Welcome to post number one for the Yes To God Tuesday study of Lisa Whittle's book "Behind Those Eyes: What's really going on inside the souls of women"! I am very excited to be undertaking this study with such lovely ladies from both here in Australia and across the great watery divide we call the Pacific!
Chapter One: The Truth Hurts -
Lisa Whittle writes- "This chapter explains why we pretend, how we pretend, and why our souls crave much more."
I believe that we, as humans, pretend - are not authentic and are scared to show our true selves - because somewhere along the way from birth to the here and now, we were made to feel less about ourselves than what God wanted us to, and thus have spent, and still spend, pointless but also valuable amounts of time searching for something that God makes available to us at the drop of a hat. We decided, with our own limited human level of thinking, that other people can fill the void that only God can.
We get caught up in striving to be accepted by others that we lose sight of who we really are and should be for a quick fix. I know that I have done that over the years and it has taken me a long time, with more time to come, to forgive myself for that mistake now that I know the truth. And what truth is that? It's that we all need to get real with God.
Lisa writes that we "can't really blame us for pretending to be something we are not." I agree with that wholeheartedly. The only way we can truly know who we are is through God. We need to know what His plan is for us, so that we can know who we are in Him, which is the only way to be and feel complete.
We put our true self on hold; we hide ourselves - do the big cover-up - to "meet a need at the time to get us more of what we want when we do not believe that the truth will." Why do we do this? Why do we forego our true selves to satisfy others? It's crazy, and it's something that I know I can't do any longer.
I agree with John Eldredge, whom Lisa quotes from "The Sacred Romance", in that "if we aren't aware of our soul's deep thirst, his offering means nothing." We need to get in tune with what it is that we really need so that we can allow God to complete us through His offering, which was His only Son, and also His love for us. In saying that, forget the line from Jerry Maguire; no human being can complete you, only faith in our Heavenly Father and Jesus, who died for us, can.
We crave because we are empty on the inside. That's why the verse, "What you're after is truth from the inside out." - Psalm 51:6 (MSG), is so true. My craving is to be loved, to feel worthwhile, appreciated, wanted, valuable and valued. I sought love and acceptance from others as a means to satisfy that craving but was dealt many negative blows. I've been hurt and have the scars to show it. I put myself in danger physically and emotionally. The positives from all this, however, is that I've learnt that only God's love can satisfy my craving - my need for the "truth from the inside out". He is all I need.
After reading Proverbs 16:26 from the NLT, where it says, "It is good for workers to have an appetite; an empty stomach drives them on.", I believe that God instilled in us the desire - the emotional craving - to feel wanted and accepted thus making it possible for us to be tripped up along the way and lose our authentic selves. I may be wrong, but it's almost like it's His safeguard, a protection if you like, maybe an insurance policy, that we will yearn to seek Him more to satisfy our craving to be loved and accepted. He is all we need after all! Is it His reminder to us?
I'm reminded of the line from "Bridget Jones's Diary" where Mark Darcy says that he likes Bridget just the way she is. Wouldn't it be great if we could all go through life knowing that we were liked just the way we are. We wouldn't have to feel that because we laugh a bit too loud, take 30 seconds or more to catch up on the joke, or sometimes don't see the forest for the trees, that it's not OK; that we're still an alright person despite those foibles?!?! I know that it would make my life a lot easier if I could just do and be all these things without having to justify myself.
I like how truths have come along in my life to give me necessary wake up calls. They haven't always been initially welcome, but they have come to make me the person I am today; a better person that who I was yesterday, last week, last month, and last year. Some truths can hurt and be the "catalyst for us to become a mere shell of who we really are beneath all of the fluff", as Lisa so aptly puts it, but some truths can also be the unleashing of our true selves, which is what God wants us to be.
I long to become the authentic Paula that I know I should be. Striving to live a godly life while raising a child alone, and as well as working in a secular environment, one of the things I struggle with is maintaining consistency in being the real me, not that I entirely know who she is at this point in time, and may never really do so until I reach heaven. Who am I really? Which is my natural demeanour? I know that it's the one in which I feel most comfortable with. I do pray that God will quieten my heart, and develop a more relaxed spirit in me as that is the Paula whom I like best. I want to be Peaceful and Patient Paula, not Pithy and Petulant Paula, as I can sometimes be.
I pray that through this study, God will guide me and show me who the real Paula is. I ask that my heart, mind and spirit be open to change and truth; to be changed by truth actually; the truth from God. His truth is the only truth that matters after all.
I am thankful for and excited about this study. The first chapter has opened up my thinking channels and I'm ready to receive some new ideas. I looked at a photo of myself tonight on my page and was taken aback. I'm not sure why, but maybe it was God telling me to take a real look at my photo, to see the girl that's there. It's almost like He was saying, "This is you Paula, this is the real you and don't be surprised by that." I know He was telling me that He loves me…just the way I am.
Thank you, dear Lord, for giving me the opportunity to be involved in this study. Authenticity and being real are so very important, and especially in the lives of Christians, as we are your living and breathing examples. Thank you for the insights gained from the chapter one; and thank you for Lisa and Lelia. Without these two ladies, I would not have had it confirmed that I don't need anyone or anything except you to complete me! In Your Wonderful Name, Amen.