I am going to date myself. Do you remember the song from the 70s, sung by Roberta Flack, “Killing Me Softly?”
Have you ever felt like someone has been reading your journals and is talking to YOU or, worse — others— about what is there? Or that someone knows even the unspoken, unwritten…maybe unspeakable things in your heart…is bringing them to the surface…exposing you?
That is how I felt last weekend when I spent some time watching video Session Two of Stepping Up by Beth Moore.
Beth was in my home via my laptop and Windows Media Center. The morning was quiet – sunlight flooding my bedroom through the tree-framed, glass door. My golden retriever (psycho) dog was earnestly standing guard to prevent the reflections and shadows from causing any harm. All normal things, on normal mornings…
As Beth drew me in to the video session focusing on the Feast of Unleavened Bread and its applicability to my life, rather than Don McLean (who “Killing Me Softly” was written about), it was the Lord who was “strumming my pain with his fingers, singing my life with his words, killing me softly with His song…”
How did she know? How did Beth know that, like the symbolic gesture of holding back a little bit of “dough from a former baking,” I, too, had been holding something back, not ridding myself of ALL the yeast in my life. Like the fermented dough “hidden” in the flour, this tiny little bit seemed so harmless…but it had been working its way through everything, affecting all of it…
From the human, worldly perspective, from all outward appearances, I, Heidi Bylsma, have been a “Thin Within Success Story.” (Can you hear the tooting of the proverbial horns!?) In fact, my “success” has been proclaimed from the rooftops — literally, even in a national magazine. With more on tap this summer…
Mud on my face!
FIRST magazine ran a feature last December.
To add to my chagrin (the timing is oh-so-interesting), the July/August issue of Health magazine will include an article on “Mindful Eating,” including possibly a paragraph about my testimony with Thin Within. Quick and Simple’s August issue may have a feature on yours truly…(unless the Lord says otherwise, and He may…) Announcing yet again, “Here I am world!” “Look at me!” “God has done a new thing in me!” (More tooting of those horns…the head getting ever larger…)
Yet here I sit as I type this entry, wearing my “skinny jeans,” wondering if these well-worn, well-used, Levi 550s have *shrunk* some more (hmmm….no, I don’t imagine so after being washed at least 100 times!). Yes, they feel uncomfortably snug around the waist. :-/ But worse, there is a knowing that:
I am not as I claim.
When did I let it become all about the outside—even while claiming it was about so much more? When did it stop being about GOD and being about ME?
I was challenged in my Beth Moore Stepping Up lesson yesterday, too. Have I begun to trust more in God’s blessings than in God himself?
The “package” may look so different than it did in 2006, but the lusts are still there! (Or are there — again!) I may not indulge them as often as I used to, but in so many ways the “inner me” feels like it is still in need of being transformed by the renewing of my mind. I guess it does. *I* do.
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me…
The out-of-the-blue realization that I am blatantly something other than what I intentionally lead people to believe followed an email exchange with a dear friend…where I claimed (again) to live with integrity. I alleged that I would never do something hidden. I claimed to be authentic, genuine, what-you-see-is-what-you-get. “And durn proud of it, too…” (Toot toot toot…)
If these things are true, then why, when Beth began to speak about “hidden hypocrisy,” did I feel so exposed? Why did I want to hide? (Hmm…a pattern emerges.)
Would I really want anyone who reads this blog, or my church friends, or my family to know me? What I am thinking? What I am…eating? Would I want any of those who “admire” me, “respect” me, who feel I am an “inspiration,” to see that the scale has nudged up in recent weeks? To know about the vacancy of my prayer life?
And what is with ME ME ME making a You Tube video talking about the three phases of Thin Within and speaking about “discernment” and “mastery” — phase 2 and phase 3 — when I live SOLIDLY in phase 1…not just some of the time, but most of the time…without any desire to even let God change me? “God will remake your tastebuds!” Well, good grief. I sure can preach it, but there it is again…faith is seen in what I DO and what I DO says I do NOT believe what I said!
I *have* experienced phase 2 and a bit of 3 before…and yes, I spend *some* time there now, but so often it is still my taste buds that determine what I will eat. How can I dare to speak about not being stuck? How can I encourage others when I am such a hypocrite? :-/
In fact, when it comes to my eating and drinking, I have SHUT off God’s voice of late. After a year and a half of eating “this way,” I know I can have thus and so for breakfast, this and that for lunch, and about this much of this-other-stuff for other eating occasions throughout the day, thank you very much, and still “hover” around the same weight. I have created the “Heidi Diet!” There is NO walking with the Spirit. There is NO praying. There is NO discernment. What there IS is a tuning OUT of God! What is UP with that? :-/ Pride, pride, and more pride.
I confess these things here, now, loudly. Frankly, I don’t want to put this blog entry out there…because with the coming of this realization, an old, but familiar companion has returned as well…shame. I remember well that shame breeds more shameful behavior if left unchecked. Like the blackberry brambles in my backyard, I must wage an all out assault against shame and not allow even a fragment of it to remain.
Knowing that, I reject the old way of secrecy and wallowing in shame. (Proof that God is doing a new thing! Praise YOU LORD!)
I know that shame is evidence of the enemy prowling. Like footprints on a dusty floor…footprints on the unkempt floor of my life, footprints of the enemy who is sneaking around accusing, scheming a way to devour me. I refuse to let him make any mark on my life. That is why this confession is public. I believe that in order to BE RID of this yeast, this old, fermented dough, I must choose to allow the exposing to be public, too, just as all my other claims have been public. I wish FIRST would splash this across their double page insert…:-(
God, in his tenderness, chose to expose the truth in my life quietly. He is gentle that way (well, often times). He has, however, called to me to step into the light with it. He covers me — saturates me — with grace. He wraps me in a blanket. He redeems all the years the locusts have eaten. NOTHING is so great, so horrible as to stand between me and the love of God.
In fact, Psalm 3: 3,4 says:
But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.
Yes, Lord. You are my shield. You bestow glory. You do not cast shame on me. You lift my head, instead. I cry to you. I thank you that You answer, Lord. I choose to “*selah,” Lord. Amen.
* Selah means pause, rest, or think about it.
** I want my dear blog reading friends to know that the above has been in process since Saturday. I have placed it here, but even so, it is an “observation.” The “correction” has begun as well. I now have a daily accountability partner. This is vital for me at this time. I celebrate that the Lord continues to do a NEW new thing! 🙂