My Story: Best Fake Smile

God punched me in the face when I was 18.

I can still look in the mirror and see the dent on my chin. It was exactly what I needed.

See, I used to think it was easier to hide the mess of life inside, where no one else could see. Just I knew… and God although I liked to believe He was unaware. On the outside I would smile because I knew others were watching.

That was how I thought for a long time, even as a Christian.

I put my trust in Jesus to save me back in 2004 in summer camp. Despite this, I had lots of lust, emotional chaos, pride and fear that were so rooted in me, and I hid it all. I thought I could balance my dark life with a super bright outward life, so I formed a resume to prove it but only the good things made it on paper.

I was a top student, active in Christian clubs, sports, the whole lot.

I was simply trying to make sure I had the approval from others that I feared I didn’t really have from God.

I also partied, drank, and smoke – that of course stayed off the “perfect girl” resume

I did have a genuine relationship with God, but there were areas of my life that I thought He couldn’t handle. So instead of giving them to Him, I walked around in a burden of guilt… and my best fake smile.

One night on campus I met up with a few friends for what was suppose to be a relaxed study night as we had a project due the next day. With enough perseverance my “friends” got the better of me and dragged me out to a club where our plans changed quickly from studying to partying. I remember drinking so much it was hard to walk straight where all I saw was a blur but I plastered another fake smile to the crowd doing my best not to stand out or loose my lunch. After hours of meaningless dancing I called it a night. As I stumbled in the house around 2 in the morning trying to stay as quiet as possible I creeped up the stairs in the dark and missed a step. I fell flat on my face bruised my chin.

I like to think it was God who punched me in the face that day. God knew I needed a wake-up call to question whether those friends were really good for me or the lifestyle I was choosing was worth it and it wasn’t.

I was further reminded of God’s mighty hand the following year at a Youth Conference. The summer of 2013 I truly understood what grace meant. I was completely changed in my new understanding. For the first time, I genuinely comprehended that at the cross, where Jesus died for my sin, everything that’s wrong with us was put on Jesus, and Jesus’ perfection was put on us.

I read 2 Corinthians 5:21 and smiled… a real smile.

All my bright and shiny actions didn’t earn this love – God loved me before I had a change to try and earn it

Each day god continues to shape my heart as I experience and understand more deeply His approval and unchanging love for me in Christ.

I craved acceptance and found it in Jesus.

Blessings,

Rishae Pinnock

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