Keep It Real


One of the things I find frustrating as a Christian, is also one of the reasons I think people sometimes fall away from their Christian walk, and why some may even turn away from approaching Christianity as something they desire.

I have said before that I would not give up what I’ve gained since accepting Christ for anything…not for promises of great happiness, or wealth, or health or anything.  Even in the midst of great trials I’ve gone through, and great times of waiting for God’s timing when my timing was saying that he was running very late, I cannot turn away from my faith in Him who I know can always and in everything be trusted with my life.

Yet, I am so very human.  I have an intense desire in my life to be able to ‘keep it real’, as I often say…to be free to be who I am and not hide what I’m thinking, or what I’m feeling at some moment.  I am open about it.  Why not?  God knows the truth, no matter how hard I’m trying to cover it up.  Besides, I’ve lived that other way before, and it’s highly unpleasant.

The trouble is that when I am open at times about being angry, being stressed, feeling down, some of my Christian brothers and sisters read that to mean that I am not trusting well enough…that I am not being led by the Spirit of God.  Sometimes they express concern for me with things like, “Are you okay? Are you sure?” 🙂  I do know that the hearts are very well meaning in these things, so I do not mean any unkindness with these words, by the way.  And sadly, I know that these people hold themselves to those same ideas and standards many times.

I am not saying that sometimes they’re not correct in assuming that I’m getting off the beaten path a little, or that there is not a time to gently let a brother or sister know that they are going the road alone and to look up in the midst of whatever they’re feeling.  And I am certainly not saying there are not times to recognize when someone is really going through something difficult and needs your comfort and concern.  But I think we must be careful to recognize when a person is expressing their emotions or feelings, or their struggles…but still looking up and fully trusting God…still okay, and when that person is trusting in, or living by the emotions or feelings or struggles rather than trusting in God, or is really struggling with something.  But we must not look at others and expect them to be perfect, and we must certainly not expect ourselves to be either.

Can we just keep it real, then?  Can we not be afraid to express what we’re feeling inside for fear that someone will chastise us for it, or read into it something that is not there?

I have to laugh here, because in writing this I realize that some will think when they read my words that I am overly obsessed with this or highly upset about it.   I’m not, but it is something I have noticed through the years many times, and in many ways.  Bottom line…I trust God.  The best thing that ever happened in my life was when I accepted Jesus Christ and decided to make him Lord of my life.  It was not a point at which I fell into a state of bondage.  It was the point at which I found freedom.  So then, I will seek to live as one who is free…not as one who is bound up tightly by some need to look or behave some particular way.   But I pray that I will indeed live by the Spirit, and not by my own selfish ways.  Where I am not, may God direct me back in the right direction…because that is where the freedom lies.

Love and blessings,

Anne

Philippians 3:8-14

King James Version (KJV)

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Scripture passage from BibleGateway.com

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About Anne Sikes

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." (2 Cor. 4:7) Sharing the journey through daily thoughts and struggles, examination of Scripture, poetry, music and art.
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29 Responses to Keep It Real

  1. Maggie says:

    And I think we need to keep in mind that God made us with feelings and emotions. Because of our salvation we know we can trust Him in all things. I do not believe, for example, if I’m frustrated or sad that that means I’m not trusting Him enough. Being led by the Spirit is knowing we are weak but can be made strong in Him. I am so grateful for that assurance.

    • Anne Sikes says:

      That’s so true, Maggie. And I am so very glad that with God, I can be real. I don’t have to pretend to be strong, or brave. That truly is freedom. 🙂 Thanks for commenting! ♥

  2. Jackie Smith says:

    I hear you. Jesus sweat blood in Gethsemane. Surely He was fearful and doubtful. Yet He trusted His Gather enough to continue to the cross.

  3. Chrystal says:

    Amen to that. My whole blog is pretty much based on m admission of my weaknesses, failures & fears & what I’m learning about them, myself & our amazing God. I have wondered many times if people just think I’m whining or not a “good” Christian, etc. and feel the need to “help” me. But I know that God wants me to be vulnerable, open, etc. and share what He is teaching me! Thanks, Anne!

