Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Isn't starting a new blog bible study fun? Thank you Lelia for hosting this! The adventure of what the study hold for us is exciting and challenging. Then I started reading the first chapter of Lisa Whittle's book we are using "Behind Those Eyes: Whats really going on inside the souls of women" and the mood for me changed. Lelia whats us to answer the question what is "authenticity'? I am going to be authentic-honest and truthful here (my definition for this word)...I suddenly felt dread and caution. Really. Why? Because I sense God is going to make me face an issue I have put off and been struggling with. I even thought about not reading the rest of this book. My thoughts have been plagued with this concept of whats really going on inside the soul of me for this past year as I have come to a stronger faith walk with Him.
"What you're after is truth from the inside out" ~Psalm 51:6 (MSG)
I love blog-land. I can express my heart and not really worry about poor outcomes or insults. If a reader doesn't agree they just don't comment and they don't come back. In some ways we are being hidden by our computer in that we can so easily express ourselves, sometimes better, than if we are face-to-face. At least for me that is ocassionally the case. As I stated above, God has convicted me to look into my soul for some time. A few days ago when I wrote my last post I felt like He was saying, "Pam, you sound like a broken record". My post are pretty much about moving beyond my past of being in a pit because of my sin, alone & rejected but redeemed through God's graces. I felt like He was saying "Isn't there more to you than your past? Wouldn't they (you the readers) want more from you than that? Have I not called you to comfort the weary and those who need to know My grace. Have I not morning by morning awaken you and opened your understanding to MY will so that it will guide you to share it here?" (Isaiah 50:4). So what is really going on inside my soul? Who is impersonating my reality?

For years I would walk by a mirror and never look at "me". Maybe it was out of shame or discontentment. Even when I would get ready in the mornings, I only saw what I was doing, how the hair was laying, the shading of my make-up, but never looked at "me". What is real about me? What is behind my eyes? What are my true feelings and where do they come from? Am I who others see me to be (big OUCH here)? Am I pretending to be something I am not? Am I hiding behind this 45 year old body? Are we afraid to be real, to be authentic? Will others truly accept us for who we are? Does that really matter? It has for me. I'm working on that.

I don't know about you ladies, but this may be a painful journey. I am thankful to have you, my blog friends, to walk this together, to lean on each other, and pray for each other. My soul craving is to be real-so very real that at the same time I am the sweetest aroma for Christ. I want my realness to build others up and bring them closer to the God I have come to cherish so. I am imperfect. I am not a writer, my spelling is awful and my computer skills are quickly becoming outdated but my heart...my heart and my inner soul is longing to be revealed. Not for me, but for my Lords glory. I hope as we painfully draw closer to achieving this authenticity, God will be magnified.

"The truth may initially hurt, but the truth may be the best thing that has ever happened to you." (pp.19)
Here's to living in truth and being authentic! Together!!

In the shadow of His cross~Pamela (Mrs JoeB)

19 comments:

Jill said...

I loved reading your words and agree this could be a difficult road we are setting out on, but it is one God has brought us to and so we trust. I think the greatest thing I get by reading your words and others as well is we are not alone. We've all messed up and we've all put on the mask, but we all realize the beauty in being real. I loook forward to experiencing that beauty in the weeks ahead.

If you have a minute stop by my blog, I'm doing a little promo for Hearts-at-Home and doing my first official contest, so sign-up if you have a chance.

Blessings on your day,
Jill

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Pamela,
I had similar thoughts...I was frustrated when I read the questions. I thought what? How am I suppose to remember these things and give thoughtful answers. Can't we just have questions about the Bible and searching the answers. Do the questions have to be so mushy requiring so much thought?

However, after going through it and then posting on my blog, I felt much better about it. I felt determined to go through this process. Read and answer the questions. If I come to a question and resistance to answer, I put it down and come back when my heart is more open to give it a true and real answer.

Thanks for being real, for admitting your initial thoughts of this book, and therefore allowing me to join you and admit similar thoughts.

Blessings,
Paula

Laura said...

I am thankful to have you to walk this journey with as well, Pamela! I love your comment about how freeing it is to be yourself in blogland. It is true isn't it? Why is it so much easier to speak our heart to this keyboard and these people we don't know face-to-face? And how can we bring some of this authenticity into our day to day relationships? Something to think about...

Liz said...

Pamela,
Your words speak to my heart as they also express part of what God has also been saying to me. After a painful experience in the past, I have struggled to move forward and let Him work in my future. My "over" authenticity contributed to the pain that I went through but my heart aches for what He has to teach me. Yes, I agree, this might be painful for me too, but if it brings Him glory...I am ready! I can see that you are too!

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Hey there Mrs. JoeB....

This is going to be a very thought provoking study isn't it? I got hung up on just the first question?! Egads.... I don't know.... I "want" to be real... but part of me doesn't want to be real too. Does that make any sense?
Glad we are on this journey together. I always love reading your thoughts.
Lea

HIS Daughter said...

