Have you ever wondered why, in the middle of the night, you get some of the best ideas to write about, rather during the day? I asked God about this, he laughed and said, "This one is easy, I have your undivided attention at night." I just layed there and knew he had me on that one, so here I sit, with another blog to write.
I am currently in a bookstudy at Christ Anglican Church and we are reading/discussing "True Faced" by John Lynch. To sum it up, he proposes that we actually walk through life wearing masks, some of us wear lots of them, and never fully embrace our authentic, God created selves. He then goes on to explain his understanding of how to finally take the masks off, and live a life free of them, in God's grace, and the thought of that had me hooked. What makes this book even more interesting to me, is that I am reading it just after reading "Walking with God", by John Eldridge, and the two of them combined have given me a whole new perspective of what this following God thing is all about, so I share my short take of that here with you, because God decided to wake me up at 2 am and said it's important. I have learned when things like that happen, not to ignore it, he always has a greater purpose.
So, in "True Faced", the idea that most of us live in one of two rooms in life, room one being Trusting God, and room two being Performing for God, is a concept that got me thinking. As I read through the first two chapters of 'True Faced', my new understanding that God desires an intimate relationship with me, from "Walking with God", kept popping in my head, and I knew the two were relevant. You see, I believe there are two rooms, but the Trusting God room is also connected to Walking with God, and the Performing for God is also connected to lots of people Knowing who God is. They all go hand in hand. And how is that relevant?
I can only speak for myself, but the difference in living in room one rather than in room two has changed my life, in remarkable ways. I'll start by explaining what living in room two, Knowing of God and Performing for him, looks like. I was raised in a Christian home and became a Christian at the age of 10. For 41 years, I knew who God was, believed in him, went to church for the most part, read my bible at times, did good things for people, helped others, tried to set a good example, prayed, sang in the choir, loved children, taught school, always leaned toward the idea that God was in control and his will would be done. Underneath all those masks, I was depressed, sad, had screwed up relationships, and felt condemned to always live like that, but could never let anyone see it (See the pattern here?) Lots of doing,lots of numbness, but very little living, and I had little understanding of what 'walking' with God not to mention 'trusting' him really meant. Was I happy? At times, but for the most part, due to lots of reasons, I wasn't, but could never explain why. Most people saw me as happy, (mask, mask, mask), but inwardly I was pretty empty, I questioned the whole God idea and believed life was cruel and at my best I was a screw up.
Now move to room one, Trusting God and walking with him daily. This room is much harder to stay in, or even walk into. It's easy to get caught up in the doing, because I can list all the "things" I do well, right, and for God, which help make me feel like I am a good Christian. But the trust isn't there really. Walking into this room is a whole other ball of wax, because it requires that first, I am willing to take my masks off and allow God to see me for who I really am, and see myself for that matter, and then swallow the fact that I don't have the answers, he does. It's also quite humbling. I went from a doer to first, a listener and someone who chooses to talk with God as I walk through my day, and second, I DO or NOT DO the things he asks. What? I thought the doing part was in room two. It is, but it's also in room one, in a different way. In room two, for the most part, I chose what I wanted to do, the when, why, and how, with no trust part for God and my life stayed royally screwed up, at least on the inside. In room one, I first have to talk to God, and then trust him to give me the direction HE wants me to take, and often it's not what I really want to do, which is hard. But, I can tell you like I am sitting here, the times I choose to talk with and trust God, have been life changing, to the point of OMG weird, but in a really awesome God way. Let me show you what this looks like.(I listed the "Performing for God" parts earlier), here are the Walking and Trusting God parts, at least a few.
1. I spent some time loading songs on my ipod a few weeks ago and as I was talking with God about some of the songs and he said, "Make your sister a cd." Hmmm...I was like, with what, and thought how strange. So I skimmed through songs and as I came across a title that seemed to stick out like a bird singing I added each to my playlist. After about 10, I asked if these were the right ones, and as I heard a yes, I then heard, 'rearrange' them. I thought about that, and then realized the ten songs I picked out were ones that started with lyrics about being flat on your knees in despair to the last one being about being delivered and praising God. I burned the cd, wrote a message on it, and put it aside. A few hours later my sister had to stop by, unexpectedly, and this is what she said. "I wish I had some music I could listen to in the car, just for me, the girls always get my music and I need some new stuff just for me." I almost fell out of my chair. I laughed, handed her the cd, and told her to read the wrapper, it simply said, " God has a message for you." Needless to say, the impact of that message is still working, and I am still amazed and mystified about God's timing.
