Monday, September 30, 2013

Worth the Risk - Disarming the Dangers of Silent Lies

So we're sitting across the table at lunch and I confess it... this deep fear that's eating away at me.  The fear that it's eventually going to become exposed that I'm just not good enough.  And from there, the words just keep pouring out.  I feel a little foolish - and yet so free.  "I honestly don't know... why are you still here?  What keeps you here?  And how long before you realize you should have left?"  It's out before I can stop it.  I hadn't even realized how it was weighing on my heart until I heard it coming from my own lips.  How often I ask that question and not just about the person sitting across from me in that moment!  Do I really believe I am that unworthy of love?  It sounds ridiculous out loud.  But...

It's the silent lies we keep locked up and refuse to put words to that slowly tear us apart from the inside out.

And then I regain my sense of self.  "Well, isn't this awkward?  Why am I even telling you all this?" And I hear it from across the table, "It's good to bring it out into the light."  Ah.  Yes.  That's what I'm doing, isn't it?  Pulling back the curtain on my heart.  Groping for the light switch with my words.  And it's not like me.  Not really.  I don't do vulnerability.  Not face to face.  I hide behind pen and ink or pixels on a screen, unless you are one of the few in my inner circle, like the roommate who came out on the stairwell the other night to "make sure I didn't jump."  *smile+head shake* And this is a new wrestling for Freedom.  This is a new reaching.  This is the peeling back of another layer, a moving deeper.  And somehow, it's starting to make sense.

It's the silent lies that keep us from hearing the voice of the Father.  It's little whispers of "no" that turn our hearts to stone.

And there is power here.  And maybe this is why everyone around me seems to be harping on Community.  Because when you can speak your internal struggles out loud, you can bring them to the Light, and the darkness loses its power.  And then God can speak, and His omnipotent words can empower you.  And I know because, yes, I felt vulnerable and a little foolish, but once I pushed past that, it's like the fog lifted and the fear subsided and I could breathe again!  And then more words, "I'm not going to try to prove anything to you."  I almost looked around to see who had said it.  Because this Type-A, perfectionist, performance oriented, over achiever?  She has lived the better part of her years trying to prove something!  And when all my confessions were met with few words instead of a bunch of empty ones that would just tickle the ears?  I found my heart more than okay.  I found my heart thankful, because really He is more than enough.  And those glimpses of transformation and God at work are rich grace.

Because in the silence I think I'm a lost cause.  I feel trapped and stuck and hopeless.  Then the heart hardens and the ears go deaf.  But when we are willing to humble ourselves and break the silence, God exposes and speaks and empowers.  And that's what Community is.  It's not "here I am, fix me!"  It's "I'm broken and you're broken and let's bless each other."  It is the safe place where we face the challenge of being vulnerable and expose it all to the Light.  And sure, maybe we get burned.  Maybe we end up hurt, but I know that at the end of it all, He holds my heart and His heart toward me is nothing but good.  So maybe... just maybe it's worth the risk.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Five Minute Friday - True

Taking five minutes of my lunch break to join in again.  Five minutes to be free, to breathe, to let fingers fly, to write, and to let God speak to my heart through it all.  Enjoy this... or (better yet) join in?


Because most days I don't get it.  I can't really speak it, and I certainly can't live it.  What is true.  I'm pretty aware of certain true things.  I'm weak.  I wear thin.  My kids are crazy.  They lack self-control almost as much as I do.  I feel like life is an uphill battle.

But what of the things that don't seem true because I don't always feel them.  What of the things that God speaks into my life that start to feel cliche at best and false at worst?  The Truth that I am clothed in strength and dignity.  That I am beautiful and deeply loved.  That God is always good and always loves.  That all is grace and there are a thousand things to be thankful for.  That when the Holy Spirit lives in me, 5 hours of sleep is actually enough, and the low energy levels?  They don't actually mean that much.

Am I going to define true by how I feel?  It's a question I need to ask every day, right after I ask for God's name to be praised and for His will and for daily bread.  Am I going to define true by how I feel?

Lord, no!  Do not let me!  Because my feelings lie like no one else.  And You can use lies for good because they drive me back to the throne of grace and my weaknesses don't separate me from You.  They build a bridge to deeper trust in You.  And both can be true!  I'm a weak, broken, messy mess mess.  But I am beautiful and worthy of love because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.  And they go together.  And true is true regardless of how I feel.


Five Minute Friday

Monday, September 23, 2013

The one answer when things don't seem to line up...

I stop on a Saturday morning and breathe it deep.  I'm up way earlier than I would like to be.  Nothing can stop the internal clock.  Still it feels good to not wake up to an alarm.  The roommate was up before me and the dishes are clean and the kitchen shines.  Tiny Companion and I head out for an adventure... because I have time!  And the gift list grows.

Dew dampened grass
Clearest blue sky

Golden light that hints of coming autumn

Asia exploring freely

And a perfect cool morning

So I breathe it all deep.  Not preparing and bracing myself for the day.  Just smiling long and breathing deep.  I settle in with pages and am reminded that life is dessert and I've forgotten, but God created life with this gracious rhythm of work and rest so we might remember.  I exhale thanks for all this and life slows beautifully down.  

And then in the same day, there is the moment where you go to zip up your dress and you realize that it doesn't fit, and you have gained so much more weight than you thought (or lost so much less?) and a woman's sense of her own beauty is often so fleeting.  And you wonder if there's even a point to all the working out and watching what you eat and everything in you starts screaming (again) that familiar chorus of "Not Enough!" And you can feel the insecurity rising and the leaning toward the rushing and the noise and you wonder what the answer is and if the battle will ever end.  And the gift list is still sitting on the table and just turn a page back in the journal to find words about thanksgiving and the graciously good heart of Father God.  And it's not that life and God are not good... just maybe I'm not good?  

And I sigh frustrated.  Always the forgetter.  And the battle against that inner monologue is fierce.  I thought I had long conquered the demons of perfectionism, but then they rear their ugly heads again and I am bound tight.  The words escape my lips before I have time to think about it and censor them:  All I want is to be perfect - the perfect teacher, the perfect co-worker, the perfect friend, the perfect woman for him, the perfect Christian - is that really so much to ask?

You have my full permission to laugh.  It's good medicine.  It helps us to see how tightly the fists have been clenched.  Laughing at ourselves forces us to exhale and see the lies for what they are.  So there is this:  I am weak.  I will never be perfect.  But I'm asking this: Can I, like Paul, look at my weakness and call it grace?  Can I boast in weakness and thank God for the thorn in the flesh and these messengers of Satan who speak lies but drive me back to seek Truth?  

In a way I haven't in a long time, I am wrestling with grace and freedom and God's heart toward me.  I love to talk about it.  God's love and goodness and faithfulness.  But to try and line that up with the weakness I feel in my heart and see in the mirror?  So hard!  Can He really look on this mess and see beauty?  Can He really walk with me day by day and not grow weary?  And my heart leaps within and praise dances behind my lips because the answer is - and in Christ ALWAYS is - YES!  He is God.  He can do that!  And it's back to the Sanity Manifesto again - marveling in the mystery of a freedom and love and grace and redemptive work I can't even wrap my mind around. And my response is "amen" to His glory.