I sinned yesterday

light and dark

I’ve received several emails after talking about drinking too much on New Year’s Eve. Many people wanted to know why I put myself in that situation and why I admitted being hungover.

Let me start by saying, that writing that post was difficult. In fact, I fought writing the post all day and woke up in the middle of the night and almost deleted it. I spent January 2nd worried about what people were thinking about me. What if they think this is who I really am? What if they don’t want to read my blog anymore?

Admitting our sin–not last year’s sin, not something that happened six months ago, not our habits before we knew Jesus–but yesterday’s sin is rarely done by Christians. I knew talking about my recent failure would make some people disappointed, but here’s why I did:

I think living by grace means telling our whole story, the dark side and the light one.

I know it’s easier to hide shortcomings in dark corners and stuff them in closets, but this doesn’t bring light into our own story or into the stories of others. This doesn’t show them Jesus.

I love what Thomas Merton says: “A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God.”

It seems we’ve accepted sharing our past sins, but not our recent ones. It’s common to admit our failures before we converted, got sober, got out of a relationship, found a church, met Jesus. But if you’re anything like me, you’re not admitting to your friends, “I sinned yesterday.” There’s shame in that statement.

I didn’t want to tell everyone that I drank too much on New Year’s Eve, but I also didn’t want to act like I have it altogether. I think it’s ok to admit failure. I don’t want you  to have me on a pedestal or think that I never mess up. After reading my blog, I want you to see more of Jesus and this incredible, incredible love that He has given to you and me.

The more I hear from readers, the ones saying, “me too!”, “so glad I’m not the only one”, and “thank you for admitting this”,  the more I realize how important it is to admit our shortcomings–because we must be become less for Him to become greater.

The best part about admitting failure is it gives the people around us the chance to see more of Jesus. It’s such a beautiful gift to know that Jesus picks us up when we fall, brushes the dirt off our faces, and says, “I forgive you. Carry on.”

Instead of wallowing and hiding in the shame of what happened yesterday, why not bask in the sweet grace that washes us clean? Why not share your secrets with those around you that they might see that more of this Jesus who came not for the flawless, but for people like you and me?

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Comments
24 Responses to “I sinned yesterday”
  1. Maureen says:

    Hey Ruthie,

    I understand.

    I recently discovered something very uncomfortable for me to deal with: that writing is hard. All my life I’ve always wanted to write-and after years of pushing that dream back into the drawers, I started a blog. But the truth is, writing a blog is hard, because writing isn’t real unless there’s some part of you in it. Whether it’s a completely fictional character, or your viewpoint or just a random comment, you can never say something without revealing a part of yourself. Out of the heart the man speaks-you reveal your heart with your words. And that’s what I found hard-being vulnerable and exposing myself to the entire world is very hard to do.

    So that’s the catch: to be honest enough to write from the heart, and yet be vulnerable enough to put yourself out there-knowing full well that people will see you as you are, and therein lies the risk of rejection, of judgement and so many other things. But there’s also the fact that every time we are obedient in writing and sharing our stories, we in fact share God with the world. Because He’s intricately a part of us-our stories have Him in every bit of the detail. We share the many facets and uniqueness of our relationships with God. Every time you write-remember that God is in there-you are talking to Him and writing for Him as much as you are writing for the multitudes of women out there who gain strength and courage and faith from your story. We don’t need perfection from anyone but Jesus…I believe one day we’ll all realise just how much of a tapestry our stories are combined…

    So keep writing Ruthie Dean, keep writing knowing full well that He sees and He knows, and He is so glad you continue to do so [despite everything]. One day you’ll see the whole picture & just how important it is you write from the heart.
    In the words of a character I can’t remember: ‘Your art matters’

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Oh how encouraging, Maureen! I know it’s not easy to share your writing struggles, but thank your for trusting me and this community.

  2. Nadia says:

    Kudos to you, Ruthie.

    As women, particularly in the body of Christ, we need more authenticity as a whole. We need more women who write and who speak from the heart from places of brokenness instead of lofty places of faux-perfection.

    The bible is clear that we are to confess our sins to one another so that we may be HEALED. (James 5:16). Others will find healing in the midst of our sin struggles. I believe, wholeheartedly, this is why He prompts those of us to write to write the things that are the most uncomfortable.

    You may never know this side of eternity the healing your words may bring to others.

    When we are authentic in our struggles, we reveal the authenticy of His grace, mercy and love. He shines a light into our darkest places so that our light may shine for others. <3

    Keep writing. Keep shining.

    In Him, Nadia

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      I forgot about the James 5 verse you shared. Thanks for your words and for being a faithful reader. Happy new year!

  3. mo says:

    Hi Ruthie and congrats on the ‘real you’ showing up! I think we are all in process and that includes the not so good decisions we all make. Keep it real and you will keep us! mo

  4. Lerato says:

    I agree with everyone here. Although it isn’t commendable to drink too much, pretending you have it all together is also completely wrong and robs us of growing, maturing and leaning from our mistakes.

    It’s unkind of someone to tell you to hide yourself and not “confess your sins to one another”… it is good to be spurred to be authentic and hopefully “save a few” with your authenticity.

    Thank you Ruthie, be encouraged that He is faithful to forgive us of our sins and shortcomings when we are vulnerable, broken and repentant and when we confess our sins. Continue to follow Christ as authentically as you can so as to “save a few”… anr Help them to follow Him with authentic hearts.

    :)

  5. Becki says:

    Today I will attempt to be my best self. When I fail, I will try again tomorrow.

    Whether outward or inward, there is always something we think, do or say that is so far from ‘ideal’ in the heart of God. Thank God His mercies are new everyday…. did I say everyday? Yes, EVERYDAY!

