created to create – and worship, and pray, and sing, and dance, and love, and color outside the lines

Exteriors

Sometimes, we look for something, or someone, to fix a problem, when the answer lies within us, or more precisely, with God. If I’m completely honest, too many times I seek advice and counsel from a friend, a mentor, a boss or co-worker; an affirmation, a reassurance, a loving touch or an “I’ve been there” (it feels good to hear it from a human voice)instead of leaning into what God has to say to me. Too many times, I don’t quiet myself, and listen to God saying, “I see you. I know you. You are my child. I love you. You are beautiful.” It feels better to hear it, feel it – from a human.

Too often I listen to the voices around me, or the voices in my head that say, “You messed up. You aren’t good enough. You failed. You’ll never be worthy.” Do you know what I’m talking about? Have you heard yourself saying this? Have you heard it from others? Maybe not coming from their mouths in real words, but in the undertones, and possibly what is not said?

I am so guilty of this.

We look for the quick fix, the “feel-good” moment, the friend that says exactly what we need to hear, the commiseration, and the sympathy. Or, when the situation is really bad, maybe we look for a new friend?

Someone who hasn’t heard it all before.

We want a new start, but then the painted brushstrokes of our insides, seep through to the surface, fighting through the layer of KILZ, becoming visible to the world. And we frantically try to cover the nakedness. Having someone acknowledge that “it is is okay” – even after they have seen the reality of what lies beneath the pretty exterior we have created – that is what we long for.

I don’t want the whitewash – I want someone to see ME. To know that I’m not crazy, or “reading into things too much.”

The “new”ness always wears off. And we are back to the beginnings of feeling let down. Is it a drink or a drug that we turn to in escape then? Shopping – a little retail therapy? Sports or working out? Not eating? Or eating too much? It feels good for a moment. The truth is that the freshness always wears off.

That freshness is always there with God. Always available. He won’t go tell someone else what I/you said/did. He won’t ruin your liver, or make you stupid, or in debt. He won’t be untrustworthy, or uncaring – He will only be God. And God is TRUTH and LOVE. Maybe we need to quit looking to the exterior, and even the interior – maybe we need to look for Him. In every situation. When we feel defeated, or less than, or sad, or like we screwed up. He is there to walk us through the toughest times. The very worst of it. And there is abounding GRACE – so much of it, we can’t even picture it in our little brains!

Friends are great to lean on, and I don’t discount them at all. I love my friends with my whole heart. But God should be where we go first. Because friends, husbands, wives, bosses, co-workers – all WILL disappoint us – not all of the time, but some of the time. We are human. And we all screw up. But God can’t! He is perfect. And perfect love drives out everything else!

So the next time I look for an “exterior” fix, God, will you remind me to look to you? You alone are the source and the comfort, the reason I exist, and the reason I get out of bed in the morning. No more exteriors – only God.

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