your real, new self

by Edie Wadsworth on February 4, 2013

“Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end. Submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
― C.S. LewisMere Christianity

C.S. Lewis’s words have been my company this weekend because I’ve read him so much that he’s like a father to me.  I leaned into him while I worked.  He has an unparalleled way of articulating his thoughts.  After reading him, it’s almost ridiculous to think I should keep on writing.  Why should I write anything when the world has Lewis’ words?  But perhaps my words could in some way be a bridge to him—the way he has been a bridge for me to so many authors I wouldn’t have read otherwise like George McDonald , G.K. Chesterton and John Milton.  What if Lewis had said, “Well, maybe I shouldn’t write because the world has Homer and Milton.”

So, I kept on tapping the keyboard.

And he’s so right, too.  We need not try so hard to be original.  We just need to tell the truth.

With our art and with our lives.

Tell the truth.

But truth-telling is dangerous because if you give it an inch, it’ll take you over.

You begin to know truth in one corner of your heart and it takes like wildfire.

Pretty soon, all the lies you’ve been harboring about yourself and your life will crumble right down, in a heap of ashes.

And at that very point, when you’re tempted to despair, remember Lewis’ words,

“ Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.”

The Father of all truth will take your ruins—your ash heap of pride, pretense, selfish ambition, greed, hatred and hopelessness—and He will make the great exchange.

He will give you life.  He will teach you humility.  He will make you generous.  He will make you selfless.  He will give you hope.

He will raise you up and make you blessed.

You will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free.

**************************

If you haven’t read Mere Christianity , don’t delay—I can’t think of a better way to start the week.  Or the month.  Or the year.

Are you afraid to be who you really are?  Have you insulated yourself from truth to protect your house of cards?

Your courage to step into the light might be the nudge someone else needs.

What is one thing you can do today to inch closer to truth.

What’s holding you back from finding ‘your real, new self’?

(I’m asking myself all the same, difficult questions.  I’d love to talk about it in the comments.)

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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gretchen February 4, 2013 at 7:27 am

How appropriate your words are for my Monday morning. My pastor just did a sermon yesterday on truth and love and how they go hand in hand. He focused on 2 John 1-6. We need to speak the truth in love. We also need to love to show the truth of our faith. Sacrificial love is sharing our material possessions at the very least; laying down our lives at best. Sacrificial love is what most accurately bears witness to Jesus. Living in the trenches while extending His love to other people. He loved us while we were yet sinners. Can you love those who won’t love you back?

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2 edie February 4, 2013 at 11:51 am

Yes, Gretchen and even better news is his perfect sacrificial love toward us. I think once we let that seep way down deep in our hearts, the sharing it, even to those who won’t love back, is unavoidable!
Thanks for sharing your heart.
xo,
edie

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3 Martha February 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm

The one thing I have experienced on my journey in being ” brutally honest” with myself is how liberating it can be on my relationships with others. The more I expose myself and who I really am, the more my relationships develope into something truly special. Every time I walk out onto ” the plank” it feels like God is their to catch me.
Eddie you are a pure joy to read and I look forward to everyone of your posts,thank you xx

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4 edie February 7, 2013 at 6:46 am

oh, this is so true, martha! and it leads others to true relationship.
thank you for sharing and for the kindness.
xoxo,
edie

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5 Heather February 4, 2013 at 7:27 am

What if you do not know who you are? What if you have been so busy being all the other roles you thought you were supposed to be, such as wife of x, mom to z and q, that you have lost yourself somewhere along they way. What if pain and anger have caused you to bury the true you to the extent you really need a map and compass to find who you are. I am trying to find me again because who I have been is someone who has been hiding from a painful past. I want to thank you Edie for believe it or not helping be a guide for me on this. Meaning to or not, my dear, you have been instrumental in helping me sort out my thought processes. Thank you for being my compass.

