Sunday, June 9, 2013

Living Broken in a World Dying for Authentic Faith

The cry was long, slow, and mournful. It was the kind you hear when a soul is watching and waiting for authenticity it cannot find.

The thread long since faded from Facebook. Yet, it echoes in my heart. A Christian left his sprinkler system running despite a prohibitive county ordinance. He was a serial offender. I winced.

The post dripped with righteous and justifiable sarcasm. And, as Facebook does, one comment invited another.

It was like a train wreck I couldn’t stop watching. I didn’t want to keep reading and being embarrassed by ‘my kind’, but I couldn’t look away.

I watched the stories unfold. I read as far as the one about a high powered, fancy car driving, preacher-man who routinely ran a four-way stop in his community.

Courtesy A. Squires
I smiled wryly thinking about mobsters who got away with murder – until tiny little numbers did them in. It was racketeering, not murder, which unraveled their empires.

I wondered how the offenders would have reacted had they known they were on Facebook display. Would they have been chastened and repentant? Would they have been arrogant and entitled?

What’s the use of living a big, public faith if the Devil is in the details? You see what I mean, right? I wonder how I measure up when others are reconciling my faith.

When I offer up my tattered faith, will it resonate as true and trustworthy? Will I only provide more Facebook fodder for those
Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
who are waiting and watching for authenticity? If perfection is required, I’m lost in the noise of failure.

We’ve stitched up the broken places of our life until all that’s left is a rag tag survival quilt. I pull the tatters close like a mother relishing shreds of the last baby blanket left in the house.

There is no sweet smell in which to bury my nose. No corner remains to rub against the weary cheeks of my soul. I look in the mirror, and mocking thoughts echo back.

You. You and your broken life. The legacy of your brokenness will last long after you are gone. Why do you keep trying? Who is this God before whom you weep? Where is he now? Who’s gonna buy the authenticity of your faith? Loser.

The chiding voice says my faith must be spit-polished to shiny perfection for authenticity’s sake. No one in this Photoshopped magazine spread, Pinterest happy world wants to hear about a broken down, weary, sweaty, hard fought for, tenacious faith. N.o.b.o.d.y.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Yet, I look around me at the bloody landscape of a dying world. A world that is clamoring and gasping for spiritual authenticity. Watching so closely they know when we run a four way or leave a sprinkler churning and spinning day after illegal day.

I try to think of someone I know whose life is without pain or crisis. Someone whose life is Pinterest or Kardashian beautiful.

The truth is sobering. I am not alone. Every single Christian I know who is living a life of authentic faith is hurting for one reason or another. None of the wounds are easy fixes. We are all living out our faith in the trenches. Trench warfare is neither easy nor pretty. Nor pinnable.

I wonder who is watching when I am unaware. When the Devil creeps into the details of my life, will a soul gasping for authenticity cry out, “A-ha! I gotcha!” and sit back smug and self-satisfied because I have lived down to his or her lowest expectations?
Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative

When I tell the truth that faith is work and often yields no immediate reward, will the words resonate in a life giving way? Will the authenticity of my faith take root and grow in someone else’s life?

I am living a broken and imperfect life and faith in the midst of world that is dying for authenticity. If you think you are too broken to be fixed, you are not alone. Walk with me?

Courtesy B. Creasy - 2010
Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.


  1. Love this! Messy faith speaks to my heart in such an amazing way, as a "recovering perfectionist". Thank you.

  2. Thank you so much. This needed to be said. It reminds me of something Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

  3. I read this and my latest blog post and my life's slogan if you will comes to mind: You can never fully understand what it means to be whole until you understand what it means to be broken. Whether in this life or the next, the brokenness we feel now, will make us appreciate the wholeness Jesus will someday give.

  4. Great word! Who is watching us and taking note of the times we stumble and fall? We're called to be salt and light in the world but we are human vessels made of clay, unreliable and fragile. I wish I knew a good answer to this dilemma but like you, I'm living a broken life and just doing the best I can, with God's help. However, there is no one too broken for Him to fix. Thanks for this!

  5. Beautifully and boldly written, Carol Anne. Authenticity (or the Devil) is in the details.. it's the details that show your true character, isn't it?
    I had more to say but I was rambling, so I'll just stop here and say that we cannot achieve perfection, nor can we expect it of others, but we must be mindful of what others see when they look at us and ask ourselves, "Can they see Jesus in me?"

  6. Wonderfully written and in a manner if we are honest with ourselves we all can relate to this. I hope to get this into my Pastor's hand. He will love the way you have put things. God bless you.

  7. Beautifully said! One of our pastors recently pleaded with us to live our lives authentically, and if we won't, "Please don't bring the name of Jesus Christ into it!" Our lives are filled with brokenness here, not perfection. It is only His grace that brings us through the trials and is that which we should be thankful for while we are living this abundant life! Thank you for sharing your heart.

  8. Forgive me for not replying to each of you individual. Thank you so much for your gracious comments and insights. This post has been percolating for a couple of weeks, but when time came to actually write it, analysis paralysis overtook me. By the time I hit 'post' at 4:30a, I was sure none of it would make sense. I prayed if nothing else resonated, the scripture would. If my words resonate, that is just icing on the cake. <3

  9. "So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him."


  10. Someone is always watching and some just wait to see others fall. The truth is - you are right - we are all hurting. The other truth that so many miss, is we are to lift one another up - edify, encourage and rebuke. No one wants to be rebuked because we all focus on the little speck in the eye of another rather than our own planks. But, living it out on fb...that's where the blood and dirt are the world. It's never pretty...and it's one reason I really try to stay away. You bless many - love you dearly.

  11. Beautiful post, so poetic. We are all sinners, repenting and trying over again the next day to hopefully do better. ~Alexis on behalf of everyone at A Moment with MOM

  12. Always enjoy your writing. Thankful to call you friend.

  13. Carol, I enjoy reading your blog. Your writing is beautiful... I always tell you this. Well, I recently read a book by Nancy Alcorn (Founder of Mercy Ministries) called 'Mission of Mercy'. In this book she tells her story and the story of many other women who had once been broken, (used, abused, eating disorders, drug use, self-harming... all things that many Christians would turn their noses up at, rather than showing love, the ultimate healing love of Jesus). I could relate to those women in that book and of course with your post here. I'm not on Facebook too much these days... except to share a few pictures of my kids with my long distance family. About 8 years ago, I stayed away from church for quite a few years, because I was repelled by 'churchy' folk (and still am, quite honestly). After all these years I've finally come to the realization that I need to be at peace with how far I've come since those many years ago. The enemy likes to try and re-hash the past because he is angry knowing he has lost the battle already. I have learned to never take anything personally. All churches have faults and no leader (or person) should ever be held up on that pedestal of perfection. "We are all living out our faith in the trenches. Trench warfare is neither easy nor pretty. Nor pinnable."... well said Carol. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But Jesus died that we may be free! As far as the east is from the west, has he cast our sins away from us. We are free indeed. No man, nor anything can separate us from the love of Christ. I need that reminder every day! Your posts make me think. I like that :)

    1. Oh, you just made my day! I miss seeing you so much. <3