By Lydia Jentzen Will

It has played out a few times. Someone I don’t know approaches me and mentions that they have seen my writing, usually shared by a mutual friend. I always feel a bit awkward. I try to be honest in what I write and put online but the first thought in my head when someone tells me they’ve read my blog is, “Oh, no. Now they’ll know the real me. I hope they’re not disappointed.”

Online, you can be who you want to be. You can choose to show only the best parts, or only one side of your personality. You get to control the lens on your life. Real life doesn’t work that way.

Real friendships don’t work that way. The people who know and love me the best see the good and the bad. They know that just off camera in that photograph of something lovely is the pile of laundry I’ve neglected for much too long. They know that in between the lines of a nice story about one of my kids is a lot of frustration and sleepless nights as I wrestle my parenting failures.

I do my best to offer a balanced view on my heart, mind and life, but when I meet someone new who knows me only from what I put out there intentionally, I worry a little. What if I can’t measure up to their expectations?

When you get close to someone, you can see their flaws more clearly. But you can also see their beauty better, too, in ways and details you’d never notice if kept at an arms length. Sometimes it is in their perceived flaws that it strikes you, the little areas of imperfections where beauty hides.

In our fractured brokenness, it’s Jesus in us that shines right through. It’s in our common, simple, ordinary lives that His love is showcased, causing those around us to lean in for a closer look.

This is how God uses community to commune with us. From one imperfect person to another, He reaches through us and touches those in our lives. Not because we’re transformed into perfection, but because His perfection transforms us.

I cannot live up to the expectations of others, but I don’t have to. It’s not my job to paint myself as the perfect human, and I sincerely hope that I am not communicating that. The more you get to know me, the closer you get, the more you’ll see that I’m just a little piece of broken humanity in desperate need of Jesus. Only by His great love and mercy and completely undeserved grace that I can share Him with the world.

 The more you get to know me, the closer you get, the more you’ll see that I’m just a little piece of broken humanity in desperate need of Jesus.

That’s what it means to be Christian. A little Christ. A vessel for His love, shining pinpricks of light in a dark world. With Him, in our brokenness, we shine.