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6 Wanda February 4, 2013 at 10:29 am

Heather, I am so the with you and I suspect that I am much older than you( late 50′s). After spending years raising 4 daughters, I too am struggling to find out who I am when not defined by someone else or by what I do. I have recently been layed off from teaching and have not been able to find another job in this economy . I am taking care of the newest grandchild right now. This has given me time, lots of time, to think, reflect, and learn to pray like I never have. It is a struggle everyday as I have been covered with the grief of burying my parents and only brother ( my entire original family) and can’t seem to break through it. Recently, I discovered Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, and it has begun to open me up to amazing grace. Listing the things i am thankful for each day has given me a smile that has Ben missing for a long time. Maybe this would be a beginning? I will pray for you as we both continue to find our way.

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7 Tammie February 5, 2013 at 9:30 am

Wanda,
I’m also in my 50′s, unable to find a job and counting 1000 gifts. We are so blessed to have these beautiful women writing blogs and teaching us more and more about the Lord. You are not alone. Praying for you girlfriend.

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8 edie February 4, 2013 at 11:57 am

Heather,
I think the ‘losing of yourself’ is exactly what Lewis is talking about—-that’s when you find who you really are. The part that came before Lewis’ quote says this,

“But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away ‘blindly’ so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality; but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether.”

And surrender the pain and anger too, because He will use it all, all the suffering, all the ‘losing of ourselves’ to make us who we have always been in Him.

And it’s so easy to despise the struggle, but in that very struggle, He is remaking you.
Much love to you. Thank you for your truth-telling and your brave vulnerability.
xoxo,
edie

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9 Trudy K. February 5, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Wisdom is for all ages. I am going to be 60 years old on my birthday next week. I so appreciate Edie’s sharing with us of her life experiences and her FAITH. When I was in my mid 40′s and into my 50′s I spent plenty of time “trying to find myself” (after the death of one of my sons, grief can be devastating) and I had several friends that choose that path too. There were times when I thought I made progress, but it was a fleeting, almost momentary thing. What I am saying is that I tried some of the new paths that so many embrace; but in the end I whole-heartedly agree with Mr Lewis “The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether…it will come when you are looking for HIM.” (I am blessed to be a prodigal daughter.)We have a great resource in Life in Grace and don’t forget the archives.

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10 Ruth February 4, 2013 at 7:34 am

“Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end. Submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours.”
Truly some very important questions to contemplate this Monday morning. What holds me back the most is fear of failure, fear of not being accepted. I begin to wonder if I even have anything truly worth sharing with anyone else. Maybe the real truth is not what my carnal flesh wants, I may want the easy road and not the tumultuous path that will lead me to the truth. At times, I wonder if the facade was stripped and I was laid bare would I like what I see about my true self??
Thanks for opening up a discussion here. I struggle with this daily.

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11 Marie at the Lazy W February 4, 2013 at 8:28 am

I agree Ruth…fear of being alone can be powerful. Fear of rejection. It’s lessened with me over the years but does linger.

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12 Ruth February 4, 2013 at 11:21 am

It is such a struggle for me, Marie. I feel that I haven’t truly found my niche yet, followed by fear that if I truly give into my passion, it won’t be what’s expected of me.
Ruth

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13 Marie at the Lazy W February 5, 2013 at 10:03 am

I totally relate to that., the doubt of my instincts being wrong compared to everyone else’s judgement. But it takes me right back to the idea that you’re not below anyone else, and that you were created for your own purpose. xo

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14 edie February 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Yes, Ruth, the fear! Those are all lies from the one who wants us to hide, to worry about what others think, to doubt that we have something worth sharing. But the thing we have worth sharing is Christ, and how His love transforms even the most mundane, ordinary days into something beautiful.
Love you and love your struggle.
:)))

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15 Jill February 4, 2013 at 7:49 am

Thank you for this post, Edie. I look forward to exploring this further, and reading what others have to say. Off topic, Or maybe not(!) I am wondering what type of church you would go to if a Lutheran church was not available to you. We were just relocated because of my husbands work and the nearest Lutheran church is over an hour away (in good weather). Thanks!