I am slow Pam...getting to the comments. Just know that I'm coming to read your journey before the next Tuesday!

You have a special place in my heart. All of the ladies are special in their own way...the ones I've "known" before..Cricket/Tessa who works at our office...but you -

I want to give you a big hug (hope you don't mind hugs) I want to tell you I know that struggle of trying to walk out being real as "new in Christ" and having others look at you and see, "that's so and so, did you know..blah blah blah?" Nevermind that they are wrong and GOD is for us...we still want to hide at times.

Pamela...we are NEVER going to hang those heads in shame again..ok? We aren't. That is something we can share with those that have walked that way and think they cannot be forgiven. We know differently.

My Precious Friend and Sister - Do Not Forget that GOD is in charge and HE chose to show HIS glory through you in this way. HE knew we could handle it in the power of the HOLY SPIRIT. Before the foundation of the world...HE sent our LORD to die on the tree for what HE knew would happen in our lives. HE rose and defeated death that would have been ours...with lots of big rocks (ugh). HE knew what glory we would bring to HIS name from our love and gratitude for HIS forgiveness.

I just want to hug you and tell you, to us with earthly eyes, it looks like...ugh what a mess!
BUT to HIS eyes it looks like..."exactly on time for my purpose".

Sorry so long but I want you to know I feel your heart! I wonder if Paul ever had a moment where HE wished GOD would have called HIM to be one of the original disciples or why GOD didn't call HIM before HE gleefully watched Stephen stoned and then had new believers, men and women thrown in horrible dungeons?

Because HE and you and I were called according to HIS purpose which HE ordained before the foundation of the world to show forth HIS glory. To this hour and this testimony you are called!

Shine Daughter...You make your Abba Proud,
Love and blessings,
Teri

Lisa said...

Pamela,
I first want to let you know that I understand your hesitancy in not wanting to move forward with the book. It's scary to get real. So many times we get close...but then we keep certain things hidden and retreat, afraid to go all the way with it. That's what Satan would have you do. Because keeping you bound to something keeps you from your maximum usefulness by God. But friend, I would encourage you to fully "go there" and to trust that God will hold your heart in the process. What if this is the catalyst to change your life? What if God wants to use truth in your life to lead you on an amazing journey with Him? Sister, it is worth the risk. And if you believe His promises (which I trust you do), you know that He wouldn't ask you to do a total heart cleanout if He didn't have a refining purpose in it all and if He wouldn't be there with you the entire time. It really has to do with how much you trust Him to take you through this process.

To encourage you, the last three chapters of the book will be that soothing breath at the end. Please stay with this book and the process. It's not about me or wanting you to read my book. It's about not stopping what God has started in you. Sure, a different study might be easier or feel better. But is the point of being a believer something comfortable and safe or something that pushes us straight into the arms of God as the only resource we have? I pray you will choose the latter because it is what will take you on that amazing God adventure you want to go on and help you be that woman you want to be. It's true for all of us.

I will pray for you, dear sister, that God will love on you tonight. I know He has a purpose in you being a part of the study... you didn't sign up by accident. And even if your original purpose was different from His, He has great things in store if you will trust Him to show you His truth. Look at how stuffing it for this long has brought you to this point. I understand, and women everywhere do, too. Just know that it is worth it. It is oh-so-worth it.

Much love and grace to you tonight. Please know that I am available to you as a sister as you journey through BTE. I truly mean that.

Lisa

Paula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paula said...

Hi Pamela, thanks for dropping by my page. Reading your post here reminds me of me - a broken record, a past I can't seem to (or don't want to?) move beyond, never looking at the real me in the mirror, etc. This study is going to be a wonderful journey of self-discovery, and God-discovery, for all of us, and I'm so grateful to be undertaking it with women who share similar thoughts and foibles as me!

I agree that blog-land, which I also love, can trick us into hiding, but we need not do that. Maybe, and this thought just came upon me now, just maybe, we feel OK with being so open and honest on here as we're putting it all out there, but at the same time not taking it in. Not taking it inside ourselves, into our souls, and accepting that this is the real me and dealing with it properly. A bit of a prattle there, but maybe that's that we're doing. A point to ponder perhaps while doing this study?

Thanks again for dropping by! In Him, Paula :-)

Pat said...

