Peeps, is it winter or what? I don’t know about your parts but winter officially started yesterday at 4pm. That is when I left work to discover it was colder than when I arrived at work and I was regretful of not wearing a coat and especially gloves. Yes, I missed my gloves even for my three minute drive home. Cold hands, warm heart?
Now weather that truth hurts is up to each of us. (Get it, weather, instead of whether--winter.)
Seriously, as we examine the final chapter of Behind These Eyes, we see that the Truth heals. Do you remember the name of chapter one? It was “The Truth Hurts”. How poignant, Lisa, that we end with the chapter titled “The Truth Heals”. It’s kind of like wrapping some cold cuts and cheese with two slices of bread.
Lisa speaks of three truths: recognition (God created us exactly the way we are), admission (God created us with free will), and resolution (God created us to discern and discover who we are).
The truth can hurt initially; we know that. But, we must recognize the truth to get to the healing point. As painful and hurtful as the truth may be, admitting it begins the process to heal and set us free. Yes, holding the truth does create not only baggage but bondage. With that freedom comes healing.
Lisa discusses the difference between a soothing balm and a healing balm. There is a huge difference; a difference in the end results. Soothing balm is what it sounds like. It sooths the pain but soothing is only temporary. It sooths the symptoms. Healing balm heals to the core. It heals the soul. Lisa says “The balm of our heavenly Father is the gift of peace and joy and spiritual growth and unconditional love that is for our taking.” When I was reading the pages on the two balms, my mind instantly wanted to find an analogy to body lotion. Soothing balm made me think of lotion. We put lotion on our skin to smooth, moisturize, or aid our drying winter skin (ugg). However, doesn’t lotion just heal the symptoms and it’s just temporary since we have to reapply it hour after hour? Maybe a healing balm for our skin would be drinking more water, wearing gloves outside, ingesting vitamin E. The latter are more internal issues getting at the core of our bodies. Isn't that what the Jesus does with His healing balm?
Lisa says "The truth only heals because God is Truth." Isn’t that the truth? I am the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6
If we also resolve to be “me”, to be ourselves and no one else, then our role-playing will be no longer. There will be no need to play the roles of Ms. Perfection, Ms. Confidence, Ms. Happiness, Ms. Spirituality, or anyone else. Now isn’t that a relief? Aren’t these roles just really to cover up our brokenness? Think about that. We are broken and that is where we find the desire to be perfect, confident, happy, spiritual, and so on. Lisa is reminded daily “that God often uses broken people—the people with the most baggage—for His honor and glory.” That is so true. I believe it is once we fully reach our brokenness that God uses us. Now, that brokenness may occur more than once in our lives on different occasions with several issues. We have to get to that point of brokenness, falling on our face, and allowing Him to put the pieces back together. Until then, what value are we to Him? The following was soothing to my soul. “Jesus wants to fix everything in us that has ever been broken, not temporarily soothing it on the exterior but healing it in places not able to be seen by the human eye.” Now, that is unimaginable to me.
Lisa believes “that it’s time for us to stop wasting our time trying to be the girl to our right instead of being the best me all of us can be for the glory of God. He deserves it, and we owe it to Him.” Now that is convicting, in a good way though. Do it for Him. Okay. That’s a good motivator. Therefore, I urge, you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1
I love the example Lisa gave of the dieter who falls off the diet wagon by blowing it one day. Upset with herself and instead of acknowledging the mistakes, the dieter just continues with the excessive eating and gains weight. Mess-ups can be the same. One mistake can lead to another, resulting in a snow ball effect. I love that God gave us so many examples to reference in His Word. Such people who messed up but God still used are: Paul, Martha, Thomas, David, and Peter. Lisa points out the same commonality in these people and us is “that of a divine and holy God bringing colossal failures back to His fold and restoring them once again.”
Anyone who ventures this life thinking he/she is immune to mess-ups is living naively. We all mess up. We all will continue to mess up. That does not mean we should beat ourselves up; satan would love that. Lisa says so beautifully. “But rather, we should use our mistakes as reminders of what life is like without God’s guidance and determine to reject going down those paths again.” Can you imagine life without God’s guidance? I love the acronym someone made for the word Bible. Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Amen!!
Lisa says “We need to praise God for the downsides to our personalities and gloriously embrace them.” I guess I have a lot of praisin’ to do, huh? He gave me multiple downsides so I have multiple praises. (Smirking here.) Seriously though, she continues “were He to have made us without downsides and weak areas of our personalities, we would have no need for Him in our lives! We would be adequate without His help—not the way He intended it to be.” We are all made with weaknesses. One with a sharp tongue, one with lustful eyes, one with untruth words, one with addictions. We are all tempted in our different areas of weakness.
He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He. Deuteronomy 32:4. When I read this, I know it to be true but I still want to counteract that by saying we make mistakes, which can alter our temperaments and personalities from what God intended. I don’t believe I was a mistake but sometimes I feel the mistakes I’ve made have changed me and the person God intended me to be. Since God doesn’t make mistakes, I cannot say my creation was an “oops” moment of His. However, I do struggle with what He created verses what life, atmosphere, and circumstances have created or altered in His creation of me. He didn’t make a mistake with me but He has to continually correct the mistakes I make. I don’t know that the life I have and am living is wholly what He originally intended. That’s not His mistake though.
I most definitely have owned my mistakes and I can separate owning them from punishing myself for them. I will always feel a sense of responsibility in my mistakes and feel my life is what it is in part by them. I’m remorseful and regretful of the biggies, especially. I try to acknowledge that those biggies involved others and I am not responsible for their mistakes and their part of the responsibility.
The verses Lisa summarized on pages 190-191 are a perfect reflection from beginning to end. The distinctive link between all these verses is a very deep love God has for us…for me! From His creation of me (Gen. 1:27)…to His desire of a relationship with me (1 Cor. 1:9)…to His detailed knowledge of me (Luke 12:7)…to His forgiveness of me (Ps. 65:3)…to His sacrificial death for me (John 3:16)…and ultimately, His return for me (John 14:1-3). See the perfect circle? It begins with His creation of us and ends with His return for us. Beautiful!
Lisa asks a tough challenge question. Is the truth behind my eyes the same as what others see? Probably not. I struggle with seeing all the positives and values in me. My self-esteem has always been on the lower side. Through my experience in blogland and my small group, I’ve begun to see my positive sides through the eyes of others. That is, to see my good characteristics. Others definitely don’t see the struggles I have…that’s the point isn’t it? To hide the struggles to lessen their burden.
I’ve been lavished with such wonderful comments in the last six months. Trust me when I say it’s not about swelling my head or boosting my ego. But, I believe it is God’s way to show me my value, my gifts, my contributions, and for me to see myself through others' eyes. I think it hit me hard when Nichole commented to this post (last week) and said “Has anyone ever told you...you are beautifully gifted at writing?!?!” I do not say this to devalue the beautiful comments of others but this one hit me between the eyes most recently. I had to step back and say “Really? Wow!”
As we've traveled this journey together, whether you did the actual study or not, I hope you are coming out a different person with a new Godly perspective. I believe God sees us in such a vastly different way than we see ourselves. We are missing so much by not seeing ourselves through His eyes. Won't you put on God's glasses and then view yourself, your life, and the world around you?
To see what others said about this final chapter go to Lelia's blog.
Soaking in His Truth,
The picture is of my burning bush. I'm blessed with two.