I Got Really Good At Being Good
Even while I was never completely sold on this Christian stuff - an excerpt from "Losing Control"
I got really good at being good. But my big problem was that I was never completely sold on this Christian stuff. I never felt like it was working for me while it appeared to be working for all the happy, firm-handshaking people at church. They were happy as they conversed over coffee in the lobby. They were great with eye contact and firm handshakes.
I wanted it to work so badly for me. I justified my disappointment in myself by thinking I wasn’t supposed to be living for any level of joy in this temporal life but merely for the eternal next. Maybe this is what it meant to “die to myself.”
I wanted my relationship with Jesus to be the amazing thing that it was advertised to be. I wanted the joy and good hairstyles that I saw the religious people on television had. I wanted to have it all together. But I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get it all together. I didn’t have all the answers. I wasn’t happy all the time. And I spent most of my days afraid that somebody would find out.
To counter that fear I went to more Bible studies, more retreats, conferences, listened to more Christian music. I sang in front of the church. I sang with a tie on. But still something wasn’t connecting.
As a result, I rarely took the chance to be honest with anyone in leadership at church. Plus, honesty could put you on the prayer list before you got in the car—and not in a good way. It could also disqualify you from sharing your musical talents or future leadership opportunities. Just keep it inside, keep smiling, and keep hoping people see Jesus, I’d think to myself.
If I ever took a chance and was vulnerable enough to share my feelings with someone, the advice sounded something like, “Well, are you reading the Bible enough?” or “Have you tried memorizing some key verses?” or “How about coming to our single’s group? We do some great outreach events!” It all came down to this: I was never doing enough. There was always something more I could be doing. Something I wasn’t doing that just might be the trick to turn me around.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t necessarily need “turning around.” I wasn’t on the highway to hell (at least I didn’t think I was!). I just didn’t think I was getting all the benefits that were being sold from the platform regarding this whole God thing.
I was literally trying to control God to get what I wanted, and it wasn’t working.
I continued on this sick carousel of shame, believing there was something wrong with me. Something that could be fixed by doing more. I was involved in leading worship—which meant getting up super early on Sunday morning, memorizing a whole bunch of songs, and plowing through three services fueled by coffee and Krispy Kreme donuts. It was completely exhausting. More and more service opportunities came up, only making me and other people more and more exhausted and needing “breaks” from ministry. None of this made any sense to me.
“Losing Control: Finding Freedom By Letting Go” is ultimately a book about hope, even while I lay out some gut-wrenching stories about how I tried to make my faith life work, leading me to being a person filled with resentment, bitterness and frustration toward other people, myself, and even God. You can find LOSING CONTROL in my online store! The book is also available on Amazon in paperback, audiobook, and Kindle versions. Wherever you are on your journey, I’m sure you’ll find some common threads in my story with yours, and hopefully, through our shared journeys, the days ahead will be better than any you’ve ever imagined.