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16 edie February 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I have a one track mind on the gospel so I’d evaluate everything through that lens. Is the gospel preached every week? Is there a high view of the Lord’s Supper and is the Supper served often? Those things probably rule out 90% of churches in America. And maybe 95% of churches in my town.

(We drive an hour to church,btw)

I’m not saying you should do that but we’d drive further than that to get the consistent gospel preaching and frequent Lord’s Supper that we do at our church. It’s getting harder and harder to find the real thing.

Hope that helps:)

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17 Kerri February 4, 2013 at 7:58 am

This post is really close to my heart this morning. It is something I have been especially struggling with since the start of the new year. I have made the decision to really focus on my health and lose the 20 lbs I gained years ago during pregnancy. But it is not as easy as it seems. I see so many others who have made the commitment and the change. As a mom and a teacher, I am a role model to others. I also feel that there are other areas of my life professionally that I am to “afraid” to explore. I bought Mere Christianity a few years ago upon your suggestion, yet I haven’t read it. Tonight I will begin reading it! Thank you Edie!

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18 edie February 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Thanks for sharing, Kerri! Yes, it’s one of those books that re-centers me. I felt like I was reading it again for the first time.
xoxo,
edie

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19 Southern Gal February 4, 2013 at 8:02 am

You have no way of knowing this, but God does. I picked “Mere Christianity” from my bookcase this past week and then laid it down on the end table next to my reading spot. I’ve glanced sideways at it a couple of times and left it laying there. Because I know what’s going to happen when I read it again. You just gave me the nudge to go ahead and crack it open. It’s what He says I need right now. Thank you.

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20 Marie at the Lazy W February 4, 2013 at 8:26 am

Now that is cool. xoxo

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21 edie February 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Love it, Renee!
Happy reading:)))

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22 Marie at the Lazy W February 4, 2013 at 8:25 am

Well, to say “I couldn’t have said it better myself’ is funny and ironic, and just in step with your message, right? Beautiful written, and also a great set of reminders and encouragements.
In all kinds of writing I agree that the gritty truth is the best, and in all kinds of living too. It does take a measure of courage. And risk. But it is liberating and, as you said, redeeming.
My little sister used to say “Live your own truth.” No matter what others think of you, however your life looks from the outside, live your own truth and be happy. Thank you Edie. Sending this to a friend. xo

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23 edie February 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm

your writing is always so lovely:)

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24 Marie at the Lazy W February 5, 2013 at 10:04 am

As is yours ma’am. Thank you Edie. xo

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25 Kim B February 4, 2013 at 8:33 am

Thank you, thank you for this post. It was definitely a God wink. I am going to buy Mere Christianity today. Keep it up, you are making a difference in His name.

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26 edie February 4, 2013 at 8:47 pm

thank you, kim.
and you’ll love the book.
:))

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27 Sarah @ An Inviting Home February 4, 2013 at 8:59 am

I was contemplating on if I should hit publish after writing this post (http://www.aninvitinghome.com/2013/02/posting-about-stirred-up-stuff.html) last night. I read this post of yours this morning and just decided to go for it. Thanks for writing about the beautiful and for telling the truth.

~Sarah

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28 edie February 7, 2013 at 6:37 am

thank you for sharing, sarah!
blessings to you :)

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29 Amy February 4, 2013 at 9:11 am

I finished Mere Christianity about a month ago and it changed everything. I have 7 kids and I told my teens to read it! I was intimidated by the age of the book thinking itwould be hard to read or follow. C S Lewis is a genius in explaining things that are not easily explained. His analogies are perfect. It was not a hard read. It made so much sense I found myself saying “Exactly!” outloud as I read it! It told my kids to get a highlighter ready because they won’t want to forget parts. Thanks for reminding meto pick it up again! And yes keep on writing because you are a different perspective than C S Lewis. He wasn’t a mother or a woman. I appreciate all your thoughts and discussions on this! As a stay at home mom of many children with a crazy schedule and life, who am I going to talk Lewis with? Your little my little book club fix that I wouldn’t normally be able to fit into a very busy life. Thank you!