  4. I understand what you’re saying Anne….it is perfectly human to be imperfect…. and still know that God is there for you and you are trusting implicitly in Him…does that make sense or not lol Diane

  5. Here’s keeping it real… the god of the Bible is fake.

    • Anne Sikes says:

      I’m very sorry you believe that…truly. May I ask what makes you believe it? I sincerely appreciate you commenting, and keeping it real for your own thoughts. –Anne

      • I was raised a fundamentalist Christian. However, being lesbian and being sent to ex-gay camps, my investment in Christianity was much more than the standard small investment that most Christians make, thereby creating the cognitive dissonance (one good book to read on that is “Opening Skinners Box” by Slater). So, I went to Bible College because I was determined to figure out what was true. After a while in Bible College, I became an atheist because I found out that there was no truth to Christianity – just faith.

        There is no rational reason to believe in the Christian religion.

        • Anne Sikes says:

          I understand. I’ve had this discussion with some other atheist friends before too. But for me, I can’t ‘not’ believe…not because of blind faith…not anymore. But because I have experienced God’s presence in many ways in my life…ways that there is no rational explanation for. I did try hard at one time not to believe. LOL…it makes me laugh thinking about it, because it was impossible for me, and not believing would’ve made my life much easier in ways at the time…especially since my husband at the time had said he no longer believed. Kind of made things strained between us in ways, and made us have sort of separate lives in a lot of ways.

          I will also say that my oldest daughter went the opposite direction from you. She professed atheism…very angrily, at one time when she was in her early 20’s. I couldn’t even remotely make any innocent remark about church or God and a wall went up and the angry retorts flew…or she’d just go out the door. It was always perceived as me preaching to her somehow. 🙂 And now her faith is at times stronger than mine.

          Anyway, thank you for sharing that. I will say, I in no way judge you for any reason. Maybe if I was perfect and above reproach I could, somehow. LOL But I would be lying if I didn’t say that I do hope you someday will find the reality of God. And I do thank you for your honesty. –Anne

          • … Such as? What ways that have you “experienced God’s presence in many ways in [your] life”? How about your best reason you believe? And if you’re already prefixing it with “there is no rational explanation for” the reasons you believe, why do you believe? You recognize that it’s not rational.

            I’m sad that your daughter was unable to live in reality.

            …Wait you just said that there were no rational reasons that you had for believing in your god, yet you expect me to find “the reality of God” when everything shows that there is no god in this world? I can only hope you come to your senses and realize that Christianity is a lie taught to people to enrich the priesthood and make us hate what is beautiful and good in the world.

            • Anne Sikes says:

              I’m also curious what church you were involved with…what denomination I mean? Your last sentence makes me shudder with its coldness and with what a sad statement it is…and untrue..”…a lie taught to people to enrich the priesthood and make us hate what is beautiful and good in the world.” Wow. I have more love for what is beautiful and good in the world now than I ever did before knowing Christ…and I see more beauty and good too…in people like yourself, underneath all the anger, which I have a pretty good sense comes from deep hurt.

            • Christianity teaches us that life is to be endured, not enjoyed – and that real pleasure and joy awaits after death. I find that blatantly false. I also find the teaching of hell to be one of the most disgusting things about Christianity and one of the most disgusting things about Christians – that they would willingly believe in AND SUPPORT a system that teaches that everyone who doesn’t believe will be tortured forever.

              Christianity also has a noxious effect on outsiders as well, whether it be the weakening and dumbing down of science education and research, the bans against marriage equality, the fight against a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body and the fight against condoms in AIDS-ridden Africa. It is a threat to it’s believers and non-believers alike. That is what makes Christianity dangerous – the way it objectively hurts people in the here and now, the real world.

              I am hurt because I cannot marry my partner. I am hurt because many of my former friends, who were Christians, will no longer associate with me because they believe I am “of the devil”. I am hurt because other people are being hurt continually by Christianity and my empathy has grown back since leaving Christianity.

