“Your reality is like good medicine” were the words of a song which I woke up to on repeat in my mind. And then the song turned into a thoughts about a challenging “reality” moment I encountered with my daughter a couple Sunday’s back.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were stil ltrying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
I was having somewhere between a teaching and all out frustration moment as I went over the “do’s and don’ts” church etiquette with my 7 year old daughter. Do-“stand when everyone stands during the worship songs.” Don’t-“Drink your tea during worship time.” Do-“Sing the words to the songs.” Don’t-“Talk to your friend.” Don’t-“Go to the bathroom.” Do-“Close your eyes during the prayer.”
Check. Did my good Christian motherly duties. At the time, basking in what felt to be some amazing “training up my daughter in God’s Ways”, I held my head a little higher than before. Our family row was looking. Good. (Oh and nothing could be wrong with this, “I’m too good for my britches”, scene.) We were doing all the right things, at the right time, in the right way.
At this point, by the grace of God I was able to step off my pedistle and look down for one moment. And I smiled. Differently. Deeper. Better. Truer. Than before. Because my smile this time wasn’t based on how other’s would see us. Or how my daughter was responding positively to forced “do’s and don’ts”. It was based on what I witnessed as I watched my 7 year old daughter respond with spontaneous/made up motions to the worship song we were singing.
I sang “Jesus paid it all”- her arms elongated out so wide her face was stretching right along with them. I sang, “All to Him I owe”-her hands moved crazily all around in a circular form. I sang, “Sin had left a crimson stain”-her clinched fists on her heart and face in despair. And finally, “He washed me white as snow”-her clenched fists opened fiercely and broke open. Freedom. In. Jesus.
This was an act of authenticity and freedom in my daughter and her relationship with God. She was doing her own thing. She was responding to Him. Not because of what anyone told her to do. Not because of what would “look good” to those around. Simply because she was being herself. With her loving Father. And loving every. minute. of. it.
5 questions to test your authenticity in your relationship with God and others
- What are my motives in making decisions? What is your process you go through when saying “yes” to a particular commitment, activity, decision? Does it involve weighing in how other’s will respond to you or think of you if you say “no”? Does it involve what you will get out of it selfishly or what you might get in return if you do it? If so, you are not being true to yourself, them, or your God. Respond with “yes” only in obedience to your Master God, who is the only one you are serving.
- Do my actions match my words? We want to not only speak truth in love to others, but show it as well. Are you the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting friend or just a nice voice over the phone?
- When was the last time you “made a fool of yourself” for Jesus? Following our God is risky and when we step out in faith/out of our comfort zone we don’t always respond in a typical, earthly standard sort of way. If we are never “looking strange or making strange decisions” in the eyes of the world, we are probably living more by sight than by faith.
- What does your time with God look like? If it is a “going through the motions” based on “checking off” the list of devotion, bible reading, prayer based on self imposed or other’s imposed rules and standards, it may be time to mix things up a little. Maybe it’s time to be spontaneous with God and “bust out some motions to the worship songs” or go on a coffee date or walk in nature or spend time with Him doing what you love to do with a friend. Take time this week to get out of the “box” and do something new with Jesus.
- What am I afraid to approach God about? If you can answer this genuinely, then you are at a great place. Because the cool thing is He already knows about this and wants to love you/help you through it. He always in “gentle, gracious and humble”.
“Reality is like good medicine” my friends (in which I always seem to find out the hard way of pride coming before a fall.) But if we allow our loving God to search and test our hearts and motives and come to a place of repentance for our yucky stuff, then we will live in that sweet spot. We live in the reality of our song from above, “Sin had left a crimson stain”-meaning we all are sinners, but we have hope because… “He washed us white as snow” through His death on the cross. The Holy Spirit gives us the balming medicine to “lead us into all truth” about how we can have “more of Him and less of me”. Don’t resist this reality and good medicine He offers! The more we lean into the reality of who we are and why we NEED Jesus, the more freedom, peace and joy we will experience. The more abundant life and purpose filled living we will walk in. May your day today be one in which you run to the arms of your loving. heavenly. Father. And may you run with grace to Truly. be. yourself.
© 2012 Standing on Peace