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30 edie February 4, 2013 at 8:49 pm

amy,
so glad you enjoyed it.
and yay, for you, making time to read with all those kiddos!
thank you for the encouragement, too.
much love,
edie

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31 Ann w February 4, 2013 at 9:42 am

I have been struggling with laying my life down and being selfless….how much is being selfless and when does it become being a doormat? There are people that will take advantage and you have to stand up for yourself but then I feel like I’m the worst person around and totally selfish…? I will be reading Mere Christianity,thanks!

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32 Heather February 4, 2013 at 9:43 am

I love Mere Christianity (and C.S. Lewis in general). Thank you for the reminder of this amazing passage!

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33 mandy February 4, 2013 at 9:48 am

Thank you….wonderful read and I enjoy your blog…I just quit teaching high school English…for 16 years…to stay home with my new baby and two other preciuosnesses…I am working on a teaching for a group of women at church this week that deals with truth telling and discipline…I was listening to a talk this morning and the speaker said there is no true intimacy with God or His people without truth….just love all these nuggets of truth!!!! Mandy

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34 Jeana February 4, 2013 at 10:29 am

Oh Edie. This has been one of the hardest aspects of my life. It has taken me years to let God show me the truth. I was reading back through your blog last night (who needs football?!) and your post Beautiful Feet wrecked me. I agree with everything you said and have the hardest time letting what Christ did be enough. Knowing there’s nothing else to be done, nothing bigger and better. So much to ponder. I also (admitting my sermon stalking) listen to your preacher’s sermon about Being Like a Child. Just being and believing. Such a simple truth! I have Mere Christianity on one of my bookshelves. Off to find it! Well, after school with the boys. Have a beautiful week Edie!

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35 edie February 4, 2013 at 8:56 pm

thank you so much for sharing, jeana!
and i tell you what, that pastor of mine is amazing.
he preaches Christ every single week.
i’m so thankful for him. glad i’m not the only one who sermon stalks!!
xo,
edie

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36 Judith February 4, 2013 at 10:34 am

Hands down my favorite book by Lewis. Thank you for sharing this quote! Every time I read this book, I find new little nuggets of goodness. I love that. And now I feel compelled to re-read Mere Christianity again… :)

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37 Meg February 4, 2013 at 10:45 am

I have never read Lewis. I guess I figured it was too deep. True confessions- I admire you all for thinking so deeply. Sometimes LIFE itself is hard and I go to light reading, blog reading, baking and knitting. Maybe time to shake it up??

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38 ellen February 4, 2013 at 10:46 am

here’s something true: i needed these words this morning so very much.

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39 edie February 4, 2013 at 8:49 pm

bless you, ellen!

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40 KTG February 4, 2013 at 10:50 am

“Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”

Wow I enjoyed these words! I am looking for Christ today. Eph 3:17
I need “margin” (started reading the book) to explore things that are holy.
My toddlers ask me for something aproximately every 5 minutes. I can choose to fill the time escaping to build myself up again or accepting and find Christ right where I am today.

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41 edie February 7, 2013 at 6:38 am

thank you for sharing!
having little ones at home is such a hard season.
we think we’re teaching them.
but God is teaching us even more.
Much love,
edie
:)

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42 Shannon@MishmashMama February 4, 2013 at 10:50 am

Hey there Edie. First, I have to say that your ebook is breaking my heart, uplifting my soul, and inspiring my mind all at once. So, thank you for that! Second, as a yogi, I try to practice the principle of “satya”, elegantly explained by Donna Farhi: “It may mean making choices that are not supported by consensual reality or ratified by the outer culture. The truth is rarely convenient. One way we can know we are living the truth is that while our choices may not be easy, at the end of the day we feel at peace with ourselves.”