2. Three weeks ago God said to me, "Time to write your testimony." I was like, again, "What?" To who, what for, what testimony? He simply said write it, so nine pages later I sent it to two people to read and asked them to give me some feed back on content, having no idea what point there was to writing it really. The following week I got an email from the leader of a woman's bible study group I attend. She wanted to know if I would give my testimony before the group that next week. Once again, almost fell out of my chair laughing. I told her about the humor in her request, and she just knew it was another God thing. She also had NO idea I had written it already before she asked. God Weird, but good!
3. This blog is an interesting part of me trusting God. If you read the posts written before Jan. of this year you notice a difference in the ones written lately. Why? Well, back in March, God said to me he would use this blog to reach people he needed to reach, and my story would be an important way to reach them. At first, I was like, "What story, you can't be serious, and what about my story would make a hill of beans difference to anyone who reads it?" God said, "Your whole story is important, but I'm asking you to trust me in writing this blog, take risks for me, and trust me." So, as you can see in March, my topics have been quite, 'different' to say the least. I have written about very personal topics, took risks to share personal, tragic events in my life, that I really DIDN'T care to share here, but trusted him regardless. What I didn't expect was the overwhelming response this blog would have on some people. (And I humbly say this, not trying to toot my horn at all) I have met people from all over the world, some atheists who don't believe in God, but choose to read my blog, and even met one person online, who I have never seen, who honestly was considering ending her life, but because of God's message that she is not alone, that there are actually people out there that understand her pain, she is actually still breathing and walking the Earth. I could go on and on about how these words impact people, but that's not the point. The words aren't mine, they are God's. If he told me to write fairy tales at this point I would, because even though I don't quite understand why he would ask me to do these things, he does, and that's the point really, Trusting God, Walking with him intimately, and living an authentic life like I never thought possible.
I wish I could say all of God's requests were easy but, honestly, sometimes, he tells me no, don't go there, and even in those times I see the impact of what the other choice would have been like, and I am grateful, regardless of the hurt I might feel, that I trusted him.
So,living in room one really isn't easy. It's actually the HARDEST way I have ever lived, because the evil powers that exist in this world are none too happy when I choose to stay in that room. It's much harder for them to get to me there. Oh, they try, they try so hard I often feel like I am being run over by a bus, and I often question when can I come up for air. But at the end of the day, when I close my eyes and talk to God about the whole deal, we laugh, he tells me how proud he is of me, how loved I am, and sometimes he simply puts his arms around me and helps hold me up. That type of trusting and following God I get, hook, line, and sinker. The other type, am I on enough committees, volunteering enough at church, keeping up with enough prayer lists, going to church enough, etc. will never be the type of life I believe God intended for me to live. (And I am in NO way dissing working at church. I am simply saying, are you 'doing' lots of things for God or asking and trusting him if you should be? He may want you writing a blog like me, rather than teaching Sunday school, my point is, ask him, that's all.) And the more I talk to him about it, the more he wants you to know the same thing, RUN TO ROOM NUMBER ONE! He has a hug and lots of love waiting for you there.
For those of you who read this blog and go, "Nobody talks to God or hears his voice, she must be nuts," let me explain. After 41 years one of my first prayers to God was that would he communicate with me in a way I would understand and would he please have a sense of humor? Ever since, we have a unique line of communication going that I can't explain, but honestly don't try to. It is what it is. I would challenge you that if you struggle with praying and feel that you never hear back from God, maybe change your prayer a bit. First ask him what I did. I can't say you will get the same result, I really have no clue, but what do you have to lose by asking?
The two books listed above are simply MUST reads for anyone wishing to walk through this life with a relationship with God and one with your true self. They are part of a bigger story of how my life has shifted, but I can't say enough about the impact they have had on me. All because those authors took risks and wrote the words God gave them. I'll be looking for you in room one, we are a humbled, messed up bunch, but filled with lots of love and acceptance.
A few AWESOME verses about the trust issue:
and renew a right  spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
and sinners will return to you.