Lessons From Along the Way
Recently, I was talking about someone's spirituality, and said, "You can't serve two masters, and sooner or later, you have to choose." I was talking about a personal matter that me, and my family have been praying about , and there was no malice in my statement. Just the facts, ma'am.
Having said that, let me take you back a couple of weeks when the Lord started speaking to me about authenticity. It seemed that everywhere I turned, the word "authentic" was there. I started to pray that the Lord reveal to me what He wanted me to learn. I knew that He had His big, giant flashlight - peering into my heart, getting ready to illuminate some dark area I had in there. I could feel that light, and it's a bit scary! He assured me that I was ready, and I'd asked for it, after all, so I held my breath and went deeper.
It was then that I made the statement about serving two masters that I mentioned earlier. That was when the big flashlight blinked on and shone in a way that I could not ignore. Yep, I'd asked for revelation, and boy, did I get it. Let me tell you, it was not about the person we've been praying for either. It was me.
I felt like one of those cartoon characters wagging their head back and forth, trying to get my thoughts back in order! Wait, what?! I'm a child of God! I've been redeemed! Just ask me - I'll tell you all about it! I serve the One true God - authentically and singularly.....um....er...right up until I don't. BAM. There it was, right there in that pesky light.
It was then that I got another word - duality. Going deeper still, I started praying some more, and asking what I was supposed to do with this word? Off to my dictionary I went to learn more, but it didn't show me anything I didn't already know. I, then, went to my thesaurus, and what I found there stopped me in my tracks. There were words in there like, faithlessness, dishonesty, falsehood, and that dreaded word most Christians hate - hypocrisy. Ok, God, did you have to go there? Surely, you can't be talking about me again?
I truly believe that our God has a sense of humor. I believe this because of a lot of things, such as - have you ever paid attention to a duck walking? It's funny! I've seen a squirrel hang upside down in a tree and fuss at two snarling German Shepherds. That was very funny! (Unless you were the German Shepherd). I say this because I had a picture in my mind of my Lord having a good chuckle of the look on my face when all of this hit home for me. I imagine I looked like I'd just smelled something really bad.
Duality - faithlessness, dishonesty, falsehood and hypocrisy. I had to let that sit and marinate in my soul. In my quest to be a good little Christian, I never saw myself as any of these things. It made me very uneasy. I live under God's mercy and grace, so where did all this come from? How can any of these words (especially the hypocrisy word!) have anything to do with my walk with the Lord? In prayer, this is what He was showing me.
I'm a different person to different people. That's the duality. I'm the old, raucous, potty mouthed Joy around friends who've known me for a long time. I gossip. I laugh and talk about things I know are not pleasing to God. I can be mean and selfish. Unmerciful and unforgiving. Around my side of the family - my sister, and my parents mostly, I hide my faith. I don't talk about it, and I don't let them see the change in me. I'm the redneck wild child to my sister, and the rebellious, independent woman I want my parents to see me as. Funny and fearless.
I pray for these people, yes I do - a lot, but because I'm not being my authentic self, am I really being a hypocrite? By not sharing the change Christ has made in me, am I denying them maybe the only opportunity to see His salvation up close? And just why do I do that? Why do I feel the need to be false and dishonest with the people who are supposed to love me? Also, why am I afraid of what they think anyway?? After all, I'm the one who preaches, "You do you, boo", and "They'll get over it, or die mad!", and the ever rant, "I don't give a rat's butt what people think of me!"
It looks like I care after all. Sure, around my spiritual family I'm free to be me. I can sing, and praise and talk about how glorious our God is all day long. Even with strangers, I can witness with the best of them. I'll talk the ears off any stranger that'll stand and listen. I'm all about it....right up until I'm out of my comfort zone. Then I revert right back to the mess I just got through telling someone God saved me from.
When the giant God flashlight got through shining the light on that particular dark corner of my heart, I was speechless and humbled. I've been talking the talk, and walking the walk, but only when it's been an easy stroll. I know that when I talk about God to other Christians, I can count on acceptance and encouragement. We're on the same page of the same book, and it's a comfort.
But what would happen if I share Jesus with people who've known the old Joy, and liked her just the way she was? What will happen if I encounter resistance and challenges? Where's my faith that the Lord will give me the words, the patience and the strength I'll need? What if they don't like me anymore? What if they call me names??
I asked the Lord to reveal Himself to me. I asked for a deeper relationship and understanding of Him. We hear about the joy and peace of the Lord, but maybe not so much about the hard lessons. God gave me a hard lesson here, and it started with the words, "authenticity", and "duality". I was only authentic when it was easy, and because of that, I was living with dual personalities - serving two masters. I, too, cannot serve tow masters, and while I was talking about some else, God was talking to me.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry. I didn't want to see myself that way. It's not who the Lord wants me to be, and if I ask Him to shape me, then I have to be mature enough to accept His perfect guidance. I've repented and asked for help in this area. He's brought me this far.....so, let's continue the journey!
Walk on, folks!
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