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43 edie February 4, 2013 at 8:51 pm

awww, thank you sweet shannon!

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44 debi February 4, 2013 at 11:18 am

What a very wise thing to share with your followers….not truer words.

What a blessing,

Hugs!

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45 LLH Designs February 4, 2013 at 11:39 am

I, too, am a huge fan of C.S. Lewis, and Mere Christianity is one of my all-time favorites. I’ve given it away many times. And thank GOD Lewis didn’t hide his gift just because there were “greater” ones who came before him. Such an encouragement to us. Thanks for making me think of it that way!

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46 meg @ pure&simple February 4, 2013 at 12:10 pm

This is absolutely 100% what I needed to hear this week. Thank you for being a bridge to truth. The fear of not being original can be paralyzing – but it’s a much greater thing to pursue truth telling. Thanks for the encouragement Edie!

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47 Claire @ A Little Claireification February 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm

I absolutely love “Mere Christianity”. Thanks for sharing this – reminds me to read it again!
xo, Claire

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48 Cheryl February 4, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I can’t tell you how often I’ll have some deep thought (and be pretty impressed with myself) and then I’ll go, “I wonder where that came from?” and then the answer is, “Oh, yeah, C.S. Lewis.” Always.

As good, as deep, as useful as “Mere Christianity” is, his most important book in my life is “The Great Divorce.” I meet people out of that book every single day. I reread it at least once a year. There is nothing like it.

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49 Dawn February 4, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Trying so hard to be original definitely holds me back. I’ll often think of something I want to write, then read something similar somewhere, which makes me think, “why bother now, someone else already did it better”.
Thank you for sharing these words today. It was good timing too. I had just remarked to my husband that for the first time in a long while, I no longer had any books waiting to be read, that I didn’t know what I was going to read next. You mentioned Mere Christianity, and I just happened to have it sitting on my shelf, unread. I started reading it at breakfast this morning, and I’m loving it.

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50 edie February 4, 2013 at 8:53 pm

oh, i just ordered a fresh amazon stack and can’t decide what to read first.
but you can never go wrong with Lewis!
:)))

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51 missy February 4, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Oh gosh, I love C.S. Lewis. Thanks for reminding me that I need to pull some of those books out to reread.

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52 Katie @ KatieTevis.com February 4, 2013 at 6:47 pm

As a Christian, I debated for quite a while about whether or not to share my divorce story with others (http://katietevis.com/christian-divorced-finding-joy-in-a-season-of-grief/). I was ashamed and embarrassed and just wanted to disappear. But it is my story, ugly as it may be, and it was a season of growth for me that drew me so incredibly close to God. For that reason, I can now see it as beautiful…

Thank you for this post. I was very blessed to read your ebook this weekend.

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53 Jennifer February 4, 2013 at 7:31 pm

I’m always afraid the “real me” won’t be good enough…and so I falter and stumble and stall. I purchased the book about a month ago and haven’t dug myself out from under the piles of “have to’s” to find enough time to read it, you’ve encouraged me to pick it up and lose myself and hopefully find myself and my courage to move forward in my life and art. Thank you Edie for bringing joy and encouragement to so many of my days.

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54 Carol S. February 4, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Oh my, so many important and lofty ideas here…and I’m feeling bad about not being able to take off the holiday pounds! I’m determined to work out this body and am thinking my body is in worse shape than my mind/spirit. But, appreciate the inspiration and your readers views. I think I have this book in my home (son read it reluctantly in high school, required reading) and will need to resurrect it. He had to read The Odyssey as well, and I recall secretly reading it along with him and I ditched quickly, too heavy for me. I may have given Mere Christianity a try back then, and perhaps it was just not my season for reading as I didn’t get far on that book either? And I do love to read. OK just checked, I have The Joyful Christian by C.S. Lewis on hand, so maybe I’ll start there.

