Pages

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

YES to GOD study: Chpts: 6 & 7

Welcome to...

I am thrilled you have come by for a visit for YES to GOD! I just wish we were sitting in my kitchen talking face to face, but via Internet works too.


As I mentioned in my last post I am without a computer. My old school computer I believe has gone to computer heaven and we shut off our Internet service anyway to prepare for the loss of income from November-March from Gene's disability. My Dad has blessed me with access to his computer so I can still post on Tuesdays. My point of sharing this with you is if I don't stop by your blog just know that I'm not being a blog-snob, just with my limited access sometimes I only have time to post.

This week we are discussing chapters 6 & 7, so let's get started...

CHAPTER 6: COSMETICS FOR THE SOUL

Remember, anything in blue is a quote from the book.


How many of us are trying to conceal our feelings to cover up our broken souls? We do this so others will see on the outside what we want them to see. We think we can fool people with our cover-ups, and maybe we can. But God wants us to be real...real to others, real to ourselves, and real with Him.
Lisa reminds us of the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and how they were filled with shame when they went against God's desires for them. I am so glad it wasn't Gene and Lelia because I think the Bible might not be the #1 selling book if we were the "first couple". Let me just give you a glimpse of what that day of falling into sin may have looked like...

Gene was busy naming the animals when all of a sudden he notices me picking flowers...naked.

"Whoa, what is that?" he said with much curiosity leaving the elephants momentarily nameless.

"Oh, hello Gene. My name is Lelia, you know...your helper. I took the liberty of naming myself since I like to have control. Okay, here's the deal...I know that God told you not to eat from that tree over there, but it looks so good. What do you say we just try a little bite?" I said, dropping the flowers and twirling my hair around my fingers.

"Well, I don't think it's a good idea." said Gene.

"Fine, just leave me alone then."

"Okay baby, just one bite, but you go first."

Lelia smiled as she took a bite of the forbidden fruit and passed it to her honey. Suddenly they were filled with much shame and hid in the bushes from each other trying to cover up. She was yelling at him to keep his eyes closed as she cleverly tied fig leaves around her small waist and perky chest area. With closed eyes he extended his arm and grabbed the fig leaf she picked out from him and covered himself up.

Then they lived miserably ever after...blaming each other for that horrible day in the garden.


Okay...this so reminded me of the times that I have persuaded Gene to do something that in the long run wouldn't be good for us; such as, after getting rid of our credit cards I talked him into getting one just for emergency situations. Then talking him into using it for a non-emergency situation only to have much regret.
Sadly, this can be our life daily if we choose...shame/cover-up...shame/cover-up...tiring, life-sapping cycle.
The whole cover up thing is a nightmare. When we are filled with shame we try to take the focus off of the real problem by creating another problem for ourselves. Such a viscous cycle we can get into if our focus is not Christ.



On page 103 Lisa talked about identity theft and how we seldom protect the very thing that should be treasured by us above all else...our hearts and souls.

*Society has much influence over our thoughts and actions.
Society has a hold on us and it doesn't plan on letting go anytime soon.

*Satan is a liar and yet we hang on to his every word with much belief.
Satan has been lying to us for a long time, but we seem to be buying into his lies now, more than ever before.

*Our own bad choices bring guilt, shame and regret.
We have tried and failed at controlling our own destinies, only to learn in the process that with free will comes the responsibility to own the consequences of the path we choose.



Unfortunately, I have gradually fallen for all three of these points Lisa made about how we lose our identities at some point in my life.


The last section of this chapter is titled THE SHORT END OF THE STICK. Many of us are dissatisfied with the way life has turned out. Our disappointment has caused us to become increasingly displeased with our current situation, and therefore we feel as if we've gotten the short end of the stick.




Lisa shared the story that was all over CNN last year of Anna Nicole Smith's life and death.

Identity theft...born Vicky Lynn Hogan, died Anna Nicole Smith.

She was influenced by society, lied to by Satan, and very hurt by her choices. In a year's time she had a baby girl, lost weight, buried her son and ended her life and for what? None of her life pointed to God.


