Monday, November 2, 2009

from "Stuff Christians Like": Is it True?

I didn't write this, but found it from another blog and LOVED it. Let me know your thoughts.

This is going to come as a shock for many of you, but I wasn’t popular in high school.

I know, I know, given the unibrow, constant braces, and tap dancing lessons, you would think that I would have been homecoming king. But that wasn’t the case. I was a bit of a loser. And by “bit” I mean “big” and by “big” I mean “wicked big.”

I just wasn’t popular and although I’ve committed to raising my own kids as dorks, I was taken aback when my daughter confessed something the other night at dinner.

L.E. is in kindergarten. After three years at a small local church preschool program, she’s started her journey through the public education system. And last week at dinner she told us, “Mary told Janice that I was a big, fat loser.”

She just threw that sentence out on the kitchen table in between forced bites of vegetables. And it sat there for a second, with my wife and I not knowing quite what to do. With big blue eyes, L.E. looked back and forth at as, silently asking a loud question …

“Is it true?”

She didn’t use those words, but that was at the heart of her confession. Someone had called her a big fat loser so she asked the people who have known her the longest, “Is it true?”

Am I big?

Am I fat?

Am I a loser?

Although my wife and I tried our best to talk through the situation with her and assure her it was not true, 10 minutes after we had conversationally left the subject, L.E. burst into tears at the table. She wouldn’t talk about it. When we asked her what was wrong she laughed it off and hid her face in her milk glass, desperate to hold it all together, but the question “Is it true?” kept pushing tears out.

That’s a tough question and I wish it was one that we all left in childhood.

But it’s not, is it?

If I’m being honest, I ask myself “Is it true?” sometimes when I get a negative comment on this site or a hateful email. Someone tells me I’m a horrible writer or a horrible Christian or a horrible anything, and I start to wonder, “Is it true?”

Have you ever asked yourself that question?

Has someone ever told you that you were fat? Or untalented? Or unqualified? Or hopeless? Did a divorce try to tell you that you were broken, a job loss tell you that you were worthless or a parent that you were less than the child they hoped for?

Have you ever found yourself asking the question, “Is it true?”

We all do at some point and the challenge is that we often try to find the answer to that question in the wrong place.

When I feel wounded or hurt, I often feel tempted to ask Google Analytics, a web traffic tool, if I’m any good. I want to open up my statistics and look at all the pageviews and say, “See, that’s not true. I’m not worthless, look at all the countries that have read this site.”

And maybe if you don’t have a blog, you go somewhere else for the answer to the question, “Is it true?”

Maybe you go to a memory, and try to relive a time in your life when you felt popular or loved.

Maybe you ask a new car or a new pair of shoes or a new anything your question.

Am I old? Is that true sports car?

Am I ugly? Is that true new outfit?

Am I dumb? Is that true new laptop?

And we ask and ask and ask, but regardless of the answer, regardless of if our loved ones provide a temporary salve to a question that hinges on our true identity, something gnaws at us.

The only thing I think we can do in that moment is ask the only one who really knows the answer to the question, “Is it true?” And that’s God.

He, unlike your friend, unlike your boss, unlike that shiny new toy you purchased to try to beat back the feelings of inadequacy, He knit you in the womb. He knows you like no other and He loves answering questions like, “Is it true?” and “Who am I?”

The Bible is riddled with verses where God gives us glimpses of who we are, but one has stuck out to me over the years. I’ve written about it before and I’ll write about it again because I heart this verse. It’s Isaiah 30:18. The first half of the verse says,

“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.”

I love that idea, because it loudly answers, “Is it true that I am unloved” by saying, “No, God rises to show you compassion. He longs to be gracious. He gets up in the morning with compassion in His big God heart for small feeling you.”

I don’t know what in your life might have caused you to ask the question, “Is it true?” but I hope today, that you’ll think about a new way to answer it.

Regardless of why you’re asking that question, the answer might be:

“No, it’s not true. You are not that word, that thing, that label someone or even yourself is asking you to wear. Showing you compassion is the reason God gets up in the morning. That is what’s true.”

What have you been asking “Is it true?” about lately?

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