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Keeping It Real (and sometimes raw)

So one of my biggest things in life I have learned is to simply be real. For so long I felt as if the "raw" or "bad" side of Ray was known then my testimony would be destroyed. Therefore, I wrestled alone against my greatest struggles and, well, lost. The battles were just more than I could bear, but as long as you never saw me when I was down, then I figured it would be okay. This way of life though felt wrong. It felt like I was living a lie, and that ate at me even deeper than the rest of my struggles all together. But with perfection on the outside driven deep into my soul, I pressed on in hopes that one day my inside would feel half as good as the outside looked.

One day, the reality of James 5:16 sank in. As I read the whole of the passage speaking about praying for the ill to be made whole, then the sins he carried would be forgiven, followed by, "Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another SO THAT YOU MAY BE HEALED." Something sparked in those words. I realized that being willing to let my faults be made known to my family was actually a chance for us to bond in a deeper way and would actually bring about healing. Healing came through the confession of my deepest, darkest, personal sins to the ones I wanted to impress the most. This was a complete 180 from how I had been living all my life. In other words, I had bought into the whispering lie of Satan that my family would despise me if they knew who I really was, when the truth was, being REAL was the only way we could actually "be one." Being real about my faults, no matter how embarrassing, was the only path to freedom from those very things. Because when we pray in unity and cry out for healing of both physical and spiritual illnesses together, God does some amazing things.

I say all that in order to say, today was one of those raw days. I had such a beautiful day with my Shepherd yesterday and today started off in tremendous peace. However, the worries of my life and situations crept in and I allowed them a voice in my mind. As they sat and I had to miss out on a opportunity for fellowship with a friend because of our current situation, and being asked to give my wife some time to shop (literally an hour and a half), the old man started fleshing himself out. As Satan saw an opportunity to pounce, and God saw an opportunity to cleanse, my day turned more raw.

Several different things caused a chain of events which drew me deeper into the rawness of self. As I moved on through the day, the Real, Raw, Ray showed up and on a phone call with the tailer company, I did not act like Jesus at all. I demanded MY rights to be the most important, which in turn agitated these other men. It was not the sight you would hope to see.

As I moved on, The Holy Spirit did as many have prayed for me it would, it convicted me. I forced me to see myself in the mirror and it was not who I was hoping to see. It led to calling these men and humbling my self, which if we are honest feels like humiliation, and asking for forgiveness. Thankfully, they were given the grace to forgive me.

What I realized in this all, was Satan was intending something for evil, but God had a plan to make it work for His glory. I realized, that maybe, just maybe, my being brought low would have the opposite effect on these two men and might actually lift them closer to Jesus as they extended grace to forgive me. Maybe this was an opportunity God could use to purge me and strengthen them at the same time. I do not suggest we act out so God can make good from it, but rather, maybe we should realize that even our raw moments have the potential to be glorifying to him if we do what James told us, Confess out sins!

I know when the day was over, I felt a healing taking place, and I pray these men have enjoyed their Shepherd today because they extended His grace to me.

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