Life is short, and God wants us to be fully satisfied in Him while we are here.

I agree with Lisa that it didn't look as if Anna ever knew God when she died. Every cover up of her soul that she invited into her life was just a false and unsatisfying filling of emptiness, where if she had only invited Christ into her life she would have experienced a satisfaction that would have lasted.


In order to find full and lasting satisfaction, we have to look to the heavenly things, not the temporal things of this world. Our ultimate goal has to be to seek Him and His righteousness, above all else.


CHAPTER 7: THE FEELINGS WE CONCEAL


As women, we spend much of our lives trying to conceal things we don't want others to know about us.


We conceal our past. We keep our real agendas hidden. We mask our true feelings and cover up our sins. We just can't bear the thought of someone knowing what is really going on inside our souls, so perfectly hidden by "beautiful" things they see.

Lisa shows us the feelings we are trying our hardest to conceal from the view of others...

Insecurity~ Women are notoriously insecure over our bodies, our abilities, our mothering, our relationships with our husbands, our reputations in the church, and our standings in the community.

Insecurity is the sparks that lead to the bonfire of jealousy.


Jealousy~At some point, most of us have been the recipients or the instigators of very hurtful behavior that threatens the kindred spirit we long to have with other females.


Before my uncle got remarried, we were very close to each other. When he started dating his now wife she was very jealous of our relationship. It has gotten to the point that I can barely stand to be in the same room with her now. My uncle and I don't have much of a relationship now, which is not a loss I don't lose sleep over. His wife and I have talked about it, forgiven each other (because I too am to be blamed for some high school behavior), and I am fine with how things are between us. Because of this broken relationship though I am sometimes very guarded with women, especially Christian women.


Loneliness~We all experience times of loneliness. And we all like to pretend to others that we are completely fulfilled, totally satisfied, and doing just fine without the help of anyone else. But loneliness is an issue that touches our souls and makes us believe that we are uncared for and invisible to others.

Oh how I see this very thing being played out in my teen daughter's life. From getting pregnant again to buying a dog...all gestures of trying to fill the void in her life. If only she'd turn to her Savior.


I can hardly wait for this scene Lisa describes to unravel in my daughter's apartment...Loneliness may make the loudest noise, but it can't hinder the mighty arms of God from reaching down and picking up a broken soul who's all alone in the middle of a lonely night.


Fear~When we women fear the reactions of others to who we really are, we fear not being able to control the way they feel about us. They might not like us, if they know us. They might not hold us up in high regard or respect us. They might think we are unintelligent or incapable or not able to cope. What we really fear when we pretend to be someone we are not is rejection by others.


I have talked before about being at a Women of Faith conference with the thoughts "if these women really knew me". That type of living in fear is so crazy because it keeps you right where Satan wants you. He wants you sit in the seat of unworthiness, because he knows that as long as he can keep you quiet, shamed and withdrawn then he has stifled your testimony of God's greatness in your life and on that day...the enemy has won. Fear isn't about being afraid of the dark because you feel a loss of control, it's about being controlled by Darkness and feeling loss.

A few years into our marriage I would go shopping and I started falling for the credit card offers given at the cash registers by the teenagers behind the counter. You know the ones, "you can save 15% today if you sign up for a Kohl's card". I knew Gene didn't want us to have a bunch of debt, especially at a clothing store, but for some reason 15% sounded like a huge savings to me at the time so I'd sign up. Pretty soon my wallet was filled with a card from Old Navy, Pier 1, American Eagle, Victoria's Secret and JC Penney. I did school shopping, spring/summer/fall & winter shopping and home accessory shopping and never paid a dime for any of it...until later. Then I found myself covering up all my cards. I'd secretly pay the minimum on them, rip up any evidence and stuff down into the garbage.

Trying to get home before receiving my statements made me a major wreck, so I decided to invest in a P.O. box. What a pain that was to have to drive out of my way to check that. Then I decided to do some home improvements on my own without consulting with Gene. I cashed these checks we received from a Sears credit card, okay Gene unknowingly received in the mail and began to fix our home up. They were the cash on a credit card checks....lots of interest.

