In our small group we are reading a book that is having a rather profound impact on my heart and my relationship with Christ. It’s called True Faced: Trust God and Others With Who You Really Are. This post won’t really be a book review, but rather how God is using this book to teach me the Truth About Me.
In addition to reading Scripture, I can sincerely tell you I have read every “how to be a better Christian wife/mother/sister/hostess/football fan” book ad nauseum since I decided to follow Jesus in 1993. I am a full on kind of person and when I pursue something it is with passion and intention, thus the extensive reading list. But over the last couple of years, beginning probably around 2004ish I began to sense there must be something more, something I am missing…my relationship with my God seemed…distant. I wanted change, growth, maturity, holiness, godliness…to be like Christ, to be Godly, to live the disciplines…I wanted to please Him above all else.
For those of us on this journey of following Christ, the journey is one of choices. At some point between 1993 and the early 2000s I made a choice. I made a choice between two divergent paths in this journey with God: on the left– the path of Pleasing God and on the right– the path of Trusting God. There is no third choice; no “door #3” and one cannot jump back and forth between the two paths. These two paths represent the inner motives of the heart, the purpose behind the practice. Ultimately, motives become values and values become action. I chose the Pleasing God path. For me, the Trusting God path seemed so esoteric, so “out there”, so intangible…and kind of scary. But the Pleasing God path is one of action, it is about experience, to many it’s the sold out for God way to go! Passionately, I set my foot on this path and the journey began.
True Faced describes the Pleasing God path as one that leads to the Room of Good Intentions. Over the entrance to the room a sign reads “Striving to Be All That God Wants Me to Be” and to enter this room one must turn the knob of Effort. From the beginning of my walk my deepest desire has been to be the person God intends me to be, to be the person He has called me to be. It makes sense I would grab the Knob of Effort with gusto and walk right in. …I will be all He wants me to be…whatever it looks like, whatever it takes…I want to please Him! My walk with God will be just like in the books I’ve read, it will be like Paul and Peter, Ruth and Naomi. My goal is to be godly, I will persevere, I will be disciplined, I will fast and pray and do Bible Studies…and we will have this close relationship I have always wanted with God. And I became comfortable in the Room of Good Intentions…at least for a while. Then I got tired. Real tired. There seemed to be this rather uncomfortable, but permanent mask adhered to my face and on the faces of others in the room. When we inquire among each other “How is it going? How are you doing?” a pained “Everything’s fine, just fine, we’re doing good, yup, pretty good” echoes among us all in this Room of Good Intentions.
I lived in the Room of Good Intentions for quite some time…a looong time. I invested in relationships that seemed to go beyond the mask, but in Truth the masks remained. My experience in the Room of Good Intentions was littered with half used homeschool supplies, Bible Studies left incomplete, futile attempts at perfect tea parties, gallons of mismatched paints and fabric for decorating, scratched up mediocre Christian music CDs and multiple copies of the Bible in the search to find the most accurate version to carry to church. I began to feel stifled…the mask was on pretty tight. And I claimed to be authentic. I was tired. Very tired…of myself, of the others in the Room and of feeling like I was never doing enough, never getting it quite together. There always seemed to be this cloud over me, this nagging feeling I will never be the person God intends me to be. The intimate walk I thought I would experience after choosing Christ seemed to have faded into the pages of the well intentioned books I had read and placed upon the dusty bookshelves in the basement. All the concepts and strategies I had read about had ultimately left me…unchanged.
NOTE: Over the next few days/week I will be working through The Truth About Me….and I won’t not post for months, I just need to process stuff a little…this is too exciting to keep inside, just getting it out in a coherent manner is a longer process than I thought… Jab