              And I am continually hurt to see all the people who ignore all of this and continue to sell out their empathy for their fellow man, to spiritually lobotomize that part of their brain that makes them feel the suffering of their fellow man, in the name of “being saved”. That’s just one of the many ways that Christianity is the rape of the soul.

            • Anne Sikes says:

              There are a lot of cold and cruel people in the world who do a lot of cold and cruel things in the name of whatever it is that they believe…or sometimes don’t believe. You view of Christianity is an unfortunate one, and I’m sure it’s your experience. Hey…my own experience of professed Christians is one of judgment and hate at times too…but that is not Christ. It is not Christianity. It’s people. There are non Christians who hate gays too. It’s a people thing…a fear thing, more than anything else.

              You say that Christians are taught that joy and happiness is only in the afterlife. I disagree. I have joy…I laugh…joke around…have a lot of fun in life. Yeah, I have a ton of problems, and I take comfort in the fact that I believe in the afterlife.

              You say that people who believe have “spiritually lobotomized that part of their brain that makes them feel the suffering of their fellow man, in the name of being saved.” Extremely untrue. Again…that is a ‘people’ thing…people from all sorts of beliefs or non-belief or whatever that have hate in their souls and find some way to justify it. Yes, there are Christians who justify hating others with Bible verses. There are also atheists who justify hating Christians because of the actions of some…just as some would say that all gays and lesbians are amoral people who run around having orgies and indoctrinating children…or whatever they say…there are others who hate Christians who say all Christians are hateful, arrogant, murder abortion doctors, picket funerals (like Westboro Baptist Church), etc. I say, you’re unfairly judging me, and others…many others.

              Again, you never said what specific church you were involved with, but I would venture the assumption that it was not preaching the truth of Christianity, if what they preached was the kinds of things you stated above.

              You want to know who I am? Or have you just made up your mind already about me, in the same way that some have made their minds up about you just by knowing you’re a lesbian…or maybe that you’re an atheist.

              So you lost friends over who you are? I have too. Your last statement, “Christianity is the rape of the soul.” For me, Christianity is freedom of the soul. It is knowing unconditional love…not from people who have personalities and their own agendas…but from God.

              People quote John 3:16 all the time. Hey, I love that verse as much as any other Christian does. But I say don’t forget the next verse…John 3:17: “For he came not into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.”

              Life is complicated…full of good and bad and pain and joy and that’s life…period. Some people will like you. Others won’t. So?

              Jesus said, “Come to me you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest…” He didn’t say, “Go to your nearest fundamentalist Baptist preacher…here’s a couple good names I recommend.” He didn’t say, “Look to whatever people say about you and think about you and whatever they say, do it and you’ll be happy.” He also said that in this world we’re gonna have trouble, but to be of good cheer cuz he overcame the world.

              I’m not here trying to preach to you, Jessica…only to say, don’t judge Christ…don’t judge God who I know IS LOVE, and don’t judge me by what others have done. If you truly believe what you said above, then it’s not God…it’s not Christ that you know and that you described above. And it’s certainly not me.

              Respectfully, Anne

            • If it’s not Christianity, then why do so many Christians practice hate? Why is it not condemned nor opposed effectively if it is not Christianity? It is people and the majority of people either espousing the hate or not doing something about it.

              There are non-Christians that hate gays too, granted. However, in the Western world, it seems like the Christians are the ones leading the cause to try to push discrimination against equality. They try to push evil laws and their own religion down people’s throats. If that’s not Christianity, then why do the majority (even if that majority is growing slimmer) support it?

              How am I unfairly judging you when that is what I see? I still think my judgment is fair and valid when your response to this issue is pretty much “tough shit, yeah Christians do bad things but it’s not all Christians and not just Christians”. True, but the majority of people doing these evil things to people are Christians.

