Um, Excuse Me, but Your Pants are on Fire

For the most part, we all agree that dishonesty is wrong. Sometimes it is easier…but it is almost always wrong. The one scenario I used to think/ask about as a kid was, “Well, what if I’m like the people that hid Corrie Ten Boom and her family. What if I lied to the Nazis and said “no, there are no Jews here.” It’s ok then, right?”

Well, I have yet to encounter a “lives are hanging in the balance” crisis of faith. So far in my life , lying has always been the wrong choice, and I believe that has likely been the case for you as well. What scares me most (aside from my own lack of self-control) is the lies we tell ourselves.

As an old maid in the church (come on its true. Over 23 and not married…or even engaged?!), as a woman and as an individual…I have struggled with and fought off some lies of my own. Things like: “no one wants me”, “I’m not cool enough to talk to her”, “I’m invisible”, “I’m ugly/unlovely”, “God can’t use me now”, “There’s nothing special about me.”

Now that I know who I am and whose family I’m a part of…I have chucked a lot of those things away from me. Since I have experienced the freedom of a true identity, I have become indignant–upset that I missed out for so long, angry that there are women all over the world believing the same lies that have been used on me. The truth must be made known.

Just typing that gets my jaw set and my heart pounding. But that personal struggle and passion is actually not what inspired this post.

Above I shared a few examples of lies we tell ourselves that are entirely derogatory and painful. Below, I’d like to highlight lies we tell ourselves that are actually… convenient. As much as the derogatory lies get my fired-up, I genuinely believe that the convenient lie is definitively and eternally more dangerous.

As much as the derogatory lies get my fired-up, I genuinely believe that the convenient lie is more eternally dangerous.

The following are verses that popped out to me over the course of the week as I read 1st John chapter by chapter:

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 1 John 1:6

Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 1 John 2:4

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 1 John 4:20

We like to grab at identity.
I eat kale…therefore, I’m a health nut.
I take selfies with my starbucks drink…therefore I’m a basic white girl.
I like Star Wars…therefore, I’m a nerd.
OR on the flip side…
I’m not girly…therefore, I won’t wear makeup or jewelry…because that’s what “not girly” apparently means.
I’m not outgoing…therefore, I will be super awkward and avoid people to reinforce how “not outgoing” I am.

I’m here to tell you that ONE thing does not determine your identity.  Stop pigeon-holing yourself.  Our personalities are multi-faceted. We are complex creatures. Let’s be ok with that. Let’s not oversimplify who we are.

Now comes the responsibility…
If we truly intend to be a Christ-follower, we must realize that that is complex too. Saying one prayer doesn’t solidify your identity. Sitting in church doesn’t fulfill the requirements. Using the lingo doesn’t make you legit.

Rather, we must LIVE in a way that is consistent with the nature of God.
We must walk in truth.
We must walk in obedience.
We must walk in love.

If we do not do these things and yet have convinced ourselves that we have relationship with God, that we know him, or that we love him… we are committing the most dangerous error.

We are lying to our self.

The problem is, we often haven’t taken the time to examine ourselves. Do it today. Take a microscope to your life. Are you lying to yourself? Are you walking in truth, obedience, and love. Do you know that truth? Are you listening for chances to obey? Are you loving your family with your actions towards them?

Today is the day. Put out the fire. And while you’re at it…please pass the hose.

Riches are Meaningless

I know I’ve touched on this topic briefly before, but last night I was struck be a stark contrast between two of my patients here in the states. This will be a little trickier as I cannot give names or specific details, but stick with me.

Let me start from the beginning and give an update first. I found and started work about 2 months after returning from Madagascar. I happen to be working in the surgery and trauma population. I was surprised how fast I got back into the swing (or mad rush I should say) of American nursing. Call lights and alarms echo in my head when I return home to my quiet house, where I live alone. It’s just me, birds chirping outside, and bells ringing inside.

I’m not going to lie, it’s been nice to share a language with my patients. What still continues to frustrate me however, is lack of health literacy. I’m not an advocate of using the internet to diagnose yourself, but for God’s-sake if you HAVE a diagnosis, research it! Find reputable sources, read articles, join support groups, read a book! I should not have to tell a long-diagnosed diabetic that sugars/carbs are not good for you or will spike your glucose level. Ugh. We have the world at our fingertips on our little cellular devices, but we’d rather use it snapping our friends and watching endless videos on Facebook. Entertainment, entertainment, entertainment.

Anyways, I digress. That example was not specific to a particular patient, but it happens. What touched me about the two patients I mentioned had nothing to do with their health status.

The first was a veteran and a working man. He got sick far from home, but still had the warmest demeanor. He wasn’t anything special to look at, but I was always happy to go chat with him. I found out that his family was traveling (a pretty long distance) to come see him and just be with him. He slept for most of my shift.

The second was a business man that had amassed quite a bit of wealth for himself. But he was…a grouch…and a lost soul. He was divorced from his wife, estranged from his daughter (literally hasn’t seen her in decades), and only has one remaining son that stays in contact. He didn’t sleep a wink. His plea to the doctor during early morning rounds? “Don’t forget me, doc.” If that isn’t a statement that stems from a deep inner wound, I don’t know what is.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-13

Whoever loves money never has enough;
    whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
    This too is meaningless.

11 As goods increase,
    so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owners
    except to feast their eyes on them?

12 The sleep of a laborer is sweet,
    whether they eat little or much,
but as for the rich, their abundance
    permits them no sleep.

13 I have seen a grievous evil under the sun:
wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners,

If I’ve learned one thing from being in Africa it is this. Family first. Family always. Wealth and/or pride in your ability to amass it, will never fill the space that is left behind when families are torn apart. In the second man I saw pride, but no peace. Accomplishment, but no relationships. A bank full of savings, but a heart full of regrets.

I’m not sure that neither patient was a Christian, but one had an abundance of life that glimmered in his eye and lit up his face. I wanted to be around him.
Please, please, please…examine your priorities in life. Impoverished Africans are not happy because they’re just “so grateful.” They’re happy because they are already rich.