John Michael Talbot’s last night of our three-night parish mission was this evening. He ended the time beautifully with the crowd on their knees as he played and sang his beautiful “Surrender” song.
He asked us to surrender all that rises up to hinder our relationship with the Lord, all that rises up to steal our joy.
With a few stray tears lurking in the corners of my eyes, I bowed my head, aware of the things that rise up in my own life keeping me from joy and freedom in Christ. Kneeling beside me on one side was my uncle who lost his teenage son last year. On my left was a beautiful single mom raising her three young children. Both are incredibly sincere and faithful.
They have shown me true faith and grace and strength by the way they live their lives. They have shown me what it means to be real. No pretense. No appearance of perfection. Just raw beauty and honest striving. And then I see that being real is more beautiful than anything else. It’s more encouraging, more inspiring, than the appearance of perfection.
Because how inspiring can perfection be when it’s not really truth?
I knelt there between the two of them and felt a wave of inexpressible gratitude for all those in my life who have shown me the beauty of being real. Who have opened doors of their hearts, shared messy details, and admitted imperfections--yet still looking up and following after the only One who is perfect.
When I see them being real with the tough stuff, their faith becomes more real to me, too.
Thank you, O. and Uncle D., for your examples. And thank you to the rest of you who continue to show me what it means to be real.