For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

So Why Do We Not Tell the Truth?

My Dear J,

You ask a very good question: why are we afraid to be honest about what is going on in our hearts?

I think there are a few answers.

First, there is the fallen state of humanity. We fear rejection, that people won't understand, and gossips. We fear looking weak and like failures. Pride is an ugly silencer and a silent prison that most people don't realize they live in.

Second, I think it is devalued in the church because of a theology of false holiness. We are part of a culture that focuses on how things look and not on how things really are. As God told Samuel in the Old Testament, "Man looks at the appearance, but God looks at the heart."

We have a church atmosphere that thinks there is some kind of holiness in denial, so they hold up posters of verses like Jeremiah 29:11 and tell us that God has great plans for us but then totally ignores the hard road we must walk to reach those promises, or they toss out Hebrews 11:1 about faith being certain of what we do not see, but then dismiss the pain of the circumstances, broken relationships, and nightmares that we do see.

I have walked both roads: the one that verbally denies the hard so I can look like a woman of faith and the one that spends time daily on my knees before God confessing my struggles in the waiting for the good and the promised, and I am telling you, God is not afraid of honest hearts.

I agree with what Fr. James said in our conversation, and I wish I could remember his exact words because he said it so beautifully. People seem to have this idea that God find humanity repulsive, but in truth, He values it and finds joy in it. After all, He created us in His own image and He did take human form to redeem us. He isn't ashamed of our frailties. Instead, somehow this perfect God finds those frailties beautiful and endearing.

In believing that God finds us repulsive, we have construed that to mean he finds our emotions repulsive, too, and that isn't true. He did not put anything repulsive into us. A perfect God cannot place repulsive elements into His creation. When sin entered the world, emotions became warped as our sense of identity and value was warped, but our perfect God made our emotions to be perfect roads to Him. Hosea tells us He draws us forth with cords of human kindness. That is an emotional response. We are told in Psalm that what a man wants is unfailing love. That is emotion. It is an emotion that led Father God to put Christ on the cross in the first place. Surely it was not a logical choice. Logically speaking, why would anyone die for an enemy that might still hate him anyway? He wouldn't, but a God of great compassion and love would.

God does not fear our emotions because He knows what they really do.

They reveal our need for Him.

When my heart was broken from loss, the Lord did not see a woman void of faith. He saw a daughter in need of comfort and peace that only He could give. My pain was a place for Him to reveal so many facets of His love. I have said it before, and I will say it again: All the horrible pain I endured allowed me to see God in ways I could have never seen Him otherwise, and in Him, I see beauty I had never imagined.

I wonder sometimes if the lack of adoration for the Lord in the church culture is a result of our own rejection of ourselves, our humanity, and our emotions.

If we refuse the truth of our emotions, we refuse to see his love in response to them.

When we refuse to let Him see our deepest heart, how can find see how totally relevant He is to our every need?

I believe it is our effort to show Him how good we are that keeps us from seeing how utterly amazing He is.

When we choose to believe that a better external world will fix our internal reality, we choose to make him irrelevant. His goal was never to fix the world. It was always to reach our hearts, and until we honestly lay our hearts before Him, we will never know how honestly relevant He is.

You asked me, dear friend, how we can be saturated with churches and be so void of God. I think it is a false theology of holiness that tells us to fake it until we make it, except that we are told either we really don't have to make it because God loves us right where we are or we can't be honest about where we are without risk of God not loving us. Really, aren't they saying the same thing? A God who desires holiness has to love you without question because if He chooses to see anything unholy in you He can't possibly love you. Both are a lie.

A holy God can and does love despite our unholy ways, but He loves us enough to lead us to the way of holiness.

Unfortunately, when we refuse to honestly see and embrace who we are, we make it impossible to honestly see and embrace who He is.

In our culture we are taught to be really courageous, but, my friend, if you want to find the real God, I would tell you to be courageously real. He isn't afraid of your honest mess, and you don't need to be afraid of letting Him into your mess.

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