              You know, so many people claim that their church preaches the “truth of Christianity” and that the other churches “don’t get it” that I’ve gotten tired of that debate. Pretty much, Christianity is fragmented into the people who actively do evil deeds, those who are silent about the people who do the evil deeds and the minority that speaks out against these evil deeds (not loud enough). So, I have a hard time with that “truth of Christianity” deal because I see it as meaning different things to different people and it gets people nowhere.

              Christianity is not the freedom of the soul because it attaches one to a doctrine that teaches them all sorts of nasty things. If you don’t believe in a literal hellfire where people are burning, but you don’t have to worry about it because you’re enjoying heaven empathy-free, then you believe in the concept of sin, which helped to finance the Catholic church. If you don’t believe in sin, you believe that the God of the Bible is good (which is laughable considering that Hitler’s mass murders pale in comparison to God’s, if you count the numbers). Christianity separates people from the “saved” and the “unsaved”, the “believer” and the “heathen”.

              I can judge Jesus and your god, which I both know enable the kind of evil that is perpetrated by Christians today. If not, then they would not have allowed the Bible to come into being without some severe and sweeping edits.

              If you believe in this book, then at best – your god and Jesus are responsible at least for severe negligence if they are omnipotent, omniscient and loving – yet they did not see that the Bible would cause severe problems for certain people and decide to go down and change it. The Bible does not have the “word of god” but the word of men, which is why it has a morality trapped in the bronze age (which is where it emanated from).

            • Anne Sikes says:

              How am I unfairly judging you when that is what I see? I still think my judgment is fair and valid when your response to this issue is pretty much “tough shit, yeah Christians do bad things but it’s not all Christians and not just Christians”. True, but the majority of people doing these evil things to people are Christians….that wasn’t what I said. I in no way am saying “tough shit”…it’s painful and hard. It always ‘seems’ to one group like another group is the one that hates more. And I have heard some really super hateful things said toward Christians from non-Christians. You’re convinced because of your experiences and your heart is hardened, and that’s that. But you are judging me based on what you have determined is true of all Christians…and of Christianity itself. And the truth is that it’s a wrong judgment. As I said, it’s about people…the Muslim religion says gays should be put to death.

              There’s not much point in me even trying to convince you though…you have your mind made up, and are convinced that me and all of my Christian cohorts are evil and hateful. I can tell you, I have lost friends because I don’t hate gays…specifically on that issue. So I know that ‘some people’ feel that way. But I have also seen others who aren’t Christian who hate not just gays, but a lot of ‘other thinking’ people. And there are a whole lot of people who hate Christians…or at least ‘born again Christians’ like myself. As for my losing friends over my beliefs, I also have friends who know how I feel and still love me and still agree with my beliefs. But the main point is to look at who Christ was…what he said, how he lived his life, what others said about him…then look at the Christians you’re judging and see if they look anything like Christ himself. If they do…that’s good. If they don’t, that says a lot right there. But you have to remember too that we’re none of us Jesus Christ himself. We’re all just muddling through. But again…sounds like there’s nothing I can say to convince you, because you’re sure you’re right. And there’s certainly nothing you can say to convince me either. But I don’t despise you…I don’t blow off your feelings like they’re unimportant. I’m not cold and unfeeling and heartless. I just honestly pray that your eyes will be opened to see that you’re wrong. But if you’re bound and determined to squeeze them shut to any good that might exist and hold to the mantra that all Christians are evil and hateful, how will you ever see anything else? You don’t want to see it at this point. At least, it sure seems that way to me. And the Bible is not the ‘word of men’. It is the ‘word of God’. But it is often misused by men.

            • I’m convinced because the evidence is lacking for a god, but even if there was evidence, I still wouldn’t worship the Christian god because he comes off as an irresponsible (at best) prick that doesn’t give a damn about the little people.

              I am judging you based on your statements. Seeing all this evil and doing nothing about it is not a good thing. If you don’t hate gays, then why believe in a religion that is homophobic? If you don’t believe it is homophobic, why not work as a Christian and tell people why your faith should not be used (or abused, as you might see it) to legislate discrimination.

