An Apology For My Christianese, And Other Things.

Have you ever stood behind a couple in the check out line and been so disgusted with their indecipherable love-speak that you wanted to smack them back into the harsh reality you and everyone else is living in?

I have. Hundreds of times. And now I’m that girl on a daily basis with a man I’m crazy in love with.

He’s the person that knows all my secrets, and somehow still thinks I’m sexy even though the first thing I want to do upon waking up in bed is try to teach him the lyrics to “Zippity Doo Dah” and “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers.” He’s the one that knows I’m raging inside when no one else can tell the difference, and genuinely thinks I’m beautiful when I’ve refused to get out of bed to shower because my cramps are so bad. He’s the one that’s promised to never leave me – so he gets to see all sides. My girls-just-wanna-have-fun side, my business woman, my sexy in bed, my quiet introvert, my little girl, my intelligence, my stupidity, my confidence and my insecurity. All of it.

This kind of intimacy breeds a language that baffles everyone else.

Sometimes, those of us who have experienced it think it’s adorable, but most of us can’t wait to get away from people who just can’t use their words normally.

And so, I want to apologize not for my embarrassing behavior in the Starbucks line, but for my Christianese.

I’m not going to apologize for my love babble, because you’re not really invited into my marriage, so it’s pretty great that you don’t understand me and him.

But I do want to apologize for my Christianese, because you ARE invited into a bigger Love. And I never meant to turn you off. I never meant to pick up that weird language that makes grace-filled kids a strange variety of humans. I always swore to be first a human, then a woman, then a-Christian-who-didn’t-act-like-a-perfect-one.

But you know what? Jesus knows all my secrets, all my sides, and I get more love from Him than from anyone else. And I’ve fallen into a language that I know seems way too church-ish. I can’t help it. It happened on accident, even though I promised myself to not be that girl.

A lot of days I hate it because I can just feel people staring at me through the Internet, reading what I write here and on Good Women Project and saying, “Dude. That’s not me. Life is rough and dirty and I can’t just transform a hymn into a paragraph and have all my problems solved by Waiting Upon The Lord For He Is Good.” I mean really, when was the last time we waited upon someone, besides our part time serving job last weekend?

So what I want to say is this: I am first a human, and my life is just as great and just as terrible as yours. I’ve tried to be better and I’ve tried to be worse. I’ve barricaded my heart with self-help books and New Year’s resolutions. I’ve dated shitty guys, I’ve had my heart broken, I have parent-problems, I cuss and offend people, I feel 1/10th as talented as everyone else I meet, and I need triple-strength Midol.

I’m not a better Christian than you. I don’t visually see God actually walking hand in hand with me every single day. I don’t treat everyone with love and grace and forgiveness as my new default personality in Christ. I have a handful of verses memorized, but that doesn’t make me more impressive than you being able to recite lines from Harry Potter because you’ve seen it 8 times. I don’t miraculously know what to say when I pray out loud in a group of people. I get uncomfortable and self-conscious when I visit a new church. I read the Bible and get confused. Starting a Beth Moore or Kay Arthur or Mary Kay – whatever – Bible study program with women I don’t know sounds terrifying, and I’m putting it off for as long as possible.

I get so angry at Christians and I get so angry at myself, and I hold the whole planet to standards that are outrageous.

But. I’ve fallen in love with Jesus because He loves me.

And I’m sorry for accidentally speaking in vague sentences about blood of lambs, power of crosses, and lights in the darkness. Particularly when I’m just trying to tell you how much I love him, and you want to squirm because of my Holier Art Thou vocabulary.

I’m sorry for telling you simply that “I trust in God” when really I should tell you I freak out every single day, but I read a verse in the Bible that tells me to “Trust In The Lord For He Is Good”, so I tell myself every day that God is good and if I keep believing that, I’ll see it soon.

My love affair with Jesus is simple. And I don’t want my embarrassing words and actions to get in the way of you having the same love affair.

Trying to get to know Jesus better doesn’t require you to add 18th century words to your sentences. I promise. The way I see it, I read the Bible when I can. I pray and ask for him to forgive me when I realize I’ve messed up. I read about other women’s lives and try to replicate the grace and love that I see them living out. To hear what my same Jesus is speaking to them, because we need to interact daily with other people who have found hope in Someone bigger than ourselves.

I choose to believe that His words written in the Bible, and whispered to me in my heart, can and do slowly transform me into a version of myself that is better. More like the Person I’m in love with.

But mostly, I’ve decided to love and chase after a man who died a very painful death to prove how much He loved me, and to make it possible for God to see me as a beautiful daughter. Permanently. No matter what.

I love Jesus. And I want you to love Jesus.

And I’m sorry for everything else that’s gotten in the way.

