Sunday, 26 October 2008

Yes To God Tuesday - Chapter 5: Ms Spirituality...

I love how Lisa opens this chapter with the story of the bleeding woman, and I agree that Ms Spirituality would not like to have to deal with this situation. Any recognition of someone less than herself would go against Ms Spirituality’s grain. I know that Ms Spirituality means well, but after reading this chapter, and witnessing some Ms Spirituality action this week, I do wonder what on earth is going on in her mind! I think that it has a lot to do with her association with Ms Perfection, Ms Confidence and Ms Happiness. As long as her life is perfect, she is able to portray a confident woman and comes across as happy, then everything in her world is A-OK. WRONG!

I have to say that I don’t really appreciate Ms Spirituality’s zeal for all things “spiritual”. It’s very off-putting and can be a detriment to a person and their perception of the church and Christians. Lisa writes that Ms Spirituality “is determined to show people just how spiritual she is, and she knows exactly how to go about doing just that.” She is a skilled professional and I agree with Lisa in questioning “not that Ms Spirituality does these things, rather why she does these things.”

I think she does these things to continue the cover up in that although she does love God, she isn’t in tune enough with herself and her limitations to really allow God to get through the fake exterior that is her life. The Ms Spirituality theme is a continuation of the previous three chapters in "The Great Charade".

Ms Spirituality is intimidating. Having grown up going to church and being involved as a teen with Sunday school, girls rally, youth group and so on, I know what it is to serve in the church. After not going to church for almost 20 years and now attending a large church, I can see how easy it is to fall into the Ms Spirituality trap. The allure of being popular can overshadow the true purpose of attending, which is to serve God on His terms and in His way. “The problem comes when our performance of these characteristics takes precedence over the actual condition of our hearts.”

This point of note from Lisa has made me question the condition of my heart. I truly want to serve God, but I don’t want to be known as a “Ms” within the church. I don’t think I fit the mold of who Ms Spirituality is portrayed as with being a single mum, and after reading this chapter I certainly am not going to aspire to it. My spirituality is not the actions I perform in church, the groups I’m a member of, how many times I do this or that; it is how I live my everyday life and bring glory to God by what I think, say and do.

“Ironically, church is the one place we should feel the safest from judgement by our peers, yet it’s the very place we often experience the most rejection and legalism." Without going into details on this one, this quote from Lisa is right on the money. Referring back to my status as a single mum, I have felt the effects of rejection and legalism because of it. It is not a situation that I wanted to be in, but here I am, and God has a purpose for it and I am thankful to Him for where I am now, despite the hardships. I like how Lisa cites the example of the alcoholic husband in the book and I think that this is what is needed in church, and in life in general for that matter; honesty. If a person cannot come along to church, with all their insecurities and weaknesses, and failures, and feel accepted and loved, where can they go? And what sort of example is the church giving out? Ms Spirituality certainly doesn’t help in this area. It’s all pomp and ceremony to her, and that’s what the world doesn’t need when they come along to church. They need raw and open honesty, and most importantly, acceptance.

“Fortunately for all of us, spiritual perfection is not a requirement of faith in Jesus Christ." I am so far from being spiritually perfect. I mess up ALL the time, and it’s not only a daily occurrence, but an hourly one. It’s whether or not we repent and ask for forgiveness that gives us our spiritual edge, not the acts that we perform to cover our mistakes up. I am held back by my “human limitations and inadequacies”, but through God’s grace He has given me the opportunity to better myself for Him. This chapter has reminded me that I need to stop seeking to be more spiritual; I need to just go to the Source so I can feel His Spirit within me. Lisa writes that, “...our lack of spiritual perfection may be the best thing in the world for us since it reminds us that we are absolutely nothing without Christ.” There, again, is more proof of God’s safety measure/insurance policy for us. We need Him. Not as back up, but at the forefront; relying on Him at ALL times and for everything.

Being “spiritual” isn’t about what’s on the outside. It’s about what’s going on inside our hearts, our minds, and, as with the theme of the book, our souls. It requires us to “be a Jesus person.” I love that term. It’s so easy to be religious, but when I think of the word “religious” in how it’s described in the book – brushing our teeth, watching Monday night football, etc, I don’t want to be religious. I want to be a Jesus person, hence, why I am called a Christian.

Being “spiritual” is being filled with the Holy Spirit and living our everyday lives as the Holy Spirit guides us to. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how many times we go to Bible study, how many areas we serve in at church, and all the other things on the lists in the book. All that matters is the condition of our heart and whether or not we are truly in touch with the source of true spirituality and are living for Him. “True spirituality is about the awesome power of God showing up in a person’s life to the point that people around her notice the difference.”

I want people around me to notice the difference about me. I want them to see how God works in my life by how I deal with my everyday life. I do want to share how I attend church and assist in certain areas there, but I want to share what God does in my life at the grass roots level. I want them to see God’s spirit shine from inside me, not by being Ms Spirituality but by being Paula, God’s Girl, who loves Him very much for never leaving me, and who also loves Jesus very much for the sacrifice He made so I can be who I am today.

“To be spiritually minded is life and peace.” – Romans 8:6 (KJV)

I want life and I want peace, so that means I need to connect to the Source of the Spirit, not just pretend to. Thank you Lisa for the lessons learnt in Part One: The Great Charade on all the various types of women we need not be. It’s time to tackle Part Two: The Massive Cover-up...whoa!


  1. Wow, wow, wow, Paula. Awesome, girlfriend. Can't wait for your next post on this!

  2. I second the "WOW"ing! WOW! You write so well. And make everything 'work' when you use life experiences etc. Thanks for a fantastic read! Hope you're feeling much, much better.

  3. "I want people around me to notice the difference about me." I hear ya. That's what resonated in me this chapter. To be a brighter light for Him. To allow His Spirit to change and affect my heart in a way that comes out. I've noticed lately that it is very hard to personify the character of Christ when depression is always at door's edge. For me, it goes back to finding that place of peace and joy. I feel for me, it's going to be a work in progress. Maybe it should be an instaneous thing but I know it's not. I have a love for the Lord yes, but I don't have that 100% peace all that time that radiants out of me in joy.

    Thanks for sharing your heart.

    I didn't mean for my comment to go off on a tagent.

  4. Paula,
    I love your thoughts here. I hear the sincerity of your heart, and it draws me in.

    Much love,
    Lisa :)