Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Truth ~ ReNEWed Life '12

Last time I wrote a little about ReNEWed Life Women’s Event where speaker and writer, Lisa Whittle, shared. I knew I had too much to share in one post. So, here’s part 2 in this series of 4. (To read my last post, click "Last time" above) 

Lisa Whittle’s first message of the day was titled “Wholeness Starts in the Heart”. She pointed out how we tend to “put on masks and conceal our truth”. She said what God is looking for is truth in the heart (Ps 51:6,10). It starts from the inside out. Sometimes the devil makes us afraid to share our truth. She says when we face it, there is freedom.

My truth is not pretty. I will share a little bit about it with you in a moment. Before I do I want to share some other truth with you. Something that God has been showing me, that I didn’t hear at ReNEWed Life that day, but something that I think you might need to hear before you hear my truth.

The truth is, your truth isn’t that different than everyone else’s. For some reason most of us tend to think we are a “special case”. Unlike everyone else.

Guess what? Those people you think are so much different than you, are more like you than different. Think about it.

Most people want to be happy. Most people want a family. And those who have them, love them…especially their children. Most of us want our creature comforts to be satisfied. We like to be comfortable, and avoid situations where we are not. Most of us are insecure in one area or another, and spend a substantial amount of time trying to make everyone think that we are not. We want to succeed, and we want others to see us as successful. We’ve been hurt and experienced loss. We want to feel needed and important. We work, eat, sleep, clean, talk, listen, etc. Getting the picture? We’re alike.

We especially tend to think our dysfunctional family is unique. Guess what? Everyone’s family, even the most seemingly functional ones, have some dysfunction. We all have our things. Most of our families have quirks, disagreements, black sheep, secrets and even a shady present. Yet, no matter how dysfunctional, our family is we still love them. We can say what we want about them, but no one else better. A thought: perhaps what we label dysfunction is merely reality kept quiet by some.

No matter how we try to “pretty up” the outside, we have holes on the inside that leave us feeling empty. Whether we’re carrying a Gucci handbag or wearing flip flops from Dollar General, we tend to find ourselves stuck in unwanted ruts. No matter what our skin color or hairstyle, we are broken. No matter where we live or what kind of car we drive, we feel lonely, restless, and anxious sometimes.

The truth is: We’re all a mess! Lisa Whittle said it and so do I! 

As I said before, my truth is not pretty. It looked kind of pretty at times. Despite divorced parents and low income, I grew up in Christian school, church and home. I was the “good girl”, smiley, eager to please…everyone. I accepted Jesus at an early age and had a strong faith. I knew all the right verses and holy sounding words, and threw them around quite often.

I believed, but the truth was, this “good girl” had some real heart issues. I was self-centered (which led to insecurity), self-reliant and rebellious (which both turned me away from God). I hadn’t fully submitted my life to God.

As an early 20 something I tired of trying to be perfect. I felt I could never be good enough for others, for myself or for God. Instead of turning to the Lord for help, I turned away. Although I knew it was wrong, I ran after the things the world offered that I thought would make me happy. I could still talk a good talk in the right circles. But the truth was my heart was distant from Him.

One day I came to the end of myself. All of my striving for happiness had left me in a deep pit. Although I had gone looking for happiness, what I had found in the world was more brokenness and disappointment. I fell on my knees before the Lord, crying. This time, I submitted, really submitted, my life to Him.

Things didn’t change overnight. It’s been a process of growth. I keep learning. But I can truly say today, that life is so much better lived submitted to Him, than it ever was on my own. By giving up “my freedom”, I gained it. True freedom.

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. 
But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 
Matthew 16:25
The truth is, I’m still a mess. But I know it…and it drives me to Jesus even more. I have given my messy life to Him, and I keep doing so over and over, day after day. It is a choice. I keep asking for His help, for His Spirit to fill me. Less of me, more of Him, I pray. I am a forgiven, deeply loved work in progress.

Your “truth” circumstances might be different than mine, but the truth is the same. We’re all messed up…and in need of a Savior. Not just once, but over and over, moment by moment each day. Your mess is not beyond His reach. You’re not that different than me. As Lisa Whittle said, when we face our truth, there is freedom. But I also believe when we realize that we are more like the person next to us than we are not, there is also freedom in that. When we face our truth and are honest with others about it, it influences those around us.

But more about that next time. J

Next time I will share my thoughts on Lisa Whittle’s message “Your Story Matters”.

Check out this "truth": a couple of unposed photos snapped at ReNEWed Life Women's Event. Not quite as "put together" as the other posed photos, that's why I like them. They make me smile every time. Shows we're real women, in need of a real Savior. Perhaps we all need to be a bit more "unposed" more often. What do you think? :)


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