Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Outward Signs

We repeatedly hear in church that baptism is an outward sign of an inward decison to identify with Christ's death and resurrection to new life. We do something on the 'outside' that reflects something on the 'inside'. And yesterday we discussed that we might be reading love covers a multitude of sins and be applying it as love covers a multitude of flaws, meaning we believe that we are loved in spite of what we view to be wrong with us. Now the question is how to figure out if we are doing that.

Personally I can say that I do. How do I know? It manifests itself in outward behaviors.

If I run myself ragged trying to please everyone, 99% of the time it's not because I truly feel called to do it all, it's because I'm trying to make up for my lack.

If I refuse to acknowledge my feelings and emotions about what is truly going on inside me, it's not because I'm really okay, it's because I don't believe I am worth understanding.

And if I will not confront what has left me wounded, it's because I don't believe that whoever left the wound will be willing to acknowledge what they have done and therefore I will be perceived as a drama queen, high maintenance, or too sensitive.

Essentially, my outward actions will always display and internal decision to agree with something whether that something is the truth, a lie, or something fuzzy inbetween.

It took about three books to truly see this in myself and all that it's costing me and lots of practice to slowly start coming out of this thought process.

The cost: deeply intimate relationships based on trust....a cost I decided I was no longer willing to pay.

The practice: still ongoing. It is hard to acknowledge your feelings, especially when you believe your feelings make you flawed.

Granted there is a deep history to a lot of this. And none of it is edifying to anyone so it's not going to show up here. But what I can tell you, is that Ann Voskamp was absolutely right when she said Pain demands to be felt or will demand that you feel nothing at all. It is incredibly easy to become numb and just navigate relationships on auto-pilot. The issue is that auto-pilot continually adjusts to compensate for new situations without allowing a different or better solution to be executed.

Most recently my husband asked me what was wrong because he could tell that I was reaching a breaking point. I blurted out a host of things that were upsetting me. About 15 minutes later I asked him if the fact that I answered his question honestly was as big of a deal as I thought it was. How sad is that?

As hard as this is to digest, when we do things externally because of something we believe internally that disagrees with God, it's offensive to Him. It won't be easy to stop seeing ourselves as flawed or to even acknowledge it. But He will lead us in the everlasting way that leads us to the full life Jesus died to give us. We just need to submit our hearts to Him to pull out what He didn't put in.

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