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55 Laura February 4, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Edie! I sooo needed to hear this today! Thank you! And I am planning to read Mere Christianity soon!

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56 Francy February 5, 2013 at 8:59 am

Edie,
I read your post yesterday morning and was absolutely blown away. I wanted to comment but could not find the right words to say. This is exactly what I have been struggling with over the last few months. Mr. Lewis put it so eloquently. Thank you for bringing it home.

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57 Shawna Ford February 5, 2013 at 11:17 am

As I prepare for tomorrow’s bible study in my home I am amazed at God’s timing. The topic is fear and I find it more than just coincidental that I read your blog and the comments below. Fear can be a huge reason why we don’t want to lose ourselves in Christ, or speak truth, or dare to be who He created us to be. How refreshing to come here today and find that we all struggle with this issue and can also find comfort in each other and in God and his abundant love and grace for us. Thank you again, Edie, for another wonderful post!

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58 Heidi of Operation Organization February 5, 2013 at 2:30 pm

LOVE C.S. Lewis!

Wouldn’t it have been so interesting to study alongside him? I toured Magdalen College and visited ‘The Eagle and Child’ pub where he met regularly with J.R.R. Tolkien when I studied abroad in Oxford as a college student.

I’m currently reading ‘The Screwtape Letters’ as I am observing some distinct spiritual warfare going on in my world.

Mere Christianity is up next (I’ve only read bits and pieces of it before)

Current Favorite quote:
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Brooke Fraser echos it well:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoA64YFoA1s

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59 Trudy K. February 5, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Thank you Edie, just what I needed to hear.

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60 tara lowry February 6, 2013 at 1:14 pm

read it years ago….gonna make it my february read….thanks for the nudge.

beautiful truth spoken today…
“Nothing that has ever died in you will be raised from the dead.”

YES and AMEN!

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61 Rachel February 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Coming into this discussion a little late … because I had to think about it. And the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. And the more sense it made, the more profound it became. So here I am. And I’ve spent hours at my computer writing the words I’ll attempt to spew out in front of an audience in 2 little months at my local homeschool conference. And I wonder if I’ve anything new to offer, to say. Hasn’t it all been said? But my friend is the one who volunteered me – seeing something in me about being organized and thinking I had something to share with others. I’ve never spoken like this in front of a crowd and the fear grips me! And then I read your words above and those of Lewis and I could breathe. Still scared, but I caught my breath! Thanks for the perspective. Really.

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62 Kelly February 7, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Thank you for this post. I needed this push!

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63 {darlene} @ fieldstonehilldesign February 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Yes. Keep writing. We need YOUR truth. YOUR voice.
golly…. God didn’t create you to HUSH.
love you!

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64 Tiffany February 7, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Amen, Edie!! Amen, amen, a-men!~ <3

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65 jen T February 14, 2013 at 9:52 am

I appreciate your thoughts…

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66 Laura@Ms Smartie Pants February 15, 2013 at 3:23 am

I keep finding these 2 messages over and over and I am thinking that they are directed at me and that I need to pay attention. How do I surrender and how do I find my truth? I so badly believe this is what I need to do but don’t know how to begin. I’m at a pivotal place in my life, my last of 4 children graduated from high school last June and my husband passed away after a very short bout with cancer in Aug. I am a Christian and I believe in these words of CS Lewis, I just don’t know how to begin.

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67 Andrea May 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm

So I have been doing a lot of dreaming searching lately and I needed to hear this. I have desperately tried looking for my next invocation, my true life’s passion, what it is I need to do with my life, when Jesus was right there in front of me telling me He can lead my path straight. Takes a few angels to guide your way I suppose. First off, I need to dust off my Mere Christianity book I bought but have never read. Second I am going to bookmark your page as you speak truths I have seemed to have forgotten getting lost in my hooplah of finding my life’s passion. Thank you for posting this.

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