I live in the world of Marketing. I’ve been doing church marketing for the past 17 years and I’ve really seen and done it all. And one of the most frustrating equations I’ve come in contact with is that perception=truth. It doesn’t really matter what you intend or even what you say, it’s how people view it that determines their “truth” of the situation. Does that make it right? Certainly not! But for some reason we, as a nation, have gotten very good at reserving the right to determine the truth of a situation based on our feelings and not on the facts. The “common” way of thinking is certainly perception over truth. You can tune in to any channel on the tv and see real life examples of how how quickly the flame is fanned when it comes to perception and how little space there is for truth.
The Uncommon Woman values truth more than perception.
How can we become “uncommon” when it comes to our perception and the truth? I think one of the best ways to begin to embrace truth over my perception is to begin by understanding God’s truth. His truth is constant despite our feelings and beliefs. His love for us never changes. It’s kind of like gravity and math – what goes up will always come down and 1+1 will always add up to 2. (If you’re some kind of math genius don’t whip out any funky formula on me. I like it when 1+1=2).
I like the way Susie says it on page 96…”God’s precious and powerful truth sets us free…not accomplishments, not money, not impressive associations, not a respectable position, not a polished presentation, or even the world’s perception of us. Only our acceptance of God’s divine love and our belief in His ability to restore will set us free and make us into the uncommon women we were always meant to be.”
So in a image driven world, how are we supposed to know what the truth is. With enough marketing and exposure you can be led to believe just about anything about anybody. We see it every day.
Here’s how it’s stated on the bottom of page 97: “In a postmodern culture that’s made a negotiable, organic, fluid, optional item, why is it essential for the uncommon woman to defy the norm and stake her life upon the truth? What is truth, exactly?” Truth isn’t arbitrary depending on your feelings for the day. Truth is a person. If you’re looking for truth…look at the way that Jesus lived His life.
I’ve found that when you start with a good foundation, you can apply what you know to a larger set of circumstances. So, let’s look as Susie takes us back to the basics on page 98.
- The truth of God’s Word forgives our sin…and we sin…so we need this truth.
- The truth of God’s Word restores…and we get depleted…so we need this truth.
- The truth of God’s Word convicts…and we are selfish…so we need this truth.
When we look past the outward appearance and begin to look through the lens of Jesus we start seeing our circumstances with a different set of eyes.
As we move further into being an “uncommon woman” in this area it is critical that we begin to respond to the truth rather than to react to someone’s actions. When we respond to actions we’re basing our perception on feelings, misinterpretations, and conjecture rather than the truth.
It’s when we allow God to work in those dark places in our lives that proves our willingness to be the
“uncommon woman” He wants us to be. I like the way Susie bring it all back together on page 100 where she writes “Even though we are clean because we are in Christ…we still have the problem of our dirty feet. This issue isn’t with our identity, but with our whereabouts. Our dirty feed do not speak of who we are, but rather of where we have been.” Stated to the point. Once we’re on God’s team we won’t be cut, the issue is are we sidelining ourselves because of the things we say, the places that we go, books that we read (for women this is especially true), the thoughts that we allow to invade our thoughts…the list could go on. This is the dirt that covers our feet.
Where have you been walking lately?
People are going to do things to wrong us. They are going to say things about us that we’d rather they kept to themselves. They are going to fling dirt at us that we simply can’t avoid. It’s kind of like my 6 year old and the mud hole that forms every time it rains. It is simply unavoidable. And the sad thought is that we’re going to do the same to others. So, how do we deal with it.
I’d like to finish this week with this thought from the bottom of page 101.
- Remember the muddy water from our own sin and remember how good it feels to pull your own clean feet from the bowl.
- Strive to have a gentle heart toward others.
- Accept God’s grace and make a commitment to pass it on.
- Remember what Jesus did for us and do the same for others.
- Be determined to see others how Christ sees us: Loved. Forgiven. Called. Chosen.
It’s when we know who we are in Christ that we are able to let go of others perception of us and embrace Truth instead.
What About You?
Here are some practical questions I’ll walk through with my class. (As always…when you join me live you get the goofy stories from my everyday life.)
1. Read Proverbs 9:10
Knowing the Holy One results in understanding. The more we know God’s heart, the more we appreciate the work of His hands. The more we trust His intentions, the more we entrust ourselves to Him.
- Look back over this past year of walking with God. Do you see anything differently today than you did a year ago?
- Have certain values or convictions changed? Explain.
2. Read 1 John 3:1
Divide this verse into three parts.
- When was the last time you just sat in the presence of God. How often do you slow down long enough to “catch” all of the love He is pouring out for you?
- Being identified as someone the Creator loves totally affects your identity. How has being associated with Jesus affected your identity? How has it affected your everyday life?
- In what ways do you feel misunderstood by the world because of your belief system? How does that make you feel?
3. Read 1 John 3:2
- Describe in your own words what you think this verse means?
4. Read 1 John 3:3
Though we spend millions of dollars trying to improve ourselves, and way too much energy trying to prove ourselves, when what we really need is to be purified. The pure in heart see God.
- Dare to take a look inside yourself and identify those areas where you are striving for position and perception and write a prayer committing those areas to God.
- Ask Him to renew your heart and your perspective.
We’ll end our classes with this prayer from your book.
The more I learn about myself, the more I realize my need for You. And the more I get to know You, the more amazed I am that You delight in knowing me. Open my eyes to see beyond what’s in front of me that I might live more fully for You. Open my ears to hear what You’re saying above the clamor and striving of this world. Settle my heart to know that it’s through intimacy and abiding that my life will bear much fruit. Enlarge my heart to love others no matter what the world thinks of them. Take me by the hand and lead me along the uncommon path that I might know and give the other worldly love You have given me. Precious Savior, lead me on. Amen”
Next week – Chapter 7 where the Uncommon Woman chooses mercy over judgment.
If you’d like to join this study in real time…I’m teaching it at HopePark Wednesday Mornings & Thursday Nights. If you’re a Nashville local, the door is always open. We’re at 8001 Hwy. 70 South, just off I-40. Online at http://hopepark.com and on twitter @hopepark.
Me…well you can find me twittering @jodytodd.
Have a great week!
Questions and assigned quotes from the study by Susie Larson entitled The Uncommon Woman.