Wednesday, February 12, 2014

See Through - Part 2 (from the Archives)

Last week I talked about our tendency to live "fake" lives in an effort to put up the facade of perfection that culture seems to call us to.

If we're honest, sometimes we feel freedom in wearing these masks, hiding who we really are. But is that really freedom? How can we start living see-through lives? Becoming free from the "fake" starts in being content with who you are.

Being content with who you are is much easier to
say than it is to love. Contentment is very difficult to find and keep. Trying to put on the air of perfection and "fitting in" with culture or community can sometimes limit our freedom. We can become prisoners of our own choices.

Remember last week we talked about how our feelings of insecurity can cause us to:

  • Embellish our accomplishments at work. This creates the pressure to continue embellishing to impress our peers. (aka as lying and building on lies and we know what a tangled web that can be!)
  • Go into debt to get that house or car to "keep up." We find ourselves so strapped for cash that it adds undue stress on our marriage and families. We feel the weight of a responsibility we are not capable of handling on our own.
  • Faking our spiritual depth.
  • Shying away from opening our homes to others because we don't want anyone to see what we don't have or how we live.
All of these things can imprison us and limit our freedom.

What is the solution? Contentment. Ah...again, easier said than done.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11 - "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." Paul faced public stoning, beatings, and imprisonment and that's just touching the surface. Yet somehow, we found contentment.

I would admit that early on in our marriage that Kari Jo and I felt the pressure to "keep up with the Joneses." It's only by the grace of God that we didn't get in over our heads with debt. But our desire to have the things that the people around us had could easily consume our thoughts and time and before we knew it jealousy and envy crept in and had the potential to damage relationships with those around us.

How do we find the contentment Paul speaks of?
  • Contentment comes with practice. It takes the determination to capture every thought and reframe it, realizing that there are blessings in your life. They might be different than you'd prefer, but they are there nonetheless. (There's also the other side of things...when we are envious of what others have, what's the liklihood that they are imprisioned by some of their own choices and the "perfection" you see in them is really just a mask? My guess...100% certainty.) The grass is always greener on the other side? It might do some good to stop and look down and see that you're grass is just as green, maybe just a shade different.
  • Throw off the "fakeness" that hinders you. I love Hebrews 12:1-2 - Therefore,since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw offeverything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us runwith perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, theauthor and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured thecross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • Remember that you are God's masterpiece created to do what He has prepared for you, not what He's prepared for someone else to do. Forwe are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which Godprepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).

Let me leave you with this challenge...give living a see-through life a shot. Determine to not care what others think. It's not going to be easy at first, but I can assure you there is great freedom to be found!
This post originally appeared on this blog on September 5, 2012

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