              I’m sure I’m right, but I’m willing to be convinced otherwise with reason and evidence, not platitudes. My eyes are open but you have yet to show me where I am wrong. I believe that the majority of Christians are evil and hateful because that’s the reality of it – if they aren’t practicing evil, then they are not combating the evil being practiced by their compatriots. Q.E.D.

              One final point, If your Bible was the “word of god” – why didn’t your god have the foresight to try to avoid and prevent people from misusing it, as you claim?

            • Anne Sikes says:

              God gives us free will and the ability to choose. If He didn’t, that, to me would be less loving than the God that He is…it would mean that He was completely controlling and manipulating us. He doesn’t. He allows us to choose. And how do you figure that the God of the Bible is a “prick who doesn’t give a damn about the little people?” The opposite is true. It’s the meek and humble and hurt and helpless and weak that are greatest in the kingdom of God. The ones who think they’re ‘all that’, are the lowest in His eyes. Even Jesus, who was and is equal to God, was humble and gentle…a servant.

              As for your question, why don’t I do something to change it? What makes you think I don’t? What? That I don’t get on a national platform and speak publicly to everyone? I speak to all those I know about what I believe…I have spoken on Facebook and my blog about it, which is publicly…knowing that the risk was having people walk away. Some have argued with me. Some have remained silent. some have outright become angry with me and tried to change my mind…but they can’t because I believe that what I hold to be true is what God has shown me is true. And others have told me that they agree with me…some privately because they also know the consequences of speaking out…even with people who are family and dear friends.

              I go to a church (didn’t make it this morning) that is non-denominational, and a wonderful, loving church that teaches the Word of God in its entirety. But the church is filled with people, some who judge this thing or that, who live this way or that. But that goes back to what I said before about that just being people. It’s not about Christianity. People who hate gays use the Bible to say they’re right sometimes. I know that. But in doing so, they disregard a lot of things. For example, one of the things I often speak out about, is the fact that a heterosexual couple who is living together outside of marriage will often be welcomed in a church and even be able to serve, but if an openly gay couple were to go to that same church, they’d get dirty looks and be shunned by many…and that’s wrong! As for me personally…I met my husband (with whom I’m separated now), and moved in with him when he was still legally married to someone else. They were separated, but nonetheless, what I did was adultery. Yet, there were only a couple of Christians who said anything to me about it being wrong. Most said it was okay. If I had moved in with another woman and suddenly said I was a lesbian, I would’ve probably lost pretty much everyone in my life…Christian and non-Christian. Do I know exactly what you feel and what you have endured? No…I can’t know. But I do have compassion for you. And I know that the God I serve…the God of the Bible and my saviour Jesus Christ has compassion for you. I know that, because I know the compassion…I have experienced it in my own life, first hand. So you judge me based on what I’ve said? What have I said to make you judge me as less than compassionate…what you’re judging me on is solely on the fact that I am a Christian, and your determination of what that makes me. How is that any different than someone looking at you and judging you based solely on the fact that you’re a lesbian? Or an atheist? It’s not different. I don’t even know a lot of things about who you are. All I know is that you are a lesbian, an atheist, and that you’ve been hurt by Christianity and hate Christians because of it. But that’s not all of who you are…I don’t know what you do for a living…the things that make you tick…the things you love that make you laugh…the things that draw a tear to your eye. When I decide whether I like someone or not, it’s not based on their sexuality or religion or lack of it. I actually like pretty much everyone. Some people get on my nerves more than others. LOL…and the reverse is true…that’s about personalities though, that clash sometimes. Some people have more in common than others, etc. But even when I feel extreme anger toward a person, I can’t think of anyone that I hate. I hate the actions of people sometimes, but I don’t hate the people…and I DO have compassion for you, whether you believe it or not. But the important thing is that my God does, whether you believe it or not.