Finally, at almost 15,000 dollars later I came clean to my husband. Oh it was not pretty, but he was so sweet and forgiving. Lots of grace showed to me that day and years to come. The cards are paid off now, but what a pricey lesson to go through.

Do you see how I had the actions of Eve though? I talked myself into needing all of these things and when I ate the forbidden fruit I began to panic and look for a cover-up. The post office box was a temporary relief for me because what was out of sight was out of mind. Then the late fees piled up...oh it was such a mess!

Cover-up only leads to more choices made in desperate times. On the outside, even my husband couldn't tell the internal hell I was putting myself through. He never knew all the nights I cried myself to sleep because I had let things get so out of my control.

During those times I felt the feelings of insecurity in finances, jealousy that my friends were so honest with their spouses, loneliness as I distanced myself from my husband and fear that I would be found out. Too much to deal with. Too much cosmetics for my soul.

Again Lisagirl, you have knocked the ball out of the park, slammed dunked the basketball through the hoop, got a strike on the bowling alley and aced your serve on the tennis court. You really allowed yourself to be honestly open in this book and let God use you to speak to us. Thank you, sweet sister for surrendering all to Him. I know you'd say, "It's worth it...y'all, it's worth it". You know I love you and really thank God for bringing us together the way He has.

Okay, you know what's next...sign up under Mr. Linky if you have more about these chapters on your own blog. We are so close to ending this study and I just can't believe where God has brought us. Hopefully we won't be the same women we were when we started this study in September.

~Many Blessings~

Next week we will discuss chapter 8.

20 comments:

Darlene said...

Lelia, once again, your honesty and candid stories bring Glory to God. He is a God of restoration.
Thank you for your willingness to show the powers of His restoration in your life.

I pray that God will bring blessings to you during these times of hardships. I think that it is amazing that you are willing to host an online study... without having the internet! Thank you for going the extra mile, and bringing all of us together! Your study leadership has blessed me.

Darlene

Cindy said...

Thank you Lelia for sharing your heart so beautifully with moments of fun.
The story about the credit cards hit home, though it was nearly 15 years ago, I can still remember coming clean. Wow, have I learned alot since then.
Bless you, Cindy

nothingcanseparateme said...

oh my goodness Lelia--I can't stop laughing at the "small waist and perky chest area!!!" You crack me up!!

I will have to come back and read your whole post but HAD to let you know it is 4:30 PM here and you gave me my first laugh for the day!!

love ya
Kim

Kristen said...

Leila,

Your honesty and willingness to share your story is an awesome testimony of the security God can give. You don't have to cover up your mistakes anymore... you are willing to share them because you know that can help another individual that could be going through the same things you did.

God Bless!
K

Jill said...

Lelia, Thanks once again for your words and honesty. We're studying in Sunday school about the important role leaders play and you are definitely succeeding and setting the tone as you lead this study!! Thank you, we are all being blessed and God is glorified! Blessings as the journey continues, Jill

Sita said...

Lelia,
I know this post was not easy...in fact I know how painful it was...but I pray that the bittersweet pain of cleaning, clearing, exposing was followed by a sweet infilling of His love towards you...praying for you...

Laura said...

Lelia,
I echo the words of the other ladies...you are so dedicated to find a way to continue this study in the absence of a computer. Satan will stop at nothing to end a Good Work in the LOrd's name! And you are doing good work.
Thank you for sharing your heart.

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

Bloggy friends-I have yet to read these chapters so I may not be able to post this week. It's midterm time at the college and ministry has been busy...I will be sure to stop by and read everyones this weekend though!

In His Graces~Pamela

Connie said...

Lelia, You are so real...and I ejoyed your retelling of the Adam and Eve story. You and Lisa....letting all of us know what being real is. Thanks for leading us...Connie

Lisa said...

Girl,
Loved the post and praised God for your willingness to share about your struggle with the credit cards. It is something many women relate to...I have had my own issues with shopping and share about it when I go and speak. So I understand where that comes from and appreciate you sharing your heart!

God is using you...thanks for letting Him. You will be the one who is blessed in the end.

