I’m Trying, But I Just Can’t Seem To Win With You

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I just can’t win—at least it seems like, not with you.

No matter what I say or how I say it, it all falls short. Pouring out my heart, opening doors to vulnerability, I wrestle with every phrase and every word, hoping to position every thought as best I can do. I want nothing more than for you to understand and receive me as a blessing. What Grace has done in me, I can’t contain. The revelation of Jesus that has confronted my heart has left me forever changed. There are rampant religious evils I simply can’t ignore nor be silent as they have their way—destroying good people.

You’re right, I’m taking a path largely untraveled. I’m giving voice where there has been little to no voice before. I’m swimming against long-held beliefs and the tsunami of right-wing Christianity, and daring to stand up for things many have long been standing against.

No, I don’t expect it to be easy, nor do I harbor an adversity to opposing views. I’m not asking you to agree with me, nor render your stamp of approval. I entertain no delusions, for you won’t be anointing me with oil any time soon—perhaps it’s crossed your mind that a dose of lighter fluid might better suit.

I get it, I understand. These are changing times, and so much of our identities, perceptions, and beliefs are in the balance.

When I first was collided with the truth of my religious spirit and the legalistic faith that birthed it, I was shaken to the core and rebelled with every right-wing conservative Christian fiber within me. I’m not saying I’m right or have all the answers, but I am saying that my heart knows perhaps no greater frustration than when it becomes all too clear, I just can’t win with you.

Please know this, and know it for sure, it’s not for lack of trying and having a soul that desires to.

It seems that when I speak strongly with passion and angst, then somehow I’m being far too abrasive—stepping on feet with too heavy a weight. But then, when I speak softly with tenderness and grace, somehow I’m not speaking strong enough—allowing evil to see the light of day. If I try to land it down the middle, I’m a disappointment to everyone. If I paint with broad strokes, I’m not being surgical enough. If I get specific, I’m being too harsh and insensitive. If I don’t respond, but simply let you share you views, I’m being a callous hypocrite by not engaging you. If I step into the ring and go a few rounds, I’m now deemed a bully who just likes to argue my heretical, unbiblical views. If I don’t walk in perfect step on the path of your ideology and tone preferences, you’re quick to pull me over and write me a scolding ticket.

You gaslight the crap out me but then protest when I don’t rush to cozy up. You troll my life hunting for a debate, cocked with loaded questions for which you’re conveniently convinced you already hold all the answers. Yet, you get offended when I don’t get sucked in or I block you all together—labeling me a fake. You hyper-analyze my every move and step, filling in the blanks with the very worst of assumption and intentions. It’s like you’re determined to misunderstand me no matter how clear or bright shines my light—deflecting seems to be your go-to method.

Sure, I could always say, believe, and handle things better—that’s a given. But, none of that matters, for it seems no matter what, I can’t win.

So, here’s the real kicker—the revelation in it all.

For who would I have to become, what would have to believe, and what would I have to do to be accepted, affirmed, and deemed worthy of your gleam? What kind of surrender and conformity would that transformation require?

With deep love and all due respect, as much as I wish I could win with you, there’s a very real part of me that’s growing more and more thankful—that I can’t. For I have this deep sense within me, I wouldn’t like the person I would have to become for that wish to be granted—nor would Jesus. My sense is this, He created me to be a person not a puppet.

Instead, here’s my plan, a kind of manifesto. I’m going to speak my truth—I’m going to say it exactly the way I want to say it, no holds barred. No shackles, mute buttons, shrinking back, curling up in the fetal position, or editorializing my heart.

Come hell or high water, fame or loneliness, though maybe I can’t win with you—I am awakened and determined, I will win at speaking and living my truth.

Grace is brave. Be brave.


  1. Jo

    Preach on. Those with ears to hear, will.

    • ckratzer

      Jo, thanks, right on!

      • Paul Appleby

        Ya! Like my ears!

        • ckratzer


  2. cmb

    You are far from fake. The things you write echo what has been in my heart for so long but just not articulate enough to “put to paper” Your writing will enable others to live their truth as well, knowing at last, they are not the only ones…that legalistic religious views crammed into their brains growing up did not take hold in their hearts. Please continue to be brave…

    • ckratzer

      CMB, thank you so much! So appreciate you and your encouragement. Let’s all be brave together, side by side!

  3. Jem

    Keep saying what you believe no matter what. We all need to hear it, even though some of us don’t want to know. I for one, love what you have to say and would be deeply wounded if you baled out.

    • ckratzer

      Jem, thank you. I’m never baling! Not with friends like you!

  4. Wendy

    I’m am SO HAPPY to have found you! You are not alone. There is a growing tribe of Jesus followers that are coming out of the shadows. Gaining confidence from the courage of others, like you, who speak the Truth of Jesus. Love God, Love His people. It really is not that complicated. Thank you for shining a light.

    • ckratzer

      Thank you Wendy, the tide is turning for sure! Happy to have found you too!

  5. James Early

    It’s a slow process is spiritual maturing that finally brings us to the realization that we are not trying to please people or win their acceptance. We should strive to please God and grow in His grace.

    Thank you for being courageous to speak truth.

    • ckratzer

      Thanks James!

  6. Gerry

    You’ll never reach the converted. To them, you’re a hateful, Satan-worshipping, soul-murdering (insert profanity here). The only ones you have any hope of influencing are those who already believe as you do, or those who don’t yet have a firm opinion on the subject. So keep shining a light in the dark.

    • Debbi Ryan

      I agree. But Chris, those of us on the journey with you are feasting on your words. Keep dishing them up.

      • ckratzer

        Absolutely Debbie, bravery wins!

    • ckratzer

      Gerry, I think I understand what you are saying, but thankfully, I have been able to reach some of the converted. I don’t write with that being my highest priority, but it is nice to see that it happens.

  7. Mike Rough

    My sentiments exactly. Let ‘er rip!

    • ckratzer

      Thanks Mike!

  8. Living Liminal

    “…who would I have to become, what would have to believe, and what would I have to do to be accepted, affirmed, and deemed worthy of your gleam?”

    This reminds me a little of Diana’s response to Queen Hippolyta in the movie Wonder Woman. The queen tells Diana that if she chooses to leave their island, she may never return. Diana turns to her and asks, “Who will I be if I stay?”

    Sometimes the cost of “staying” is just too high!

    • ckratzer

      Well Said, LL!

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