Through observations as an outsider, discussions with people I am close to, and a whole lot of thinking, I’ve come to a conclusion: too many Christians are obsessed with self-image. Whether this is because we want to share the love and word of God so much that maybe we try too hard to be “a good Christian,” or because it simply makes us look better, I can’t tell you. It all depends on the person, because in all honesty (I’ve proclaimed this as a judge-free zone, so deal with it) I’m a little bit of both.
As humans, we are inherently ego-centric. We can’t help but think of ourselves first. We can put ourselves last in action, but not always in thought. So, it’s in human nature to want others to think highly of us. If you’re a believer, you also want God to think highly of you. Therefore, we tend to create our own self-image that we think will simultaneously impress others, God, and even ourselves the most. Thus, The Christian Self is born.
What I mean by The Christian Self is that there’s a time when we act like our true selves, and a time to play up the Christian version of ourselves, rather than just simply being ourselves with a love for and dedication to God.
Whether this is done more for a “I want to share the gospel and I feel like I have to put on a persona to do so effectively” kind of reason, or the “I’m trying to make myself look better” reason I described, then I can tell you right now: stop. It’s okay to be yourself. God makes individuals, not preaching robots.
I repeat, be yourself.
I have found that when I don’t use what I call Bible Talk (bible-based words and phrases that literally no one has used in a normal setting since the Bible was written, except Christians who feel like we have to in order to sound more Christian), non-believers respond a whole lot better to what I have to say.
Being a genuine Christian is much more effective than giving non-believers a reason to put us into a stereotyped category of hypocrites and robots.
As I have said before, I am not in any way bashing Christians, because 1) I am one, and 2) I’m guilty of both of these things. I speak from both experience and observation. I feel that the best way to share the gospel is to simply be yourself. Be genuine. God made us all individually and beautifully; every character trait was given to us for one reason or another. The world flourishes through individuality because we are all given our own skill set to offer the world. I was not made to be a preacher on a stage, but I have always been drawn to two skills: writing and one-on-one speaking. I know I wasn’t made to be the outgoing preacher to hundreds or thousands of people, but I do know that I was made to be a preacher in my own way that is just as important.
Just as you are. I don’t mean to get all motivational speaker on you, but learn to explore your talents because God gave them to you to use them. He didn’t give you talent for you to ignore it and say “no thanks, I want something else” because you can be effective in ways that others cannot. And that is the beauty of individuality.
So, there’s no need in putting on a show and acting like you have it together all the time and that you’re Super Christian, because at the end of the day, we’re still humans just trying to do our best, for God and with God. You don’t have to try so hard in the areas that don’t even matter. Let yourself become the best version of you that you can be because that’s what the world needs and what God wants.