Tag Archives: truth

Let there be Light (Or, maybe NOT.)

I was warned. I knew it was coming, I just didn’t properly estimate how dark the impending darkness was going to be.

We never do.

I had received a letter from our electric company telling us there was going to be a power outage on an upcoming date, from about 11:00 p.m. to around 5:00 a.m. (You know, give or take a few hours.) That would have been fine and dandy except this particular night we were going to be getting up at 3:30 in the morning to get ready to catch a plane. (Not the most optimal time to have a power outage.)

Since there was a chance the power would come back on right before we’d be leaving, and being the extreme type-A, exceptionally organized, need-to-be-prepared person that I am, I made my mental list of things we’d need to do before we left our house if we were so fortunate to regain power: reset the sprinkler system with the proper time, reset the automatic light timers, and so forth. I felt quite proud of my dang self.

Except I forgot one thing.

It didn’t dawn on me until right before my alarm went off that I would be waking up to complete darkness. And then showering in complete darkness. And then putting on my makeup in complete darkness. And then finishing my packing in complete darkness.

There wasn’t a lick of moon-shine to be seen. Not even a sliver.

It was a scream. Literally.

The instant I woke up, I freaked out and stared into the blackness before me in complete horror. Makeup in the dark???? In my sleep deprived state, I couldn’t think of anything worse.

Thank goodness for cell phones because they have this handy-dandy flashlight so you can see three inches in front of you. Thank goodness for brilliant dad’s, because they give their daughter’s killer flashlights that are so powerful, they’ll burn your retinas if they make it three inches from your eyes. And thank goodness I love candles, because I have about fifteen in my bathroom.

It was with these multiple sources of light that I did my best to wash up and beautify my anxious self. The kicker was, they worked quite well. Actually, a little too well.

Have you ever held a flashlight right up to your face in front of a magnified mirror? Talk about a literal scream. Every flaw, every wrinkle, every…well, you fill in the blank. I was even more mortified than when I had first awakened and thought I wouldn’t be able to see myself at all.

But that’s what light does. It reveals.

On the plane ride to New Orleans, it got me thinking…How much light am I willing to shed on my insides? To what extent do I want to see the truth about who I am? Do I typically use candlelight or am I willing to withstand a burn-your-retinas-out kind of light?

Seems to me we all have a choice as to how much light we’re willing to engage with, the primary one for Christ-followers being God’s Word…

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105

But there are other great sources of light as well: podcasts, churches, personal growth books, friends who are cool enough to be honest with you…

All of them wonderful. Except, there’s a catch:

Did you know you can read the Bible and never use it to expose your flaws so you can make some much-needed adjustments? (The Pharisees were great at this.) Or go to church once in a while but never get involved enough to let it change you? Or be in a small group but never be authentic enough to let others know the real you?

It’s interesting. I always had a handy-dandy flashlight on my phone, and the super-cool one my dad bought me that’s in my nightstand, but I had never held either of them up to my face before.

I had never let the light get close enough to reveal my unique imperfections.

And more than that, the more light I held up to my face, the more imperfections I saw. (Yahoo.) And I realized something through all of this: that it’s not a matter of whether we’re living in the “light” or the “darkness,” but just how much light are we willing to have shed on us…

Some of us content living our lives by candlelight that makes us look good no matter what; some of us braving light that could fry our eyes out; and others of us at various places in between.

Personally, as painful as it is, I don’t want to live fooling myself. After all, we only have one life; no do-overs, no dress-rehearsals.

I want the kind of light that shows me what needs to be changed – so that it can be changed.

So bring on the Word. Bring on the podcasts, awesome friends, books, and every other fry-your-eyes-out kind of light. I’m ready to use them to my advantage; I hope you are too. :)

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Putting Your Feelings in Time-Out

I’ve been sick since last Friday. Really sick. The kind of sick that makes you wonder if you’re ever going to be normal again – whatever “normal” is. Right now, I honestly can’t imagine what it would feel like to have a normal size throat, instead of sporting ginormous, fire-engine-red tonsils with lungs that seem to delight in producing unreasonable amounts of phlegm. I know; yuk.

I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have energy. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to not be in constant pain or discomfort. It feels like it’s going to be this way forever.

How quickly we forget.

As I sit here typing this blog with my ice-cold Diet Sierra Mist companion to comfort me, I can’t help but think of all of the times in my life when I felt like something was never going to change – even though a billion other times in the past had already proven otherwise.

  • I felt like I was never going to get over my divorce and be really happy again.
  • I felt like I could never be free from my financial situation.
  • I felt like I was always going to have “hang-ups” in certain areas of my life.

My feelings made me forget what was truth. They have an uncanny way of doing that.

One of the greatest things I have ever learned is that my feelings aren’t there to represent truth. They just are.

Not only that, but focusing on feelings can actually perpetuate bad situations because we are reacting to false “realities;” and so we go round-and-round, never getting to the bottom of things. Maybe that’s why the Bible has so much to say about focusing on truth – how it sets us free and how we should always strive to live by it. Funny, I can’t think of one place in the Bible where it says we are to go by our feelings. Not one.

What a revelation! This means . . .

  • If we wake up feeling down we don’t have to accept those feelings as truth and run with them.
  • If we’re feeling angry at someone, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve done anything wrong.
  • If we’re feeling overly excited about doing something it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right thing to do.   Hm . . .

I often tell young adults who are struggling with a decision that there is a fundamental difference between a child and an adult. A child makes decisions based on how they feel. An adult does not. To be honest? I think there are a lot of children living in adult bodies. I should know; I was one of them.

Thank goodness, I grew up some. For the most part, I’ve learned to overrule my feelings. They no longer get a say-so on how I behave or the decisions I make; I’m not afraid to put them on the shelf when they need a time-out.

Overriding our feelings is not an easy thing to do, believe me. I think in biblical terms, we might call it “dying to self.” I can’t think of any time when dying would feel good. But the birth of a new and better person afterward sure does make it worth it!

Do your decisions tend to be more feeling-driven or truth-driven? Do you strive for knowing truth and letting it guide your actions or do you let your feelings take over? Tell me the truth, now . . .