Unholier Than Thou
Don’t start thinking I’m super holy just because you landed on a website with the word God in the title.
I mean, I am a Christian, of course. I fall more in love with Jesus every day, but as hard as I try, I can’t seem to master the art of ‘being Christian.’ I want to look more and act more like Jesus, but it’s so hard and confusing, too. There are a bunch of things in the pages of the bible that I don't understand, and I am not sure I will on this side of heaven. That would be okay if weren’t for the fact that sometimes I think I’m the only one who finds becoming more like Jesus difficult.
Have you ever walked into a church or a room full of Christians and felt sort of out of place? For example, you are talking to someone, and the conversation makes you think of something from pop culture that might be inappropriate. You can’t help but laugh out loud just a little and the person you’re with looks at you funny. Now you either have to explain what you were laughing about or lie. Those are your options. Either way, you are bamboozled because whether you share the joke or fib, the outcome is clear. You are unholy. In Christian circles, you’re the worst.
I try to avoid these situations by looking super holy and highlighting the things about myself that prove it. For example, I attend church. Holy. But not every single Sunday. Unholy. I don't swear (holy), except when I am mad or get cut off in traffic (unholy). I can memorize pop song lyrics like a boss, but recalling scripture is more challenging (both unholy). Sometimes I just want to let go of trying so hard and just dance to fun music with questionable lyrics (super unholy!)
My favorite is when I run into that person, you know the one, with the sweet disposition and the well-loved and slightly falling apart bible in her hand who has never had an unholy day. Sure, she’s not perfect but her not perfect looks very different from mine. Her not perfect means she only spent 30 minutes with Jesus this morning instead of her usual hour. I started to pray in the shower but got distracted by washing my hair, and I can’t remember if I said amen. Maybe that’s just me. Either way, I suffer by comparison. Of course, comparing myself to someone else is an unholy trap, and I’m not supposed to do that, either.
The point is that I want to look like other Christians and become more holy, but sometimes I feel like I am just swimming upstream against the current. It isn’t coming naturally, and while I’m not afraid of hard work, it seems like I am fighting a losing battle. I just wasn’t built that way. As it turns out, I will always be unholier than thou.
But bear with me for a second. What if I am not supposed to be anything other than what I am? I am a pop culture loving, sarcastic, sometimes funny, and slightly inappropriate girl who wants to be badass for Jesus. Maybe God just wants me to be myself because he created me and he thinks I'm cool. He isn’t surprised by my failed attempts at trying to be more like him. Because here's the deal. Changing myself isn’t my job. My job is to be me and let God change me from the inside out.
I’ve been striving and struggling to look like I belong in the Christian world, but maybe I was always meant to stand out. The things that make me, well, me, are the very things God is using. My unholiness makes me approachable and relatable to people which, through me, makes God approachable and relatable.
Jesus was nothing if not approachable. People with all kinds of quirks, illnesses, and issues approached him for healing and help. In fact, Jesus wasn’t that interested in the holiest of the group. He preferred to spend time with the imperfect. With the people considered to be unholier than thou.
I cannot make myself more holy. It’s not within my power. My power rests in using the gifts and personality the Lord gave me from the beginning. I don’t need to shore up my weaknesses. I am called to live out of my strengths even if they are weird to other people. Truthfully, I like those things about me that are a little saltier than most. I am choosing to believe that God can and will use my unholiness for his glory. And that’s a heck of a revelation. So if you are holy, all the love friends. Well done. And if not, sit by me and let’s ponder the beautiful ways God can and will use us to change the world instead of changing ourselves.