Love you much!
Lisa :)

Leebird said...

Hey honey...

You were spying on my mind this weekend! Our money is very tight, and I was tempted to ask Cliff if we could use a credit card we just paid off to get thru til payday. He would have said yes if I had asked....but the Lord's voice kept telling me, "Don't do it...don't do it!" I actually listened that time!

Liz said...

Lelia,
Your honesty is a testimony to the wonderful power of honesty and God's work! I have been tempted by the credit card lie, and have spent my share of time in mental prison over the lies that I told my husband about my own spending. Oh, such a hard lesson and one I hope to never repeat. God is good, and he gave me a husband who loves me when I don't deserve it.
These two chapters were a little painful and difficult to write about. I look forward to reading tomorrow for some insight and encouragement.
Love,
Liz

Runner Mom said...

You are precious!!

These chapters spoke to me more than any other so far. I love this book!!

Have a grest one, girlfriend! Time for Bible study down the street!
Hugs,
Susan

HIS Daughter said...

I love your authenticity, Lelia! You make this journey so much easier!

Praying GOD burns the fake right out of all of us!

I'm late...I'm Concealing and covering up Spirituality at the same time...

Praying for you with love,
Teri

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

WOW...I SO love your real...open...honest....authentic..heart!!!

Your stories are true testimonies..which bring SO much glory and honor to our Father.

Praying that God continues to bless your sweet...sweet....heart...

Carol said...

Lelia,

Oh have I been there, not once but several times, and I'm on the pay off road again, but this time I've got God with me.

Love your Adam and Eve version too. Cracked me up.

I'm super behind this week ladies. This nasty illness seems to have taken me out this past week. I'm going to come around and read and post too eventually this week.

Lelia, again thank you for blessing us with leading this study and for being so faithful with it even without your computer or the internet. You are a servant.

Love,
Carol

swallowingamoose said...

Hi Leila!

Consider this your invite!! Hope you’ll join in with us!

I am looking for as many people as we can find that would like to participate in a bloggy “Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving.” I dreamed this idea up as a way to give thanks to the Lord for His work in each of our lives by sharing our testimonies with the world wide web on Monday, November 24, 2008. That’s the Monday before Thanksgiving guys! Many of you may choose to leave that post up for the entire week and I encourage that. My prayer is that this sharing of our testimonies will not only encourage each other and give Glory to our Lord but also to those who happen upon our blogs.

For more info on how it’ll work go here:
www.themouthbehindthemoose.blogspot.com
(That reads “The Mouth Behind The Moose” .blogspot.com)

Hope your testimony will be there too!!

Grace & Peace,
Heather Twitchell
Swallowing A Moose

nothingcanseparateme said...

Lelia my friend
About the credit card woes--I am in them right now. Although I am not hiding them from my husband, he chooses to not really "see" the big bad picture. I have always handled the $$ so there is tremendous guilt with the debt we have incurred. I am "picking" my way out slowly but surely. I wish it was from cool clothes and redecorating my house but it isn't - just general living on one income stuff for so long. This is one of the many things that I have concealed from the people closest to me.

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Lisa, don't tell anyone but I sneaked a peak at your post last night. I didn't have much time after two 15-hr days of training and then a massive house cleaning for a showing today.

I came back today to read. You are so real, lady. I love all your stories. It make our friendship feel so real as in face-to-face.

When you mention Alyssa getting a dog, I so thought of my brother and his family of six that struggles just to make ends meet. They are not living a Christian life, and I don't know that they claim it. Yet, they have stray animal after stray animal. I wonder if it's too a matter of my SIL searching to fill that hole.

Love you, girlfriend. I just wrote my post so I better get to circulating the neighborhood and try to start reading some of these beautiful blogs. It's getting harder and harder to keep up and I'm about to start a new study in my Thursday group. Oh, Lord help me.
Love ya,
Paula

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

Lelia-I finanlly had a chance to visit some of these post. I realized that my first "auto link" is taking everyone back to a very old post of mine so I have corrected that. Sorry.

Your post is very touch...as usual. Thank you for being so transparent!

In His Graces~Pamela