Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Truth: The Real Deal

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.

34 comments:

Sharon said...

Paula,
Yep like Nichole say's this is beautifully written. And I don't think I will like seeing through God's Glasses.
Guess I have some work to do! Thank you for the post and I will ponder this for the day. Amen

nothingcanseparateme said...

Paula,

Even with all our flaws and mistakes he loves us.

HE ALWAYS HAS AND ALWAYS WILL LOVE US!!

Our mistakes in our lives were already known by God before they happened. It's how we use them for his glory that he is watching and so are others around us.

This journey has been so encouraging to me and I have enjoyed visiting you for more insight.

blessings,
Kim

Jenn @ Casa de Castro said...

I've always loved the B.I.B.L.E. acronym, and these days, we need to know God's Word more than ever. Thanks for another wonderful, thought-provoking post, Paula.

Blessings!

Tonja said...

I know...you saw me, didn't you? I thought if I bought that bag of cookies and ate them in the car...no one would see. Yep, I'm the one who fell off the diet wagon...big time!

Great post! It always helps me to remember that God made me just like I am...so that He could use me just like He wants!

Amy said...

This quote of yours, "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." I completely understand...It reminds me of a quote by Eleanor Powell....

"What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God." ~Eleanor Powell

And it is hard sometimes to see ourselves through His eyes...My only comparison, and it doesn't really even compare, is when I look at my own children. I love them so much. I look at them and see so much potential, and I love who they are in their souls. I have to remind myself that God looks at me the same way....but with even more love and forgiveness than I could ever offer my own children.

I love this quote by C.S. Lewis (I think):
"If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
If God had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
God sends you a sunrise every morning.
He sends you flowers every spring.
God could live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart.
When you want to talk, God will listen.
And that Christmas gift He sent you in Bethlehem?
. . . Face it, friend, God is crazy about you!"

Amen!

Big hugs to you, Paula!
Much love,
Amy:)

andi said...

Good stuff girl. Thanks for sharing about the book. I have learned from you! Love the quote Amy wrote!!!! He loves doesn't He? Blows my mind!

Natalie said...

Can you send your gloves my way? It is definitly winter in these parts! Stay warm!

Amy said...

Hi Paula!

Stop by in my life when you get a chance. I have a little something for you.:)

Cheri Bunch said...

Paula~
Your thoughts are deep........you have written so much that I must ponder. I think YOU should write a book! Is that on your heart? You have a message to share. I pray that the Lord will continue to bless the works of your hands!
Love to you,
Cheri

HIS Daughter said...

Your writing is beautiful, Paula! It is HIS gift to you - to express how to walk with HIM through heartache and pain and loss.

It's authentic so others can identify - sometimes we walk with HIM in joy and full submission and sometimes we grow weary and sad - that is real life here and HE knows our hearts. The women who read your blog and your heart take away encouragement for another day.

The comment you left on my blog is precious. I too struggled with the big "BUT WHY??" If HE could have stopped it and HE didn't..why?

I wanted to believe that HE was there watching in horror but was unable to stop the enemy from his assault on me. That was a stumbling block to me for so long!

If HE is all powerful, Sovereign and above all things...HE could have not allowed it - yet HE did and did that mean HE didn't care at all?

I know now that HIS ways are higher and what I don't understand down here...I will see it clearly one day.

This is "just a little while" here and we have no idea of what awaits us there...not clouds and harp playing...all things made new and in perfect order under HIM.

I love you, Sweet Girl!
Teri

Abbasgirl said...

Beautiful post. Not winter here yet, sunny and will be 74 today, as much as I long for cold weather, I am very satisfied with it not being 90 or above.

Darlene said...

I love what you say about brokenness. I think that brokenness is one of the most beautiful things in the body of Christ. If we allow Him to shine through our broken vessels, He will use our brokenness and make something eternal and beautiful out of our pain. Praise Him.

So blessed to have been on this journey with you!
Darlene

Tammy said...

Winter has arrived here in upstate New York and I'm not liking it!

I needed to read the statment you made...I believe it is once we fully reach our brokenness that God uses us.

It gives me hope for my prodial son,who is so broken. Your words have remined me...God uses the broken.

Cindy said...

You are a beautiful writer Paula, and I am quite sure you are a beautiful person whom God created with special purpose.
Your writings, as well as your comments on my blog, have touched and blessed my heart.
It has been a pleasure traveling this journey with you.
And yes, growth has taken place.
Until the next time, Cindy

Laura said...

you said this, "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."

Yes! This is what I felt when I read this part of the chapter too. So well-said, Paula.

I have been so blessed through your thoughts throughout this study, friend. You have such deep insights.

I love your heart!

Lelia Chealey said...

I have so enjoyed getting to know you better through this study Paula. I love reading the insights you share and so cool you caught the titles of the beginning and end of this book.
Continue to allow God to take over your life Paula...He is just so worth the surrender, isn't He?
Can't wait until the next study.
You are awesome & beautiful!
Love,
Lelia

The Pink Potpourri said...

i love your blog! great post. God's love is so good!

be sure to swing by my blog! we're having a giveaway!

Edge of Design said...

