Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Bad Christian" Syndrome

The comment:
I want to lead in an upbeat, ecstatic joyful way all the time and I'm just not doing it. I've gotta get my head in the game. I need to be content more, but I'm almost too stuck in "I'm fine with where I am"
You might have what I've dubbed "Bad Christian" Syndrome. "Bad Christian" Syndrome is typically characterized by a lack of desire or unwillingness to do spiritual things that historically keep us connected to God and others. Sometimes this also includes a lack of fervor or excitement for the things God is doing around you. People with "Bad Christian" Syndrome often experience guilt, anxiety, loneliness, and self-sabotage. Common symptoms include (but are not limited to):
  • a resistance to pray, read the Bible, go to church, or talk in depth with other Christians.
  • absence of emotional and spiritual zeal/energy
Not every person with "Bad Christian" Syndrome has the same symptoms in the same way. You may not have all of these symptoms, or you may have different symptoms at different times...

My point?
Too often we lump ourselves into this category of being a 'Bad' Christian without legitimate reason...and instead of it moving us toward something better, I fear it moves us toward self-loathing, guilt trips and unrealistic expectations.

Honestly, the first thing that crossed my mind when I read the first sentence of the comment above was, 'Don't'.

Don't be that Christian leader who leads in an upbeat, ecstatic, joyful way all the time. Don't be that person because that person isn't real. That person isn't raw or authentic. That person doesn't admit that sometimes days just suck, and that sometimes life is hard...and that most of the time, that's okay.

I often think the leaders I respect the most are the ones who are willing to admit that they don't have it all together, but are still pushing on toward better. The ones who can readily admit mistakes, heartaches, brokenness...the ones who know they cannot do it on their own.

I guess I don't think that people typically need a leader who embodies perfection...they need a leader who embodies hope, love, and grace.

Unfortunately, "Bad Christian" Syndrome subconsciously has woven it's way into our core...especially for those of us who have grown up in the church. It feels next to impossible to shake the expectations placed on us for what a "Good Christian" leader should exemplify.  But, I'm trying.

I want to tell you that it's okay to not be the same all the time. It's okay to not be this version of you that sometimes feels like a facade. That sometimes it's fine to be "fine with where you are". It's this weird balance of being content and continuously pushing on toward better.

I feel like my best moments of leading others were the moments where I shared my weakness and brokenness. In those moments, people saw me as human... they saw me as someone not so different than them. In that instant, they were able to relate to me in a way that maybe they couldn't before. I wish I had more moments like that, but I, too, get caught up in the fight against trying to lead this perfect way.

There doesn't ever have to be a "Bad Christian" Syndrome anymore...and the guilt that so often accompanies it. In the end, we're all just doing the best we can to figure this thing out.

So here's to authenticity.
To being willing to admit when we don't have it all together...even as we lead.
And let us push through, clinging to the hope we know we have in Jesus Christ...letting Him be our all, because we know without Him we have nothing.
And let's be transparent in that pursuit as well.

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