crap soup and your true identity

Posted: September 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

I’ve spent some serious time recently talking with a young couple who are getting married very soon.  We’ve been talking about intimacy and communication and conflict resolution and how basically everything mostly boils down to minding your own side of the street, trusting God extravagantly, and letting the other person be the other person.  We talk in blocks of 2 hours at a time.  The conversation is intense, searching, with hearts laid bare.  Challenging statements are met with humility and willingness.  It’s been one of the most encouraging things I’ve done in…well…years.

We’ve been mulling over the difficulty of how much easier it is (for folks of our stripe, at least) to forgive others than to forgive ourselves.  How harshly critical the voices inside our own heads are, about our own selves.    How generous and kind we can be when helping another who is stumbling, even though we’d say scathing and sharp things to ourselves in the same situation.  We’ve touched on the difficulty of how hard it is to love freely and well, if we’re constantly condemning ourselves.  It’s a real conundrum…one about which I’ve mostly only been able to say that it’s a healing journey, and the healing journey happens generally over a long period of time, and we just get to be awkward and do it badly as we walk that long path, trusting that we’re gaining grace as we go, and hoping that we will one day come to the place where a healed and whole heart is practically a default setting.

I pray my way into these conversations and I come away praying even harder.  Show me, Lord.  Give me words that will breathe life into this new union.

This morning in the shower, I was thinking about the ugly truth that most people suffer from some degree of thinking, “If people knew who I REALLY am, they wouldn’t love me.”

But the question comes down to:  what is the truth about who I really am?

We condemn ourselves because of the noise inside of us.  The ugly thoughts, the animal impulses, the propensity for violence at least of the mind.  The default to judging others.  The scathing comments that we’d never speak, but which pass through our heads at times that make us ashamed.  The crazy things that happen in our dreams, that make us wake up feeling like we should be barred from the human race, and sure that no one else has such dreams.  The selfish perspective that is almost always the go-to answer, that we have to push down and step over in order to be decent human beings.  We condemn ourselves because we think that’s who we really are.

Little wonder, then, that we can’t cut ourselves the same slack we’d offer to most anyone around us.  We can’t SEE their inner darkness. We can just see their exterior, which is almost without exception a prettier picture than the dankness of the dark heart we can see within ourselves.

But what if that unseen gunk is not really who we are?  We think it is, because it comes unbidden and can be so hard to stifle.  We think the ugliness is us.

I’m here tonight to propose that this is a mistaken belief.

What if the darkness is not “the REAL us?”

What if it’s really true that God made us “in His image?”  Can “in His image” be the crap soup inside of us that we hear banging around in our thoughts and impulses?  That doesn’t seem possible, does it?

Consider the fact that after making us and (“from before the foundation of the earth”) knowing about the brokenness we would suffer from…God saw us as so worthy that He made a way, in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, to be with us forever…in spite of the crap soup.  I mean, really consider that.

Consider that scripture says that Christ pressed into that final sacrifice “for the joy set before Him.”  That joy being:  YOU.

Consider that He wanted to be with you so much that scripture says IT PLEASED Him to make that awful sacrifice to gain you.  At Bible study tonight, we read through the account of the crucifixion.  It was so grim, there in the middle in the part where He died, that we kind of fell off into mutual awfulness, until finally one among us pulled some uplifting stuff out of Romans so we could even get through the conversation.  That much ugliness is what He was willing to pay.  For you.  For me.  To be with us forever.

I think that means the REAL us is not the crap soup.

I think that means one of our top jobs is to remind each other:  you are created in the image of God.  He wants you so much that He paid an unthinkable price to be with you forever.  He found you worthy of that sacrifice.

That must mean the REAL you is beautiful beyond our ability to understand, here in this life.

We need to operate out of that truth.  We need to shout it back to all the voices from the crap soup – you are not the real me!  

Imagine how freely we could love, when lifted away from the certainty that at our core we are unacceptable, unlovable, and vile.

Imagine how gentle we could be with ourselves, understanding that the crap soup is just the veil pulled over our understanding – knowing that it might work to keep us struggling and small, but what we are made of does not have to stay down under the crap soup for the rest of our days.

Imagine how much slack we could cut ourselves if we understood how much of the time we are deceived, holding onto lies that hang around our necks like lead weights.

I believe healing lies in that direction.  I’m pointing there, and I’m doing my utmost to head that direction, and I’m inviting you along for the journey.

Join me?

  1. Kathy W says:

    Insightful. Useful, too. And has floored me utterly. I am going to have to walk around in this for a few days, Karen, before it sinks in. Maybe then I’ll be fit to comment. Thank you.

  2. Cindy Maynard says:

    Once again you have nailed it!

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