I drive a lot. In my day to day job, I spend a lot of time driving from client to client, so I spend a lot of time in my car. I have found a really great way to spend all of that time. I have a Zune mp3 player that I download and listen to Podcasts on. It is a great investment if you have time like that. I listen to audio books (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were my last ones), I listen to different preachers, and I listen to my own pastor’s messages again and again. I really look forward to it.
One of my favorite podcasts is from Mars Hill church where I hear a lot of Rob Bell. I was listening to one of his talks yesterday, where he was discussing the “Alter Ego” that people have. You know what I mean, that public face vs. the private face that only you and God see. Now this thought and topic is not something new to me, I have heard it many times before, but not presented in a biblical format like Rob did in this talk. I won’t try and duplicate his thoughts or scriptures exactly here (listen to his podcast, you’ll enjoy it), but he used a passage to look at the true and underlying self, and how addicted we are to feeding it. These are my thoughts after hearing that message.
I have one — an Alter Ego that is. There — I said it. I have this person inside of me that communicates with God on a pure and naked level that knows and understands all my problems, my faults, my pure motives and dreams, but I do not show that whole person to you except in glimpses. Then I have this outside person who I put on and display to the world because I cannot trust the world to understand and appreciate the person I am on the inside. It is risky to say this, but it is true nonetheless. Now please understand I am not trying to be deceitful or misleading, but I do not show you all my innermost self because I am afraid. I am afraid of you knowing all my weaknesses, faults and motives. My inner being is sinful and full of pride, it’s motives can be selfish at times, and I have difficulty controlling what it does. It is a regular wrestling match in there. I suspect it is the same with you if you are honest. God knows and understands it though.
So why do I share this with you? I want to compare the beings in a way that helps us understand our struggles. When we are truly worshipping God, whether publicly or privately, we open a window to our inner soul and being. This is where God is, and this is where he can support us in the changes we all desire to make to ourselves, to our inner self. This is where the raw sin, anger, pain and strife is that we cannot cover up or hide from Him. I can hide it from you most of the time, but it gets exposed at the most critical times of our lives such as true conviction, the death of a loved one, the collapse of the outer being. Am I making sense here? The outer being is but a fragile shell that takes a tremendous amount of effort to keep intact. Our outer being is not honest and naked before men. God sees the acts of our outer being, but holds us responsible inside for those acts. The outer shell at times does reflects what is inside regardless of how hard we try, but there is always that secret inner being. I believe we all struggle with that.
One of the best ways we can expose this being is to develop relationships that we trust. Do you have anyone in your life that you can expose you innermost being to? I find it to be a rare thing that people do, which is a sad thing. Our spouses or significant others are probably the closest to that, but in essence we are not always truly open with them due to a fear of loss. So we tend to kind of spread it around a bit. Some honesty here, some honesty there so that we do not completely overwhelm any one source. Seeking that person we can share completely with and be open with is important. It’s brutal to do though. Hmmm, let’s see — who do I know that would hear any of my innermost thoughts and sins and still not judge me, not tell anyone else, or not endanger some critical component of my life, yet still love me completely? Wow — tough call.
Let me flip that around a bit. Are you that person for anyone else? Think it through before you answer. Can you sit still and listen to a friend, spouse, etc. and never judge, get upset or angry with them over what they think, have done or feel? Tough job! The closer to that person you are, the harder it may even be. In ministry I have done some one on one listening sessions with some people who are not even a close part of my life, and it is tough to put on that poker face when they let the shocking facts loose sometimes. I find myself saying, “Jesus — let me hear the heart and not the act” in order to resolve my immediate external reactions. I have yet however to have one of those sessions without feeling God used me in some way.
So who is the true listener? Jesus. Yeah — I know, it sound so oversimplified. But think about it. My innermost being can only truly answer to Jesus. When I am in a position to be the listener, it is Jesus that gives me the strength to do so in a way that allows him to use me as a tool to help. He’s on both sides of the equation once again bringing about reconciliation to Himself. Awesome.
I believe that God wants us to be ONE. I believe he wants our inner and outer self to be a mirror reflection, or better yet that there not be an outer being. I believe that in Heaven there will be only one being. He will work with us to achieve that on earth if we learn to trust Him, and to trust those he sends to help us break down that outer being. He also calls us to be that listener, so look for your opportunities there. When they come — stop, push yourself aside and listen.
Some people are more successful at being the same inside and out than others. I think God truly has helped them to be that. They are the ones you know that seem to have a lot more peace, a lot less strife in their walk. That doesn’t mean they do not face trouble, it just means they have learned to listen to God and to be open with those he sends to be his helpers.
I am thankful for those in my life that listen. I am thankful for those in my life that allow me to be a listener. I pray we all can learn to trust Him and those he sends.
I think I need to go find my friend now. I have some things I need to share with him.