Pamela, I think we all have times in our lives like you described. And you are so right about blogland and the fact that we are talking to people we don't know. I have done several traditional bible studies and tend to hold back on my comments becasue I am afaird that my answers will be wrong or sound stupid. But what I coming to realize is that God is going to speak to each of us where we are and what we take from this or any other study is going to be what he wants us to hear. I may not hear or get the same thing our of a chapter that you do but does it mean one of us is wrong, NO, if only means your heart and soul is listening to what he has to say to you. In reading yours and other post I am also getting glimspes into other things he wants be to hear beside what I am learning when I am reading and answering the study questions. It reminds me of talking to the ladies from my church after attending a Beth Moore conference here in Jacksonville this spring. We all heard the same message but we all talked about how the message could have been written for each one of us alone. Its like a normal worship service when you come out and feel that your toes have been walked over ten times and you friend says yea, it was an OK message and looks at you like you are crazy. God meets each one of us where we are, (thank you Jesus) becasue we are all wonderfully his and he wants us to know his unconditional love. Sorry for such a long post and I look forward to getting to know you as we walk down this road of finding the true us in Jesus Christ.

Lelia Chealey said...

Crossing paths with you in blog land has been one of the best things that has happened to me Pam. Being blessed by you at She Speaks was one of the high lights of the conference for me. Not only because you shared your room with me but because of our late night talks with our heads on our pillows sharing our past and our present with each other. You are beauty Pamela. Pure beauty. As I read your post tears filled my eyes, perhaps because I've heard your past from your own mouth and how by choice you have allowed God to make you into who you are today. God really uses you here Pam. Your blog is such a platform for Christ. Women know when they come here they are going to be fed. It's like going to a really good restaraunt and knowing when you sit down the waitress is going to bring you something that is satisfying and really smells good.
I know this book is going to be probably one of the toughest reads for me yet, but I want more of God and if I want more I know there has to be less of me. That means getting to the core of what holds me back, what keeps me looking real on the outside but feeling fake on the inside. I'm tired. Tired of doing it my way because as we know my friend, our way doesn't work.
Keep reading friend. When you get overwhelmed just fall on your face and allow yourself to be transparent and authentic with your Creator. The One who looks upon you with tremendous love.
About myself there are things that I do not want to face, but I know if I want to go further with God then I can't keep walking hand in hand with my past.
Let's do this together.
Love you,
Lelia

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

I am overwhelmed by what is in these post ladies...just overwhelmed. I feel something big, something transforming about to happen and it is so good to know all you beautiful women are walking this with me.

In His Graces~Pamela

Yolanda said...

Your heart longing to be revealed, authentic, honest, for God's glory and the furthering of His Kingdom.

You my Friend, are precious!

Mari said...

Pamela, dear sweet Pamela...you my dear are not a broken record.

Now God could very well be ready to move you to a new phase (remember Lysa's book). That could be the case, But I know you have been comforting the weary. I for one have been blessed by getting to know you a bit at She Speaks and through your blog, email and phone. You are a blessing Pam.

Know that we are all walking this hard journey together. I can tell from this first chapter some walls will crumble, some toes will be stepped on, some feelings might get hurt. And I'm just talking about my own fears about this study! But just think, we'll be shiner, newer versions of who God has made us to be because we've stood on the truth and accepted it as our foundation.

God loves you and He has all of us on this journey together. Let's do this thing well so He can shine through us even more!

Love you friend!
Mari

Carol said...

Oh wow, aren't we more than our past, I know I'm healing from my past trying to move forward. I had a friend that who is not a believer, and has read my blog and she emailed me and asked why was it that we have so much difficuly in leaving the past behind us. It's a question I've been thinking about for a couple weeks. You've given me more to think bout. I love your honesty and about being able to express yourself better on your blog.

I look forward to more of your thoughts.

Carol

Anonymous said...

God is not mad at you because of your humanity, He is fully aware of your limitations, your weaknesses, and the failties of your heart. His compassion reaches across the haavns to get to you. You have not been cast aside becuase of your imperfection. Your broken heart is no less precious to him. Your beauty is not diminished. Your value can never dwindle away. You are beautful to God. He has always been taken with you . He wants you to spend the rest of your life in His strong embrace. How will you respond to this amazing, unparalleled kind of love. Pamela, in our ladies bible sutdy"Beautiful Offering" This part thought of you. Love you, Mom

KelliGirl said...

It's so scary to be "real" until we see everyone else has way more going on inside than their outsides show.

I was so blessed by reading the comments to your post, I feel I should jump into this study before its too late!

Regina said...

Wow, this post sounds like it came straight from my own heart.

I am leary myself, but so ready for God to take me to the next level. Tired of going through the motions. I want to be used by Him, and I hear Him telling me this is the next step in the process.

LynnSC said...

Oh Pamela,

This is an awesome post. I can see straight through to your heart. I know that this may be a painful journey... but I believe with all that is in me... it will be so worth it.

This comment,

"I want my realness to build others up and bring them closer to the God I have come to cherish so. I am imperfect."

is right where I am. God wants to use us. He can when we are real with others and allow them to see what God has done in our hearts.

I am blessed to call you friend, and I am so glad that we are on this journey together. Hang on girl, God is up to something big!
Lynn