The “American Dream”: a two story house in suburbia, 2.5 children, 2 cars, a golden retriever named Buddy, and enough money to buy all the happiness you could ever need. This is the goal of everyone in America, Christian or otherwise. We all compete towards this same end and we want everyone to believe we have reached it. We build a white picket fence around our lives that’s tall enough to hide anything that might be going on inside. We all go through life at school and in the workplace with these walls around our hearts, but I believe that one place where these barriers don’t belong is in the Church.
As a leader on a church camp I was able to get to know some amazing junior high girls and I absolutely fell in love with them. They were all so positive and full of their new faith in the Lord. The last day of camp I was surprised to see the invisible fences around them come crashing down as I learned that these middle school girls were struggling with things that I had never even experienced. I heard about eating disorders, friends struggling with self-mutilation and suicide, family problems, divorce, isolation, and depression.
One girl in particular stood out to me. She was the most positive one in the group and I loved her with all of my heart. As I grew closer to her I began to hear about the horrible things she had to deal with and all of the struggles that she was facing as she dealt with an incredible lack of confidence in herself. As we grew together, her white picket fence- the incredibly positive attitude and perpetual smile- came crashing down and I saw the innocent, hurt, confused girl behind it all.
If the church is the Body of Christ and we are all brothers and sisters in Him, why must we all work to prove to everyone that our lives are perfect? I believe that if we truly believed that Christ loves us exactly where we are, we wouldn’t have to worry about any of this. We all have to realize that our true worth comes from Christ and not from the “American Dream”. There should be no people in the church like the middle school girl who can’t stop smiling when she’s suffering because no one would understand what she’s going through. I believe that we all have to tear down these fences so that we can be truly vulnerable with one another and build each other up in Christ.