Becoming real

I’ve been thinking about how sometimes it takes us a long time to grow into things we know to be true.

Maybe I should say, it usually takes a long time.

It’s one thing to understand Christian life, in our minds, but it’s another thing altogether to get to the place where we can live it consistently and demonstrate that understanding.

It’s not because the power of God is insufficient, it’s just that we are humans. With issues. And habits. And pains. And histories. And we live with other humans.

And by the way, it’s not bad to be human. Humanity is what God made to reflect His image. We just aren’t fully, perfectly, human yet.

God is patient. We know it’s a process to grow and change and learn to love. What we don’t always know, or want to know, is that pain is often the way we become more human.

It’s how we soften, and become kind, and gracious, and strong. It’s how we learn to really love.

Jesus suffered. We will suffer.

What we need to know is how to suffer well. How to live with pain. How to find the gifts in it. How to find gratitude despite ongoing difficulty. And it may not happen quickly.

It’s after our eyes are opened to seeing these things that we begin to display the life of Jesus. If we can’t suffer well – and suffering doesn’t have to be the excruciating variety; it can even be small annoyances – we won’t know in our experience the things we know in our heads.

As my counselor said, you can tell who has suffered. Who’s allowed themselves to grieve, to feel loss and pain, and hasn’t tried to cover or avoid it or overcompensate for it. Who’s allowed others into it. Who’s allowed God into it and gotten to know Him.

They’re usually kind and understanding people, slow to anger. Pretense and legalism are no more. They’re just real.

I want to be one of those people.

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