    Sitting in His Grace,
    Becki

  6. Cameron A. says:

    Thanks for sharing. It’s nice to know that Christian authors are not perfect. Not to say I’m glad to read about a person’s mess ups, but an occassionally post about a struggle helps others find a fellow Christian to relate to. I’m a Christian and I was in church for New Years, but I also had the desire to be downtown where the parties were, so know that whatever you struggle with you’re not alone.

  7. Sarah says:

    Ruthie,
    Your honesty is refreshing. Thanks for the transparency. I have a tea towel hanging in my kitchen that says, “Every saint has a past, every sinner a future.’ Not sure where this came from, but I love it.

    Be encouraged, dear sister. Life is hard. We do not need to beat one another up!

    Sarah

  8. Carrie says:

    Thanks for following up on yesterday’s blog. When I first read it, I felt disappointed that another Christian thought it was okay to get drunk on New Year’s. I wanted someone to set a higher standard. As soon as that thought left my brain, I asked for repentance for judging you and reminded myself of my own drinking incident several days prior. I should not judge anyone lest I be judged. I appreciate your raw honesty and ability to “keep it real.” We ALL struggle and its great to know that you dusted yourself off and kept living for Christ vs. letting condemnation keep you down. God’s grace is wonderful. No one is perfect but the One who loves us is! I will definitely be happy to continue reading/sharing your blog. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Carrie! Thanks for your honesty. I probably would have judged myself, too, as an outsider. Thank you for being a committed reader!

  9. Kirsten says:

    I give you a lot of credit….when we act perfect or like we have it all together, we lose authenticity and the ability to truly connect as Christians. Thanks for being transparent!!

  10. Evette says:

    Thank you so much for being transparent. I don’t drink alcohol but guess what? I have other issues that trip me up! We all do. We all should be thankful that because of God’s mercy we are not consumed, and his mercies are new every morning! (Lamentations 3:22-23) I know it was hard for you to write about being hungover but trust me it will help others who are struggling in this area. The key to it all is taking responsibility, seeking mercy and forgiveness from God and then turning from our wicked ways. This is a lifelong journey. We are all works in progress. Continue to grow in Christ, and to write. I enjoy your blog and will continue reading it.

  11. Karin says:

    Ruthie, I realize there’s a lot of pressure on you with the publicity you gained, I pray that God helps you fight the legalism that so easily comes with it. I really don’t think you being hungover on New Year’s day and not being able to “deep clean your house” etc. is such a big deal. Love, Karin

  12. Rose says:

    Hi Ruthie,

    I have read your blog for a couple of years and this is my first time commenting. Thanks for your transparency, no judgment here sister, I had a friend stop over yesterday and I happened to have a glass of sparkling red grape juice in wine glass on my table (from a distance it looks like red wine and that in and of itself could lead some people to question why I drink grape juice out of a wine glass, um, because the glass is pretty, and I collect wine glasses, I also have taken a wine tasting workshop and I am a former food reporter, so I like to learn about wine and food, etc.., and at the end of the day I simply wanted to use that glass, but I don’t want to digress too much), and for a second I wondered if my friend (we’re both Christians) thought I was drinking and missed church because I was home drinking and if she was also judging me, and I was also tempted to call her and say it wasn’t wine, but then I realized appearances aren’t always what they seem, it was grape juice, regardless of what she might have thought.

    Some people of faith drink (but do not get drunk) and others don’t drink at all, but are mean and legalistic and cause a lot others a great deal of pain because they don’t live up to their expectations. They also don’t have a Heaven or Hell to put anyone in, sure they can withdraw their friendship or support or try to make you feel bad but at the end of the day, I would rather let God deal with people and their conscience about their actions rather than act as if I am superior because I “don’t do” certain things or haven’t succumbed to a certain sin or weakness or flaw in my character (yet). The ancient Jews drank wine on certain occasions (much of it was cultural or traditional) and while it’s debate the type of wine they drank, it is also debatable about whether drinking (at all) or drinking in excess (drunkedness or harming others or violating legal laws while drinking) is the true sin (which would make more sense to me).

    Sometimes scripture is descriptive others times it appears to be more prescriptive and at times, we all interpret it differently and is why we need community to get a sound understanding of the bible and how it applies to 21st culture, we aren’t ancient Israelites (many of us have no Jewish heritage whatsoever, so we simply don’t know a lot about the ancient culture unless we study it), and our Western culture is simply different in a lot of respects. I am not saying that we should disregard what the word teaches about drinking (which isn’t a whole lot) or drunkedness. However, some people drink to celebrate or for social reasons, others realize they can’t drink socially or abuse alcohol when they do, others can have a drink or two and keep it moving, some people drink all of the time, others once a year, some people drink to intentionally get drunk or to cope, is it all the same? No!

    You confessed you had a hangover, I feel like you aim to do better and will learn and grow from this particular experience. Be blessed and keep writing!

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Rose,

      Two years, huh? Thanks for writing in! I really appreciate you sharing your experience and for your encouragement. It feels good to admit failure, but know it doesn’t define me.

      Happy New Year!

      • Rose says:

        Well actually more like a year and a half, I subscribed to your blog in May of 2012, but I had read some of your articles prior to subscribing. Also, many of those articles, after I subscribed, especially those on modesty and body image and dating/singleness have blessed me tremendously. Your voice is needed in our community, keep the good work and your head up!

  13. a concerned follower says:

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2014/01/27/has-authenticity-trumped-holiness-2/

    please read this blog. God has called us to be holy. don’t water down that commandment to your followers, please.

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