Living Life in Layers

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I often feel that I live my life in layers.

Perhaps it is not that I actually live my life in layers … but there are definitely layers that co-exist inside of me.

My external layer sometimes reflects what is going on inside of me … and sometimes it doesn’t.

I strongly believe in walking by faith and not by sight and often I am able to exude hope and joy on my face even when inner questions are causing indigestion of the soul.

Some people might call this being a fake … or exhibiting a disingenuous persona.  I prefer to acknowledge the fact that I don’t believe that every disappointment should rear its ugly head and diminish the person I was made to be.

Not every pain has the right to take over my countenance or vilify my speech patterns.  If I choose to mope my way through a glorious new day and verbally vomit on anyone who gets in my way … that is giving pain and disappointment way too much power in my life.

I was made for joy.

I was made for hope.

I was made for faith.

I believe that it is the circumstances and the events of life that often deceive me into embracing attitudes and emotions that don’t tell my true story.

My true story is that I have found a joy so pervasive and so amazing that nothing … absolutely nothing … is able to take it away.

Underneath that visible, external layer is the second layer of living that I deal with.

This second layer is the place where emotions or soul try to usurp authority.  This is where the trouble begins.  This is always where the trouble begins.

My soul often doesn’t like what I am going through and so it whines and complains.

My emotions walk by sight and not by faith and so I continuously must rein them in.

This second layer is the two-year-old part of me.  It is where the tantrums exist … and where the selfishness reigns … and where the right to be heard demands recognition.

But I am not sure that my soul is the best representation of me.  I think that I was made for more than emotional spasms and for more than outbursts of bluster.

I am sure that when Jesus said,  “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me,” that He was talking directly to me.  He might have been looking at the disciples, but He was thinking about me.

“Carol, if you really want to follow me, you must die to self.  You must die to your right to be heard.  You must die to your right to be sad.  You must die to your desire to let everyone know what you are going through.”

The truth is this … disciples of every generation are challenged to go to the deepest layer of self and discover that Christ is enough.

He is always enough.

He has always been enough.

He will always be enough.

The third layer of me is where I live by principle and not by preference.

The gut of me is where I know that I know that I know that He will never leave me or forsake me.

At the core of my being, I know that God is good and that He will always have the last word.

And so my third layer is actually the most genuine and truthful part of me. 

The part of me that really matters has attached itself to a Truth so dynamic and powerful that nothing is able to move me from it.

My heart of stone has been removed and a soft heart of compassion and trust has taken its place.

I have experienced His presence where there is always fullness of joy.

I have been to the Rock and water has come pouring out for me.

I have shouted, “Grace! Grace!” to my mountain and it is about to move in Jesus’ Name.

I no longer live in the darkness of emotional pain and disappointment but I gloriously walk in the light of His promises.

I have asked God the hardest questions that my human mind is able to conjure up and I have found Him to be enough.  I have found Him to be more than enough.

The third layer must have the last word, the loudest word and the deciding word. 

My countenance and my soul must recognize that they are not in control of the woman that I am.  I am a woman whose identity lies deep within and who lives for Christ and not for self.

Oh … I am well aware of the fact that my emotions and soul try to diminish the foundational principles in my inner being however day by day I am learning that I am not a two-year-old any more.

I am a woman who was made for more than disappointment.

I was made for more than ranting and raving.

I was made for more than being “real” and sharing my side of the story.

I was made to share His side of the story. 

From the cross of Calvary, Jesus looked across the millennia at my life, and said, “Carol, I am here, on this cross, so that you don’t have to be.  I am dying so that you can live abundantly.  Carol … I have taken not only all of your sins to the cross … but I am also taking everything that will ever cause you emotional pain to the cross.”

It’s time for you to figure out your layers.  What has the final say in your life?

Are you reacting to circumstances like a two-year-old?  Or like the person that God created you to be?

Oh … I don’t always get it right.  But my heart’s desire is to live to glorify Him and to keep my circumstances in their proper perspective.

The focus of my life is to rest in His grace and not in my emotional pain.

And so if you see me as only a girl with a smile on her face … a sparkle in her eyes … and a skip in her step … you will only be viewing that first layer … the visible part of me.  However, if you take the time to look deep within my layers, my heart’s desire is that you will see Him and not me.