– – –

PS. My husband Max writes fiction, and he just published a book of short stories called “We Can’t Go Home Again.” It’s only 99 cents, and it would mean the world to me if you went and got it! You can download it to iTunes/iBooks (if you have an iPad or iPhone) or from Amazon/Kindle (if you have a Kindle, or want to download the free Kindle app onto your computer). It’s really, really, really good. Click HERE for iBooks and HERE for Amazon..

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  1. Cara says:

    Lauren, thank you thank you THANK YOU FOR THIS, SISTER! What encouragement and truth and I love all of this honesty written so beautifully. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you. Can I say that enough? THANK YOU!!! I am encouraged strongly.

  2. iwokeupyesterday says:

    so glad his pursuit of me never stopped, even when i was at my worst, crack addicted, lost and alone, running from him.
    seven years into my love affair with him and sober too, i still stumble and fall, but gladly walk in his amazing grace!!
    thanks for sharing your heart, honest and true!

  3. Brooke Odom says:

    I really appreciated this.

    Sometimes it's difficult to read blogs like this- and go through sites like The Good Woman Project- because it seems like I'm a Christian, but just not a 'good enough' Christian.

    It's one thing to know that blog posts and pretty pictures aren't an accurate full-scale representation of someone's life, but it makes it a heck of a lot easier when the writer/picture-taker admits to not being perfect.

    And I don't mean 'admits' it in the way that really reads as "I'm not perfect, but I do this, this, and this, so basically I am, I just know I need Jesus."

    And thanks for clearing up the Christianese. It's nice to know you feel like me (or, I feel like you) a lot of the time.

    It makes me feel better about not having a really cool blog.


  4. Matt Shedd says:

    I love the honesty. What, in your opinion, qualifies as Christianese? I mean, we will naturally talk in some ways that don't make sense to those around us, because we live from a different viewpoint (even though we don't always understand our own viewpoint). I mean, using "brethren" and "thou" seems Christianese, but discussing "trusting in God" may seem odd, but it should…does that make sense?

    If our walk with Jesus looks commonplace or undemanding of change, why would it attract any others?

  5. Overthinking Mama says:

    love this post!!! you are an amazing woman!!! thank you for sharing. 🙂

    God bless you, your husband and your marriage!!

  6. Brittany says:

    I struggle with this, too….trying to avoid the Christianese and still finding myself speaking in cliches sometimes. Thanks for being so honest about it.

  7. melissa says:

    dude, you rock lauren! keep on keepin on… and thanks for being real.


  8. april says:

    Love this. Also, I got the short stories. Got lost in the characters. They play out like a movie, I couldn't put it down. 99¢ what a steal.

  9. rachel says:

    beautifully, perfectly stated. grace-filled, love-drenched, and completely honest. thank you for your humanness; we are all better for it. LOVE. xxo.

  10. Greg says:

    Lauren, as some have already said, thank you for your rubber-meets-the-road honesty and candor–and may I compliment you on having less Christianese than I do? 🙂

    @Matt: my definition of Christianese is vague, tradition- or culturally-based slang we use in an attempt to convey biblical truth:

  11. Ali says:

    Hey Lauren I do enjoy reading your blogs and see you travel the country. I enjoy the fact that you are seeking after the Lord, and you don't live the traditional "Christian" life, by that I mean you are into the arts!! I am a Christian as well, and its nice to see your passion and how you show us your struggles. However I do think you are too hard on yourself, stop trying to please everyone you can not, only please Chris, and He will take care of the rest. I am the same way I do not ever want to seem holy art thou or speak Christianese, these things are want turned me off from Christianity. Yet sometimes we can not help saying grace, conviction etc. Say what is on your heart do not hold back because you think you will offend someone, that is a road block, "trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding" Proverbs 3:5 He will give you words to say and you do not have to fear what other think Jeremiah 1:7-9! Have an amazing day !!!!!!

  12. Ali says:

    Also, I meant to say *Trust in Christ, not Chris!!! 🙂 Keep running this race, you are such an encouragement!!!

  13. busana muslim says:

    Very good article. Congratulations.

  14. Late for the Party as usual says:

    I love this and I love your blog and your hubby’s blog. Bad ass.

    The terminology we use does little to pimp our Jesus walk. No one’s coming to the altar because I sound like I know what I’m talking about. The way I see it, my whole life speaks volumes, and Jesus uses me just the way I am, not as I should or could be. Because I am willing to be used, and that gives Him glory.

    Anyway, thanks for this.

  15. Sarah Dawson says:

    You are absolutely wonderful. This is how I feel so much of the time… I normally avoid blogs like this because they make me feel like I’m not good enough, and everything I read just sends my heart into hiding rather than rejoicing. So thank you, for being so much like me, and for sharing such honest thoughts. I admire you and hope to be a woman like you.

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