  6. Anne Sikes says:

    You misunderstood me. I said there was no ‘rational explanation’…meaning for the things that I’ve experienced to explain them away as anything other than acts of God. The are numerous…direct answers to prayer…the time that I actually felt God’s love that is described in Eph. 3:14-21…and it was absolutely incredible. It was one of the absolute lowest points in my life, and was after I had become a Christian. And LOL…no alcohol or drugs were involved. It just happened. I wasn’t even praying, but I was sitting alone in the quiet and in my mind had gone into a meditative state…into the presence of God really because my heart was so heavy. He spoke to my heart…direct and personal things, and I was absolutely surrounded with that love that is impossible to describe.

    I have had many other things happen…many other times when God spoke to me…and NO…not out loud in a voice like I would hear someone in the room with me…but extremely real. I have talked about some of the things in earlier blogs on here at times. But I have not gone into all of them…like I said, little answers to prayer that were so direct and to the point that they were unquestionable.

    The most recent thing was getting my teeth fixed. I have no insurance and had a mouthful of rotten teeth. I go to a free clinic for care, and all they do is refer people to have teeth pulled if they get bad enough for that, but not for dental care like I needed. I had decided to directly ask God, boldly, to “give me back my smile.” I was thinking about him providing a way maybe to have my teeth pulled and get dentures or implants or something.

    Through me stepping out into a direction that I almost cancelled, because it wasn’t good enough, I was set up with a benefactor who knew nothing whatsoever about me or my prayer…and now have a mouthful of crowns…I have my smile back. Nobody will EVER convince me that was anything other than a direct answer to my prayer, and an absolute miraculous event. I know absolutely that it was.

    One of the funniest ways that God answered a prayer was once about 9 or 10 years ago, when my dryer broke down. My daughter and granddaughter were living with me. I had tried every way I could to fix it myself, to no avail. I really couldn’t afford at the time to get someone to fix it, had probably spent an hour trying, but nothing worked, and had a bunch of laundry to do. In frustration I took a ‘crazy’ step of faith (something I’ve been known to do from time to time.) 🙂 I put my hands over the dryer, bowed my head and prayed for God to fix it. After the prayer, I pushed the button to see if it would start (kind of timidly I might add), and it made a really funny rattling sort of noise and started right up. It gave me shivers! Hey…never say God won’t answer the ‘small’ things. LOL

    I have been through some very difficult times too…really difficult times that were like waiting periods. I’m actually still in one in some ways now. But I’m talking lower times than I’d ever had in my life. And in the midst of them, there would be ‘little miracles’, I like to call them…little ways that God would show me that He was there…sort of like saying, “I haven’t left you…I’m still here and I still love you…keep holding on.” Coincidence? No…no coincidence to these things. It boils down to the fact that I trust God…I believe fully that He is there because I know he is. LOL I don’t pray up to some empty sky…like just calling out some name of a God that I don’t know. I know Him. I have felt His presence. I trust Him and when you do have faith, it’s not like He’s some magic lottery machine…I don’t get everything I ask for. But I get HIM, nonetheless, all through the process.

    How do I convince someone of that? It would not be me who could do that convincing…no matter what I told you. You could find some way to try to blow off what I say, if nothing else to say I’m just crazy or something. LOL…and I have to say that if I am crazy, I like crazy. But I’m not.

    You sound very angry, by the way…I sense a lot of anger in you toward Christianity. And if you think I don’t understand why that is, you’re wrong. Christians are human beings and can be just like any other ones. Some are harsh and judgmental and bullies…but not just Christians…’people’…period. You don’t become a Christian and suddenly be some perfect model of Jesus Christ. But that said, there are some really good Christians who do use him as their model, as we should. I try to, but if someone pushes my buttons you’ll see steam come out my ears and I’ve been known to spout off in anger (one of my biggest downfalls it seems…this mouth of mine when I get angry.)

    You don’t know me, but I can tell you that I am a very honest person, and the people who know me could confirm that. I would not say that those things happened if it wasn’t the absolute truth.

    Oh, how I could go on here. But I won’t. Suffice it to say…again…that I believe not out of blind faith at all…but I believe because I KNOW. But I didn’t come to that knowledge until after I took the step of blind faith, about 30 years ago.

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