If I want my doctor to help me with something, I have to tell her what’s wrong. I have to reveal things about myself that might not be so pretty. If I want a counselor to assist me in regaining wholeness, I have to be gut honest about myself, my family, my past, whatever, in order for him/her to get to the root of the problem and show me how to resolve it. Without a willingness to be fully open or totally honest, I’ll just be getting band-aid solutions that don’t fully get rid of the real problem. The symptoms might go away for a while but they’ll be back, and maybe even more ferociously than before.
It’s not easy. Probably the biggest obstacle is my pride. Why would I want to show someone else something ugly or flawed about myself? How embarrassing. What will they think? How will I feel about myself? Who wants to admit a glaring weakness to someone else and show that I don’t have it all together? I might even appear hypocritical.
This weekend our church is a part of a consultation to help us evaluate ourselves and grow. One step toward growth, integrity, and becoming more like Jesus is being willing to see truthfully who we are and/or what we have become, admit it is true and be ready to submit to God’s molding, reshaping, and pruning. It’s as if He’s holding up his big supernatural mirror and we’re seeing the big picture like we haven’t before. John and I met with the consultation team last night. Before we went in I felt a little like I did back in school days thinking I had to see the principal. They weren’t there to judge us or condemn us, but they were there to ask us the hard questions, to get us to open up our eyes anew to see ourselves more honestly. They wanted to hear our hearts. Even though some of what we talked about had us squirming a bit from embarrassed realization, I know it’s key. What good could we do for God if we just continue on in a false idea of who we are and what we’re doing? Or…if we continue on not really doing or being what God desires but not willing to face the music?
It makes me think of Alcoholics Anonymous. Before a person can participate in the 12-step program to be free of addiction to alcohol and be sober, they have to be willing to admit their problem. They have to stand up in front of the other people and say “Hello, my name is ______ and I’m an alcoholic.” Well, I feel as if I need to stand in front of God and my fellow church family and say “Hello, my name is Mimi and I’ve cared more about myself than people who aren’t saved. I’ve gotten caught up in doing church and enjoying my church family so much that I haven’t made the effort to make non-Christian friends and invite them to church. I’ve been guilty of valueing comfort over risk-taking and reaching out to people I don’t know who might not know Jesus.”
I have to admit it! I’m not beating myself up or getting melodramatic but I have to get it out there so God can chop it off and I can be used for the purpose He originally intended for me. John and I have our share of weaknesses but I also believe God gave us the personalities and gifts we have for a reason. We don’t want to cheapen what God’s given us by cringing and covering our eyes when he holds up His mirror to our hearts. What may be a painful realization of what’s really there is worth it if it will lead us to pleasing God more, doing more good for God’s kingdom, and fulfilling his purpose for us.
My church family has to decide whether or not to open eyes wide and take in all that God is showing us, the good, bag and ugly. I see so many loving people. I think I’m loving, too! I do think, though, that we’ve been numbed by time, weariness, surviving, and our human tendency to want to be comfortable.
The beautiful truth is that God won’t leave us there. He loves us – He loves His Church! He isn’t finished with us….individually or as congregations of believers. He has good plans and wants us to be a part of what He’s doing to restore people, heal people, repair broken hearts and lives, and lead them back to Him. I’m praying for John and myself, and for all my church friends and family. We’ve got to stand firm, eyes wide open, and take it, owning up to ALL that God is showing us, and then watch Him work His wonders among us and through us. “Hello, our name is [my church]. We’re not perfect, we’ve forgotten our mission and gotten a little sidetracked but we want to be what you want us to be, God! Heal us, help us, teach us, lead us, forgive us, correct us, love us.”