To hear God and start a real relationship with Jesus, one of the biggest things we need to do is stop trying to shove down our emotions, presenting to God some polished “public event” version of ourselves.

You know what I mean. When you go to a large event at work or your child’s school, and you try to dress up nice and act like you have it all together.

It’s still you, but it’s just a piece of you. The polished version of yourself.

But when you’re having a glass of wine with friends, your guard is down. You relax, and you talk about things you would never dare speak of at those public events.

This is still you too, but it’s the more real, “friend” version of you.

God doesn’t want only the “public events” version of you. He wants the “friend” version too, where you tell him how you almost yelled at an old lady. And how annoyed you are that you bombed your diet when you accidentally ate all-the-things after a couple glasses of wine the other night.

God is big. He can take all our deepest darkests and our regrets and our joys. He’s ready to celebrate with us one night and sob with us another.

God wants every single moment. All of you.

How do I know?

Well, mainly because I’ve experienced it. The first time was actually when I was struggling with a pretty whopping sin.

I’m still embarrassed enough about the sin that I’m not going to say exactly what it was. Instead, I’ll leave you to your wild imagination which, if you’re anything like me, is probably going to come up with something way worse and more interesting than the truth.

So I was struggling with this sin, and I was so embarassed, but I just couldn’t stop. I could feel myself holding Jesus at arms length saying, “Just a minute, don’t look. I need to get this under control.”

But I. Could. Not.

This sin was holding me down. It was disrupting my happiness and freedom. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t.

So I broke down. I literally invited Jesus into my sin. I prayed, “Jesus, I invite you into this sin. I want to stop. I know this isn’t right or good for me, but I just can’t stop. Jesus I invite you in, please help me.”

Then I went about my day, still sinning.

But this is where it gets crazy…

The way I saw the situation started to change. It’s like I could finally see clearly all the hurt and whatnot that was adding to the sin, making it impossible to stop.

Somehow that set me free.

I could move on. Not that it was suddenly super easy, but it was possible. I could get over it and stop. It was an answer to prayer and then some.

Giving Jesus the very real version of myself was incredibly hard and honestly a little embarrassing.

It’s a struggle to invite Jesus in when you’re feeling dirty and icky. But if I’d tried to give Jesus the “public events” version of Jenni, I don’t know if I would have gotten over the sin.

I would have struggled and toiled and the guilt would have heaped on my head like shovels of dirt on a casket.

Treating Jesus like a friend and trusting Him enough to confide in Him was freeing. It was relationship building the same way it is when you finally trust a good friend enough to share something embarrassing with them.

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Jesus doesn’t want JUST the “public events” version of us, all polished and pretty. He wants all of us. The good, the bad, the ugly and the incredibly sinful.

I promise.

It seems crazy at first. It goes against our gut and all the little voices whispering in our head.

The more we come to Jesus, no matter what our state of mind or state in life, the more our real relationship with Jesus will grow.

The better we will be able to hear His voice.

Take a moment right now, if you’d like, and invite Jesus into whatever you’re struggling with or ashamed of: “Jesus, I invite you in.”

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