I have stumbled on this little treasure recently. Her name is Jill Briscoe, she is a world renown speaker/author/missionary. Shs is 82 years old and she is lovely. A poet with her words, she speaks to my heart. She presented at the 2017 IF Gathering in Austin, Texas, which is where I found her online and have since googled most of her messages and have had her streaming into my air space continuously. She is powerful, honest, transparent, real – it is refreshing!
So many of her stories tap into the core of my issues. Just yesterday she was sharing a story about being on an airplane on September 11, 2001 and losing her edge. She found herself sitting next to a little boy and an elderly woman frightened as the pilot’s urgency for emergency landing startled the airwaves in the cabin. She recaps a moment 24 hours or so into this ordeal about being hungry, that everyone was hungry because the plane was out of food for the passengers but remembers the biscuits in her pocket. Along with all the noble humane thoughts of sharing those biscuits, a slithery voice slips in and whispers, “Why don’t you wait until everyone is asleep and eat your biscuits.” And she shares in her story that she struggled with the right thing to do until she ate every crumb herself, not offering or sharing with the hungry little boy sitting next to her. Feeling like a failure, her edge dulled, she recognizes the gentle tap of the Lord on her heart and hears Him ask, “Where did you lose your edge Jill?” to which she replied, “I ate my biscuits.”
The devil is not a respector of sin, small or big, seemingly insignificant or devastating – he will use any and every avenue to dull our conscience to God’s holy walk. I love that she ate those biscuits and then shares the unaltered raw truth with us. I feel less alone in my own struggle of the hell in me that sometimes wins.
Such bravery to show the ugly parts of the soul to this judgemental world.
It is her quick turn to repentance that God is after, this turn that blesses restoration with Him, that pleases His heart so! What an honor to listen to her stories to identify and feel accepted, understood, less dark in my own failures and “ate my biscuits” moments.
As Christians, as leaders, we are oftentimes put on a pedastool in some ways that can make us plastic and porcelain.
Plastic in the way that we are forced to be fake to “keep” our following, never let them see you sweat…because sweating is real and stinky and for heavens sake leaders don’t have stinky shit, so don’t curse in a blog, don’t show them your underbelly or weakness, don’t uncover your problems in public because as a “mature” Christian we are not supposed to have any!
Procelain in the way that we are unbreakable, pristine, a “finished” product. I think of a beautiful porcelain doll with milky white skin and cheeks perfectly powered pink in just the right spot. She is perfectly unflawed, has it all together, untouchable, the model we chase after and desire to be. She can not be real and have matters of the heart reflected in her face because afterall the pressure to be perfect is on dispaly for all to see and we cannot disappoint. Who will others follow if they don’t have a perfect, unflawed example to model after?
But if we hold plastic or porcelain in our hands we will find them both light in weight because they are hollow. There are empty inside, stripped bare of depth and anything of real importance. Empty air threatens to swallow us up, to hide the real life situations and struggles that we all have but along the way someone said it wasn’t ok to say so. Hide who we really are, become a shell of a person, the person we think other’s want from us so we can stay standing tall upon our pedastool – strong and steady!
That is not what real people look like and Mrs. Briscoe is a breath of fresh air to my soul! In her freedom to be her she frees me up more to be me.
We are all perfectly imperfect and we are enough!
Jesus was the only human being to walk this planet perfectly perfect – in action and deed He remained perfect – He is our example to model our lives after but He chose perfectly imperfect people to walk with, to live with, to teach, to build up and tear down, to pour into, to leave it all behind to. Not perfect men, but good men who were committed to the molding of their hearts in His perfect will for their lives.
They failed often and the Bible records their many efforts to be plastic and porcelain. Over and over again we see Jesus shatter the model of who they think they are supposed to be.
Peter is rebuked when he tries to say the perfect thing, “Get behind me Satan.” Religious talk shattered.
James and John are chastised when they come to Jesus tattling about the Samarians unwelcoming response and ask for heaven wrath. Religious righteousness shattered.
Mary is offered mercy and forgiveness, stones dropping one by one to the ground as religious leaders walk away taking into account their own sin, leaving her alone with the only One who has the right to judge. Religious condemnation shattered.
Jesus wraps a towel around His waist and kneels at the feet of His disciples, the ones who were called to follow and serve Him, to wash their feet. Religious protocol shattered.
Thomas didn’t believe and needed proof to believe, Jesus offered. Religious faith shattered.
Over and over again Jesus shattered…taking perfectly imperfect men whittling them into continent-shaping, Holy Spirit fire breathing vessels that changed the world and spread the story of Jesus echoing over the oceans to distant places. Imperfect men, flawed and flailing yet committed to show up and give all of themselves.
Jill Briscoe is a modern-day disciple. Flawed and flailing she bears her soul – thread-bare and worn. In her stories I find my own story of failure, of hell, of overcoming, of weariness, of wanting to give up, of pushing past, of inviting, of commitment, of showing up. She lays down plastic and poreclain for the tattered tapestry on display and what a beautiful sight to behold. Rich in color and texture, her life is an imperfectly perfect example that I admire and appreciate. May my life’s tapestry reflect such honesty, transparency, struggle, vulnerability, simplicity, triumph, humility, and beauty!