I had the privilege of receiving an Advance Reading Copy of the book No More Faking Fine: Ending the Pretending by Esther Fleece. The title is what intrigued me as I often feel like I am unable to be real about struggles or tough times in my life. I know that we need to be wise about who we share deeper things with but sometimes I get a little frustrated by the shallowness of many church relationships and interactions. I wondered if this book would talk about being more real in interpersonal relationships.
|Created by Katie Gibson|
In the book Esther Fleece introduces us to the practice of lament, a prayer to God “giving voice to the hurt, frustration, and disappointment you’ve kept inside and silenced for too long.” I was definitely intrigued to learn more about what it means to lament and the promise of increased intimacy with God and others. I really enjoyed the book and would like to share some of my favorite quotes.
God meets us where we are at and not where we pretend to be.
I like this quote for several reasons. We are reminded that we do not have to clean ourselves up or reach a certain level of righteousness before God will accept us. God just wants our heart, regardless of its condition. He is the one that will work in us to make us more holy. This quote also reminds me that we can’t hide anything from God. He sees the inner workings of our bodies. He knows all of our thoughts. There’s no point pretending we’re fine with God because he sees right through our pretenses. We are, therefore, free to be real and honest, even when it’s raw and ugly.
What a kind God we have, who has warned us that pain in this life will come and has given us a language to relate to Him in the midst of it…When we begin to understand God as a God who weeps, we begin to see Him as someone safe to run to in the midst of our pain.
It is actually comforting to be assured that pain is inevitable. We should not be surprised when hurts or challenges come. This world is broken and pain is one of the results of that. However, we can be confident in knowing that we can bring our hurts and struggles and negative emotions to him. He will not reject us or be offended. He loves us and wants us to bring him our pain so that he can provide healing.
We are going to have to stop comparing our pain to others and learn instead to take our pain directly to God, or we simply won’t get anywhere…”It’s not really a big deal” are words we will never hear out of the mouth of God.
I know I am guilty of sometimes thinking that I have no right to be sad or complain because there are many people that have it worse than I do. There are probably people who would love to have my “problems” is sometimes the track in my head. But I was reminded that just because it might be small, it still exists and it still matters to God. He can heal things big and small. He just wants us to turn to him and come to the one who can comfort and heal.
Without the ability to fully lament, I also had no ability to fully forgive. And without forgiveness, I had no option but to live within my own vicious cycle of pain and bitterness.
I like this reminder that we have to acknowledge our hurts and process them in order to be able to move into forgiveness. Many of us try to sweep things under the rug and avoid really looking at them and feeling our emotions because we don’t want to deal with the pain. But ignoring it just allows the hurt to fester and bitterness to grow. Yes, the process of lament might be painful, but it’s better than continuing to ignore an open wound.
I believe forgiveness to be just as much an act of God as His grace is. We need God’s help to forgive, and we need a heavenly perspective to shift our focus off us and back on to God and His help.
I really loved the truth in this. I do often struggle with wanting to forgive but not really feeling like I am able. And here I am reminded that I am not supposed to try to do it alone, that it requires his help for true forgiveness. It comforts me to know that it’s a partnership with God.
It takes courage to rest when the world sees productivity, full-throttle hustling, and chasing big dreams as things of ultimate value. It takes emotional and spiritual maturity to choose to opt out of these things temporarily and take care of your soul.
I struggled a lot last year with learning to rest. I always felt so unproductive and lazy. I am slowly learning that rest is necessary and can actually accomplish a lot of important stuff if I will trust God and his purposes. I am continuing to work on being wise with my time and activities this year. I have half-jokingly titled 2017 “The Year of Less”.
These were some of my favorite quotes from the book. It’s official release date is this coming Tuesday, January 10th. If you pre-order it before then, there are a bunch of extra freebies for you. I would recommend making this part of your reading list for 2017!