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the best way to learn is to teach

Once a week I spend an evening discipling a group of girls from the church youth group. And by disciple I mean, I stutter and stammer over a lesson that pierces me to the core. It seems that every Sunday I’m slammed over the head with a concept that I haven’t mastered myself. And most of the time the message that I bring to the group seems to fall on deaf ears. Time and time again, I’ve asked the Lord why He’s called me to lead these girls. I feel like the most unsuited person for this task.

These teenagers live a completely different life than I lived growing up. Where I was the ugly duckling, these girls are painfully beautiful. Where I was the band geek who worked part time at the library, these girls are practically a sorority unto themselves. My high school self had one thing in common with these girls: an extroverted love for the spotlight.

Yet despite our differences, I cannot help but love them.

As I reach into their world of insecurities and melodrama, I find myself convicted of the petty grudges that I’ve been holding in my own life. I find myself mortified about my own flippancy regarding my faith. When I hold Jesus up as a mirror for these girls, I realize that my own soul is covered with grime and cobwebs. Rather than setting a shining example for them, I feel like an epic FAIL.

It’s discouraging to have these revelations. I’m used to being the self-righteous one. The goody-two-shoe. The girl that has her act together. I usually enjoy looking into the church mirror the way a straight-A student looks forward to taking a test. It’s been a decade or so since I sat through a Bible study without secretly thinking that I could probably teach the lesson better than the teacher. I’m that kind of judgemental.

When it comes down to walking and talking like a Christian, I’ve got it down, babe. Or at least that’s what I thought. Turns out that I have a whole lot more sin inside myself than I realized. Now I feel pretty stupid for my holier-than-thou attitude. I’ve seen some pretty horrible thoughts and attitudes lurking beneath that shallow Sunday layer that I put on. I think that I was too busy judging other people to really focus on myself.

Now that I’m leading this discipleship group, I’m suddenly feeling very introspective. Those superficial layers are being stripped away. It’s painful to see myself as defiled and hypocritical, but in some ways it’s actually refreshing. It feels good to be honest with myself again. I don’t like the conceited person that I had become.

You know that feeling where you realize that you’re disgustingly dirty and all you want to do is take a shower to make the smell go away? That’s where I am spiritually. I’m filthy. I stink. I seriously need my Savior. And despite my mountain of sin, His grace is enough for me. He doesn’t treat me the way that I deserve to be treated.

He loves me despite my filthy sin and His grace is the spiritual shower that washes me clean.

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4 Responses

  1. thank you for your honesty…there is a lot to learn about how we really measure up…we can get so good at hiding and compensating for our sin. i’m so glad our Savior is greater than our great failures. makes me want to sing!

  2. You had me at the title….this is so so true. Teaching is one of the best forms of accountability. It forces you to read, dig deeper, prepare…And then when those questions come, and you struggle to find authentic answers, it’s so humbling! Thanks so much for your honesty. I really appreciated this post.

  3. This post is fabulous! I love your honesty. I love the last line in the post!

  4. I love this post as I can so relate to it. I’m amazed (don’t know why!) at the junk I carry in my heart. I master the external appearance of having it altogether and yet inside I’m a mess at times. Yet the miracle in the mess is that Jesus adores me – He’s thrilled with me – that’s hard to get your head round. I’m so glad about it though even when I don’t understand it! X

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