When I make a mistake and I have made some doozies, I don't do well at all. I punish myself severely and allow guilt and condemnation to grip my soul. It gets to the point of it being a stronghold. I think one of the biggest things for me to realize is that I really can't go back to my comfort zone of "guilt and condemnation" and be effective for God. The temptation is strong and I must lean on Him to resist it.

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

Paula-I have noticed such a great change in your spirit. you had been so hurt, broken and maybe even bitter, desperate for a reconnecting of your past. Now I see a women who has so replaced many of those same emotions with her love for her Lord and in doing that you are ministering to so many women. May I be so bold to say spiritual beauty has come out of your pain?!?!?! Thats truth!!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!!

In His Graces~Pamela

Dianne said...

Hey Paula, sorry I have been a bit scarce, lovely post.

Well we are not in winter yet, but we will be soon, in a couple of weeks. I can't wait!

Trying to Stay Calm! said...

I'm new here! What a great blog :)

Lisa said...

Paula...
Beautiful truth in this post, my sister. I have loved every minute of this journey with you. Coming to your blog every week, I always knew that your posts would be real and honest, and I have come to appreciate that from you! I have seen God work in your life through this study, and my spirit does flip flops over that! How precious you are to Him that He would have you journey down this path for such a time as this. How blessed I am to have gotten to walk beside you during the process.

My prayer for you, Paula, is that of Romans 15:13..."May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Friend, you keep walking in the truth of His hope and you just don't know what might happen in your life!

You are loved, Paula!
Lisa :)

Joanne said...

Paula,

Any woman who can post like you can, is definitely a gifted writer.

I have to admit that it has not been cold here yet. It is still in the seventies outside. I am getting so frustrated. I put on a sweater and baked some cookies today anyway...though my back slider door was open..hee hee hee.

Blessings friend.

valerie said...

Paula,
I definitely agree with Nichole....you are an extremely gifted writer.
This post is amazing!
I love how God takes us on journeys and sometimes the journey is in the valley and a journey of waiting and growing. He is such a loving and forgiving God and I'm learning that the more time I spend with Him and with other Christian encouragers, the more fulfilled my life becomes.
I too love the blog and love the women on here. It's amazing to me how we can be so encouraged by people we may never even meet face to face (here on earth!). We have the privilege to pray for each other and intercede for them.
I love the acronym you shared for BIBLE. That's good.
Paula, you are a blessing and I pray you keep those glasses on because God has mighty things in store for you!
Love,
Valerie
P.S. About the pie plate comment...it is corning ware and I've had it since I got married over 29 years ago. I'm happy you were blessed. I used a cornbread mix for years. My grandma would make the best cornbread & I'd try it and it never was good & then I found this recipe (somewhere????) and now my hubby says it's better than my Nannie's....and that's a compliment!

Pat said...

"We are missing so much by not seeing ourselves through His eyes"
So true Paula. I am thankful for your insights and your transparent walk with God!
Pat

Leebird said...

Hey P aula,

Your post really made me think...I could especially relate to the part where you said you hide your own issues so as to not burden others. I think I'm with you there...and I think it's because of a feeling of unworthiness. God is changing that in me, and I pray you, too! Love you sister, Lee

Nicole said...

Hi Paula! Happy Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for you and your friendship! You have encouraged me from the beginning of blogland! Thank you for reaching out to me!

You are right, we all have downsides to our personalities. Thank you for the reminder to embrace those, and to let them remind me that's why I need Jesus! I need His perfected work done in my life! Go to work Jesus! I am nothing without your mark on my life!!!

Love you my friend,
Nicole

Nicole said...

By the way...I agree, you are a GREAT writer. You have a gift. Never forget that my friend! I am praying for you this Thanksgiving. I don't know what your plans are but want you to feel especially loved this holiday season!!! May your loneliness be replaced with love, peace, and contentment!

We have much to be thankful for my friend even in the midst of trials. I pray that this truth pierces your heart this Thanksgiving! May you praise Jesus in all you say and do this Thanksgiving! Please know any words I write are also a reminder to me too!

Love you,
Nicole

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Paula, I love the diff between a soothing and healing balm. That is a great point to get across, esp. to teenagers, as they try different coping mechanisms (such as cutting) to deal with their sorrow. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. And thanks for all of the joy you bring to me personally in blogging! Happy Thanksgiving!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Paula, I love the diff between a soothing and healing balm. That is a great point to get across, esp. to teenagers, as they try different coping mechanisms (such as cutting) to deal with their sorrow. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. And thanks for all of the joy you bring to me personally in blogging! Happy Thanksgiving!

On Purpose said...

Happy Thanksgiving My Friend! I was just thinking about you and praying for you, knowing that God has great things for you!

JnL4God said...

Happy Thanksgiving.
Loves,
Lynn

Carol said...

My friend,
Your are indeed a gifted and talented writter. I've so enjoyed this post. I haven't finished this part of the study, but your post has motivated me to finishe, and post even if the study is not finished. God is not through speaking to me through the study, my friends that I've made and the changing of me.

Thanks girlfriend. I love you.
Carol

valerie said...

Merry Christmas, Paula!