a Christian. When we do the right things, when we serve our community, when we hang with our fellow pretty Christians, serve at our pretty camps, and maybe, if you’re the best of the best get married to a pretty spouse by the age of 22.
But does anyone know about how much you gossip? Does anyone know about your mistake from freshman year? Does anyone know anything about you that doesn’t make you sound pretty? Probably not. We hide those parts. We aren’t honest with others and we aren’t honest with ourselves.
Let me be real: there’s NOTHING wrong with reading your Bible and posting it. There’s nothing wrong with serving at camps. (I’m sure glad I served at mine for years.)
But Christianity lately seems too pretty. And let’s be real – life is not pretty, and Christianity was never EVER called to be pretty.
In my opinion, what speaks most to how Christianity should be is when Jesus sweated blood.
Yes, sweated blood.
Luke 22:44 “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.“
Backstory: Jesus was chilling in this garden before the soldiers took Him to be crucified, before Judas His friend betrayed Him. Jesus was NERVOUS. So nervous many scholars believe Jesus actually sweated blood. A condition we now know as Hematidrosis, caused by extreme stress at times. (Usually knowing an execution will be taken place) This shows two remarkable things:
- Jesus knew what was coming and He would have to suffer for our sake.
- Jesus was scared. Very scared.
Carrying your cross is messy. Truthfully, it is represented in the crown of thorns and not coffee hangs with lovely Bibles, and pretending our life is perfect on social media. Truthfully, it is represented by blood being sweat, and not in selfies with airbrushed filters to hide our blemishes.
The cross was messy. We are broken. Being Christian is about seeing your weakness, and God’s strength.
I wonder how different this year would be for the Kingdom if we all stop pretending? What if we put down our filters in life and were honest? What if we admitted being a Christian is tough…it causes us to see our sins and our messes. It causes our lives to not be as “cool” at times. However, our beautiful Savior comes and makes us clean. He heals our brokenness and gives us new mercies every day.
Keep highlighting your Bible and hanging with your friend who is annoyingly pretty. Take pictures of her too. Nothing is wrong with these things. But don’t allow your life to be a highlight reel. Check your intentions before you post.
Truth is, life knocks us down. We get sacked over and over again. We mess up. Yet, God is still good. And doing life with Him causes us to see the One who turns our ashes into beauty.
So let’s admit we aren’t as cool as we are online. Let’s search for people different than us and get out of our Christian bubbles. (@me on this one, I struggle here) And let’s carry the cross. That ugly cross. The cross that once made people scared because it stood for death. The cross that caused Jesus to sweat blood. But a cross that now is beautiful and a sign of freedom because of our Savior.
The cross heals. The cross is truth. So let’s live in truth. That life is messy, so are we, but Jesus heals, loves us, and calls us to live with Him.
Photocreds for photo in article: lol photo of me smiling in a parking lot when I really put on makeup for the first time all week just for this photo, and hated that week of school b/c finals were miserable. so the photo used was me being a “pretty Christian”. I’m praying for myself to work on this, and praying for you
Also, follow me on instagram @thegracevalentine or twitter @gracev96 for more encouragement.
PEACE + BLESSINGS.
xoxo- your honorary best friend, grace valentine