Dear Disillusioned Christian Girl,
I can see it in your eyes even though you force a smile trying to be cheerful, but look a little hollow. I see your disillusionment.
You are the good girl. The rule follower. The one who everyone expects great things from. But with all of that expectation comes pressure that is weighty. You think you’re sinking under and you know you can’t do this much longer. The expectations feel crushing and you are weakening.
Even worse, words are ringing in your ears: “Isn’t she such a sweet girl.” “She’d never do that! She’s from a great family!”–words that once felt like praises but now feel like cruel taunting. Secretly, you know you’re not good. You carry pent up guilt from internal badness inside and it scares you. It discourages you. You want to do right, be right, but you aren’t sure why you’re not.
You’ve grown up with the motions of Christendom your whole life. Your father was active in ministry and your mother, a Sunday School teacher. You know so much, yet it feels empty and hollow. You don’t know why Christianity is not working for you. You want it to, you really do, and you want to love God but He is invisible and seems distant, and all around you the world tells you that God doesn’t matter and that he may not even exist.
Oh, dear girl, you’re in a time of “figuring out” in your life that we must all walk through. You’re just between childhood and adulthood and it’s a hard, confusing time, I promise. But your unhappiness is a good thing. Your feelings of inadequacy are actually meant to drive you somewhere: to the foot of the cross.
At the cross you’ll see what your parents have felt themselves but have never spoken.
You’ll see that it’s okay to be inadequate, because Christ can use your nothingness for His kingdom…in fact, He prefers you see His greatness and feel your own smallness. That’s when you’ll be strong, sweet girl.
And at the cross, you’ll see your sin crystal clear, and it hurts. It’s shocking. But the shock gives way to awe as you see the amazing love that covered your sin and took it away. God’s love is awe-inspiring. And even when you’re as old as me, whenever you feel unloved or unworthy, you’ll run to the cross and find comfort, because the cross proves the extreme love Jesus has for you.
At the foot of the cross you’ll look around and see the true sight of your fellow church members. None of us are standing tall or proud. None are promoting themselves or feeling great about their accomplishments. None of us “knows it all” or has done the Christian life especially well. We’re all bent down low in worship and humility. We are all wondering why God would love someone like us. It’s not just you who feels the inadequacy. It’s all true believers and that’s okay. When God is big, you are free to be small and that’s actually a good place.
At the foot of the cross, you can bring your doubts and fears and failures because God wants to forgive you. He’s not holding anything over your head like we do to ourselves. No pressure. Remember what God sees when He looks at you? Not your sin, but Jesus’ righteousness. All of our self-imposed weights, the junk we seem to love to drag along behind us throughout life can be dropped. At the cross, we let it go. We are in Christ and the first time you really grasp that, you’ll feel amazing love and freedom. “It’s not me, it’s all about Him.” is a freeing truth.
My sweet girl, the Christian life is not easy because the truth is that all of our “flesh” is very twisted and our own hearts are drawn toward lies, lies of fun, fulfillment or freedom in sin. Independence, your heart screams, will make you happy.
Sin tempts us, tells us whatever it has to to trap us: just do more, be more, act more, work more, look more
if you’d eat less, weigh less, care less, wear less, then we’ll finally be happier and free-er and finally find acceptance and love somewhere.
But it’s a lie. We are never more loved than we are in Christ. And we’re never happy–even when you’re as old as me– until we see ourselves as completely loved and accepted in Him. Look for HIM when you read your Bible.
Don’t you ever wonder why He thinks about me or you at all? I do. And it’s because you and I are loved because He IS love, not because you had/have to earn it. Happiness and contentment, fulfillment and joy come when you see yourself as beloved, as God says you are, and then that love motivates you to know Him more.
In this time of figuring out, you can spend time doubting but I wouldn’t recommend it. I’d work on finding out who God really is by reading what He says about Himself in the Bible. It’s the only way to really know for yourself. And, I’ll be honest, it’s work–a spiritual discipline. But the work has a reward that is so fulfilling and is exactly what you’re searching for: A real relationship, a heart knowledge of the holy, loving God who’s working in you already, using your discomfort and insecurities to draw you to the foot of the cross to find rest and love in Him.