Thursday, October 18, 2012

masks and ashes

I am reading two books at the same time again and it's amazing how they are both speaking right to me and making me see myself for who I really am, a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. period.
In "not a fan" we are talking about masks and how we hide behind our "I am perfect" outer selves hiding all kinds of judgements, jealouses, doubts, fears, and imperfections.
He listed out several examples and here are a few that hit me:
Fans who won't go to R-rated movies at the theater, but have a number of them saved on the DVR at home. CHECK
Fans who may feed the hungry and help the needy and then they make sure they work it into every conversation for the next two weeks.
Fans who like seeing other people fail because in their minds it makes them look better.
(this is the one that I HATE to admit my guilt on, but I do it)
Fans whose primary concern in raising their children is what other people think.
Fans who are reading this and assuming I'm describing someone else. Fans who have work the mask for so long they have fooled even themselves.
Thank you Kyle Idleman for that reality check. And here is what he said next and it is so good:
"Jesus has harsh words for these fans who were trying to impress others through their religious credentials (Matthew 23). It's interesting to note that as severe as Jesus was with these religious leaders he is just as tender and encouraging to those who have genuinely given him their hearts, even if they don't have it all together on the outside. Please don't miss this: Jesus doesn't expect followers to be perfect, but he does call them to be authentic."
And I download both of Emily P. Freeman's books Graceful (for young women) and Grace for the Good Girl. Since I think I am still 18 sometimes, I started reading Graceful and in my walk let me just say that I am like 2 years old. And here are her words that struck me like a ton of bricks when talking about reputation (Works/what we do):
"The answer for all of us is the same, no matter our reputations. TRUST JESUS. Lean hard into him. Know that even if nobody else knows how bad you've messed up, he knows. Know that your brokenness does not repulse, him, it attracts him. Know that the best we can come up with on our own is merely a heap of ashes. (and now the 'WOW' moment for me) WHETHER YOUR ASHES ARE A PILE OF GOOD WORKS OR OF BAD DECISIONS, IT'S ALL ASH. And He came to make it beautiful."
There aren't word to describe what this means to me and how I see myself, and really from both perspectives. On almost every page there are great points for me, and especially for young women who are still out there "finding" themselves. My prayer is that they will turn to El Roi, The One who sees, to guide them, not to the things of this world, because let's be clear, I tried that and it didn't work (Hello college). But like Emily said, during that time my bad decisions helped me to see my need for Him. Rob and I were having this conversation about college and He made a very good point: "I learned what mercy, grace, and true forgiveness really were." And at this point in my life, I want/try to do good, but really they are ashes too, when my works aren't being done for the right reason, which is to further God's kingdom.
"WOW" moments. A few weekends ago at Emmaus, Bill Beavers asked us to look for "Wow" God moments, where you see the hand of God at work. We saw them everywhere because we were fully aware of His presence around us. It's a little bit harder out here in the real world, but I am trying harder to see them! And just like my "wow" moment I had when reading Emily's book, these moments can be inward within myself or outward seeing or helping others see God in this world.

Lord, help me to be "awe-ware" of you today and see the "wow" moments all around me!

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