Do you feel the overwhelming pressure society places on you? 

The pressure to succeed, to pressure to be powerful, the pressure to have it all together?

Unfortunately, we are all too often defined by our accomplishments.
We find our value based on our achievements, our victories, and our wins instead of acknowledging God as the source of all the good things in our lives. We tend to take the credit and be known as a winner, a leader, as someone who “has it all together.” When things are going great, we feel great. We feel successful and we feel like we are the source. We feel as if we have made some good decisions, did the right things, made the right moves.
When things go wrong on the other hand, we tend to shuck responsibility, blame others, or even pretend nothing is wrong.
The problem with living this way is, well, that’s just not how life works.
There is always something that either just happened or something that is going to happen soon that is beyond our control. We are all human and we have so many limitations, so we must trust and rely on God to get us through. When we lose sight of our identity and forget the goodness of God even in the struggles, we often feel like we’re drowning in our emotions. On the surface, we can appear calm and in control, even as an emotional riptide pulls us under into the depths.
This is a problem that is only heightened through social media. We develop all these surface-level friendships and we only see the things people want us to see, and others see only what we want them to see. We don’t get to know the real people behind the screen with the good and the bad, the beauty and the ugliness. But the bad and the ugly are a part of who we are, and combined with the good and beautiful in your life they help shape your personality. But, when we only see all the good in everyone around us, we feel isolated when we go through a storm, as if we are the only ones going through it. And the same goes for others when all they see is the “good” in our lives.

For most of us, our self-doubt and hiding has been going on so long that we’ve lost touch with who we truly are, who God created us to be. We’ve grown accustomed to building walls and behaving in certain predictable roles that have kept us from being vulnerable with our families, at school, in our work, and even at church.

But when we build relationships where we can be real and vulnerable, open to what God has done in our lives (even the painful stuff), that is where God can be glorified.

We all know no one’s life is perfect but when that is all you portray, that causes people to be skeptical and doubt your authenticity. On the other hand, when you share your struggles AND victories, people tend to trust and see you as a credible and more relatable person. That is the moment when you can show the love of Christ and how He comforts you in the tough times.

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – 2 Corinthians 1:4
I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and be authentic, be vulnerable and allow God to use your life with all that it entails to show others the love and mercy of Jesus. Maybe, just maybe, your story (the real story) is just the thing someone needs to hear today. Your authentic story may be just the thing that helps someone get through their situation, and it may be just the thing that opens someone’s heart to be willing to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
Jason Vann
Hospitality & Family Ministries Director