I know you've heard it before:
“You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?”
In other words, “are you for real?”
When we claim to live differently, we have people watching, some waiting, to see if we fail. To see if we are what we say we are. To see if we’re the real thing.
This is especially true of Christians. In a world where negativity and pessimism are the standard trains of thought, claiming to live in God’s light immediately makes you thetarget for a skeptical audience. Suddenly, co-workers, neighbors, friends, relatives and immediate family members are watching you.
“Let’s see if she’s just talk.”
For some women, like myself, the most skeptical spectator lives in our home and shares our bed: our husband.
There is a unique group of women out there who are, what I like to call, “spiritually single.” We are married women whose husbands have yet to know God on a profoundly personal level.
My situation is such:
My husband attends church only when our children are performing during the Easter and Christmas services, he questions God’s love and goodness, and he thinks the church is “after” his money. Overall, my husband is very skeptical of God.
Neither of us were believers before we married. We were smooth sailing doin’ our own thing. Then, before we hit our one-year wedding anniversary, I pledged my heart, soul and life to God and I made the decision to get baptized (amen!).
That was 14 years ago.
For many years, I focused on what my husband was doing wrong as a non-believer. I focused on the loneliness I felt, particularly on Sunday mornings or other church events. I focused on my jealousy and envy of the women at church and their spiritually minded husbands. I focused on the lack of Godly leadership in my house. I focused on my husband’s faults, his shortcomings and his sins.
I focused on everything but me. I was so focused on what my husband wasn’t doing, that I neglected to see what I was doing.
I was ignoring my audience. I wasn’t being righteous, only self-righteous. I was only talking the talk. My husband saw the “real” me, and the real me wasn’t the Godly woman I was claiming to be.
Oh sure, at church, in public, around friends or strangers, my halo glistened as bright as the morning sun on a summer day. But at home, my husband saw that I talked the talk, I didn’t walk the walk. He saw my ugly jealously manifesting into anger and sharp words. He saw my loneliness reveal itself in the denial of forgiveness. He saw my envy present itself as an unloving wife.
What was my example showing him? Exactly what he assumed: I was a hypocrite.
Our actions speak loudly. While we may think we are tame with our tongues, our behaviors speak for us. And not just at home; everywhere we travel, the example we set is what translates God’s love to those who don’t know Him yet.
It took me a while (and a lot of prayer) to realize that I don’t need to envy anyone. I am not alone. I have a powerful God who loves me more than any man on earth could ever dare love me. And He has surrounded me with a family of believers and a sisterhood of faith.
That’s when I realized: I can do this. I can walk this walk.
You can do this. You can do more than talk the talk.
You own this walk like Chanel models during fashion week.
Walk on, girl. Set the example for others to watch and follow.
(This article was originally written by Jennifer Osler and featured as a guest blog post for GirlfriendsPray.org)