Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fortress of Lies

I want to write just a couple more blogs from quotes inside the book The Shack. 

In the chapter, A Meeting of Hearts, Papa and Mack are talking about lies. Papa says, "… Lies are one of the easiest places for survivors to run. It gives you a sense of safety, a place where you only have to depend on yourself. But it's a dark place, isn't it?"

Papa continues, "Lies are a little fortress; inside them you can feel safe and powerful. Through your little fortress of lies you try to run your life and manipulate others. But the fortress needs walls, so you build some. These are the justifications for your lies. You know, like you are doing this to protect someone you love, to keep them from feeling pain. Whatever works, just so you feel okay about the lies."

I think the lies Christians tell themselves are the lies seasoned with all the religious talk that we've learned. And the sad thing is that we really believe that we are spiritual and believing the truth.

When you pull out of religion and decide to try to walk in grace and truth, you gradually begin to see how lie-covered most of what we say and do in the name of religion really is.

I've done a moderate amount of personality studies. I was drawn to the teaching that we build our personalities as a house around us to protect and to hide ourselves from others and from really living life. My personality type is perfectionistic and analytical. That works well for my profession, but plays havoc in relationships and life. I have to work at tearing down the walls of my protection of personality and seek to live life transparently and honestly. That is tough stuff. It feels exposed and uncomfortable.

I have family and friends who have other types of personalities or walls of protection such as being a helper, or being a controller, or being fun and funny, or being smart, or others. One writer said we're like bumper cars, bumping into each other's personalities and never really getting to know each other.

This paragraph in The Shack reminded me of some of my personality studies. Most people, and I for a long time, didn't consider personalities as something that could be changed or as lies we had built up around us for safety and protection. There has been a measure of freedom since embracing that idea. Food for thought.


The Lenoxes said...

Ah, the lies! And the thing that you referred to as "sad" is fascinating to me...that we live our lives in these fortresses of lies thinking we're living and believing truth. How do we do that? It goes back to a previous post about the journey inside. We have to take that journey with honesty and authenticity in order to really "see" ourselves and the lies we live. Many times it has taken the perspective of someone else to help me see the lies for what they are.

I ran across another quote along those lines in "Soul Cravings" by Erwin Raphael McManus. He said, "The real struggle is not with knowing the world beyond us, but with knowing the world within us."

I was in a meeting yesterday with someone who talked about not speaking up because she didn't want to "damage" relationships, and quoted some scripture that seemed to back this up. This is a great principle, but something in me thinks that's not her real motive. Obviously I can't know her motive, but based on other interactions I've had with her I believe she's fearful and protecting herself....which we all do, it's just interesting that we have to couch it in spiritual terms instead of recognizing our self-protective tendencies. I do it all the time.

My desire is to continue on the journey of having my lies exposed and receiving the truth of Jesus which truly sets me free!


Mary said...

Thanks for your comments. Really good ones. I think the place I hear and sense the most unrecognized lie-living is in religious circles. Maybe it's because people go to church for various reasons, but there they learn how to make life work, and too often, it's the style of using the coded religious language and pretending that all is well.

One of my all-time favorite sayings or quotes is (loosely translated), Religion does one of two things: it makes one a Pharisee (look at me, see how good I am) or a rebel (I can't keep all of those rules, so I quit). I absolutely love that. It's so true in my experience of my own life and others I observe.

How different it is to just walk in grace and truth, out of the performance-based way of life. Really, really different, and a life journey.

I had a person ask me one time if I still believed the Bible. Huh? It was because I had dropped all the spiritual lingo and just talked "real." I thought that was so funny. Actually, I was more a believer than ever before, but the change was so obvious that it was scary to my friend. Hmmm...

Who knew? Who would have ever guessed how entrenched religious circles are in performance-based living and so missing in the grace and truth based living. It's the looking back that is so revealing.

And lest I'm sounding like I've arrived, I'm quick to say, no-never. It's a life journey and an enjoyable one at that.

Psalmist said...

This book is on my (long) "To Be Read" list. Your commentary on it is one of the reasons why.

I don't know if I've even commented here before, but I love your blog and the good common sense you share through it. I found your blog through your husband's blog (another one I enjoy).

As usual, I’m a day late and a dollar short: Monday was “Blogger Appreciation Day,” or so I was told. My intention was to comment at each blog on my Bloglines subscription, but you know where the road paved with good intentions leads…

So here’s a note to let you know that I appreciate you and your writing, MB. Thanks for blogging.

mary said...

I thought this chapter was very interesting. I drew out on a piece of paper a square and inside it put Safety and power, manipulating others, doing things according to "my world." Then, on the outside of the box was the opposite of those things, depending more on Jeus, trusting Him, giving others freedom to be who they are, loving without judgment, being vunerable, and a world that is not "according to me." What I saw in doing this was that I believe that on the outside of my box, it seems unsafe and a place of powerlessness. I began to write down some of the justifications for my walls (lies versus truth). I saw in a different way how the walls I have built are protecting a lie in itself that outside the walls it is unsafe and I am powerless. I have for many years been working at chiseling away these walls that have blocked me from some of the very things my heart is seeking. My desire is to break down the lies that keep me from having a more honest relationship with "Papa", lies about myself, adn lies about relationships. I want to learn more and more how to walk in grace and truth and I belive for me that means that no matter how hard or painful it is, or even long, I need to be breaking down that wall of supposed protection. Mary, you said something about spiritual "lingo." I was glad you mentioned that. I have talked about that to a couple of people and I just can't seem to explain it. I am tired of the "lingo", I just want people to explain truth to me in real words, something that is not what is the "going line of the day." I have gotten some strange looks of confusion when I have tried to express that thought. I wasn't sure if I was too late to put something on the blog, so I just sent it. Hope you have a great week. PS. I read where someone has gone and writtent down what "papa' says, Jesus says, and the Holy Spirit says on separate sheets. I think I am going to do this. Sounded like a neat idea.