Friday, 6 July 2012

The Art of Keeping Up Appearances: A Memoir and Lesson

"One of the chief inhibitors of Christian fun is our fleshly tendency to keep up appearances." That, my friends, is people pleasing. Paul suggests that anyone who lives to please people isn't serving Christ. I read that in a book called "Victory Over the Darkness" by Neil T. Anderson. Wonderful how just a few words can really change your thinking and align you back to the Truth.

Galatians 1:10 says it best: "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."

Being away from home, and school, I have noticed a great deal about the world, but mainly about myself and the way I've been putting up a front. At my University, I am literally in a Christian "bubble" that extends not just through campus but throughout the whole town, I'm sure.

Living on my own, with no one at the apartment to talk to usually, I end up sticking with my work buddies a lot. I spend most of my time with them, outside of work included (and these are the times I will always cherish). But working for 8 hours a day with these people has brought about a change of perception about the way I've been living my life, treating my friends. Getting to see how they interact with me and each other, as normal people with genuine concern for me and everyone, I had begun to see what I was lacking in my own life.

I hadn't been a friend to myself. I had been putting up a front that "all is well" in my world. It's been a struggle to share how I really feel with people. Its so easy to blend in with all the other Christians there, even within my own church. Shutting myself off emotionally, I fell into a trap. I think most of us can fall into this trap.

It took a hot-summer's jog around a pond (okay, okay, we walked) with a dear friend to finally just say it. I didn't know how to communicate what I felt. This is a big milestone in my life, and I pray God will use it to shape me more into the woman He wants me to be.

How is it that we can surround ourselves with friends and still be emotionally detached? Its a lie from the enemy. He doesn't want us to be free. He wants us to hold it all in and bear that burden...but look, Jesus Himself bore all that on the cross! He said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Matthew 11:28-30 demonstrated on the cross, arms open wide for us

So now, I take it as a prayer to fight for my own freedom from the daily struggles, because I know the war has already been won! Jesus promises us victory if we trust in Him. Im learning to give up using my own strength and ask for Him to lead me into His Truth, which is the only thing that sets us free for real!

What are your thoughts? Do you ever feel trapped in a bubble of sorts?