Thursday, June 14, 2012

Embrace Grace

"Teach your mouth to say that which is in your heart."-Abba Poemen

I don't think it's any coincidence that I starting reading Signature Sins about the same time as Grace for the Good Girl, because I usually do not read 2 books at the same time. But they so closely parallel each other, it's eery. I'm taking notes like crazy and underling everything. Both books are speaking loud and clear to this good-girl's heart.

Signature Sins is a book about those sins in our lives that we neatly try to hide from everyone, even God.  Their natural and their our own.  One person may suffer from alcoholism while someone else may be addicted to porn. As we each are different in our personalities so is our sin uniquely ours as well.

It's a book on our response to sin, our own and others. The author challenges us to be "radically honest" with ourselves and to examine the areas of your heart that are most resistant to be examined.
You do this by finding some quiet time with God and open your heart and mind to what it is He wants to show you. Write it down...even if it's ugly and you don't want to, do it anyways.

"To know my heart is a start, but it leads nowhere if I cannot then open those newly discovered rooms to the light of God's transformation."

"Those in power often present themselves as icons of near-perfection.The common sinner, who cannot manage to hide sins so well, is left feeling inferior."

"The hunger for deeper spiritual formation cannot be satisfied in communities that value image over honesty. We must reject the gospel of sin management and embrace the gospel of grace." ~Signature Sins by Michael Mangis

In Grace for the Good Girl, chapters 4-6, closely parallel this same train of thought. Wearing the "I'm fine" mask, when things are NOT fine is doing a disservice to God and to others that want to help.

"Only as I depend on and trust in and fully disclose to the One who knows anyway will I be able to discern when I'm fine-ing someone who deserves genuine."

"Hiding behind fine in the midst of God and everyone is insulting to the cosmic swing God sets into motion...our emotions add color and dimension to life...we try to hide them behind one dimensional masks because we believe they indicate weakness ..trying not to experience the whole spectrum of emotions is like trying to be inhuman."~ Emily Freeman GFTGG

Trouble starts when our thoughts and feelings are contrary to what God's word says, we try to control the back and forth between good and evil-we think that in order to be mature Christians these back and forth thoughts should be in control.

But in reality God created us to be and think like this, because then we learn to live by faith and not in our own strength.

We receive compassion and grace from God, which is what he wants us to do, so not that we can turn around and brag, but so that we can offer it to others who need it as well.

The reason we hide is because we fear if we come out from behind it, we won't be enough. And the truth is, apart from Christ, we won't. We believe we have to be competent in ourselves, forgetting God's truth." GFTGG

If we are honest with ourselves and then finally honest with God, then we can start to heal. I'm so encouraged and challenged by both books. Both essentially are giving the same message just in different ways, sin management. I guess the real question is are we going to hide our sins and put on fake masks  of "I'm fine" or are we going to deal with it openly and honestly? We can't be scared to show others are weaknesses, {and yes,I'm terrified} it's in our weaknesses that God does the greatest work and relationships are formed.

What masks do you hide behind, or what sin do you try to manage, in your own strength? Can I encourage you to get honest with God and let him show you? What would our friendships, relationships look like if all the masks came down?

Linked up with:: Beautiful Thursdays, Thought Provoking Thursday, Hearts 4 Home Thursday, Life in Bloom, Faith Filled Friday, Chatting At The Sky


  1. I agree, we must become totally open with God in order for Him to do His good works in us. I hate living with a mask, I've often asked God "Who am I?" because at times I'm just not sure. His image of us is what we need to be. We are His child, His heir.

  2. I ask the same, and it always comes back to the same thing "You are Mine"

  3. Alecia, something I'm realizing too is the danger in saying "I'm fine" because when someone challenges us and says that we are not fine or perfect in everything we are doing, we become very defensive.

    That's because we do believe, to the core, that we have to be competent in ourselves. But when we realize we are only competent in Jesus, we aren't afraid to be real anymore, and we are able to humbly admit that we aren't fine.

    It's so tough, though.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, sister!

    1. You are so right! When are walls up are we don't want anyone to try and take them down, we come protective of them. Thanks


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