I’ve been doing a lot of writing and soul searching and deadline meeting over the past few days. I’ve also been doing very little sleeping. Maybe you need this repost as much as I do.
“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. Lewis, Mere 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.)
Excellent post, thanks for sharing! I just used this exact C.S. Lewis quote and Bible verse…the truth will set you free…this morning in a teaching I did on “Truth: The Reality of Things As They Are” for my equipping huddle at church. Truth telling and knowing His Truth is so key to growth, freedom, and true intimacy with God and others! We are on the sane wavelength today;) Mandy
Been reading a lot of Lewis lately myself. Just finished the space trilogy for the second time. And am now reading his book about the Psalms. Have you tackled N.T. Wright yet? I share many of your favorite authors, but Wright is up there for me with Dallas Willard when it comes to more modern theologians. I think I will read Mere Christianity next. Thank you for always being so encouraging! and for pursuing beauty!
Cindy Hancock says
Wonderful post, Edie! I think I am sometimes afraid of being “authentic” for fear of rejection and ridicule, or getting the comment…”I would have never known!!!!” (don’t you just love that one). Only God knows our heart, but I know He wants us to share His great love for us with others who are hurting. My prayer each day is for God to help me be “real” to those I meet. The truth does set you free, His truth, that is! I cling to His promises for my life and those who do not know Him. Praying for opportunities to speak “truth” to others in my life. p.s. You are an inspiration to me and so many! I told my husband you were my BFF Blogger! I draw much wisdom from your posts because I know they are sifted through Our Father’s hands first.
Oh Edie! You hit it! Help????!!!!!
Wow. Excellent post! Thanks for this wisdom and inspiration. (p.s. I tried to use the “pin” button but it’s not working. Just wanted to let you know.)
Insightful and true post—Thank you.
I find it hard to be honest, like really openly honest, because by nature we tend to hold things close to our hearts. Recently I’ve been more transparent and vulnerable to my friends as I’ve blogged about my mom’s cancer and how it affects her and my family. I haven’t been shy about my sadness and the impact it has on my kids. And I’ve felt my mom friends reaching out to me a bit more, asking questions they’re afraid to ask her.
One of my girlfriends said it beautifully: We go through our day to day not knowing what our friends are holding inside–what their ‘normal’ is like. We need to open our eyes and ears more to each other and hold our hands out for a hug and good listen.
Kim Daniels says
I honestly I feel like I am emerging. I am letting me be myself more and more. Instead of worrying about where I want to be (after being a SAHM and not really knowing exactly what I want to do when I grow up), I worry about each. day. What will this day bring me? What do I bring to this day? What makes me happy? What inspires me? What do I feel God is calling me to do?
I am trying to lay fear aside. I am trying to push those voices out of my head. I have been reading A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman and Start by Jon Acuff. I haven’t finished either one, but I have been tremendously inspired by both of them.
So here I am.
tara lowry says
CS LEWIS is like a father to me, too.
I’m in a quandary this year…kids all in school..first time by myself at home in 14 years.
harder than I thought.
realizing how much of my identity I’ve put into mothering.
such a balance to know that mothering is the greatest work I’ll ever do, yet understanding that God has put something in me…something to give back to him and to the world around me.
lots of prayers in the last 6 months…this quote from CS LEWIS kind of hit the target of my heart tonight as it has a thousand other times.
I am reminded to seek HIM…not what’s next.
“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.”
Kathleen Jaeger says
I love it when reading a post inspires me to write. And this post did just that — thank you!
Edie, you are so much more than a bridge to Lewis! Honestly, I haven’t read anything lately that has touched me more than your words in this post. Not just saying that to be kind. I am saying that because it is 100% true. (Whoops, okay, not good with numbers, and I have read the Bible lately so better change the percentage a wee bit lower- but not much.)
Your questions, “Are you afraid to be who you really are? Have you insulated yourself from truth to protect your house of cards?” really are so powerful for me today. And then the realization that my “courage to step into the light might be the nudge someone else needs” honestly does take down that house of cards I have built around sharing the truth about myself. Resting in myself does lead to despair and doubt. Resting in Christ is truly life giving and fills me with hope.
Thank you for stepping out there for us with your writing. By the way, loved your video interview with Melanie Shankle. Your authentic spirit and love for truth was fully supported by your caring for others; and that truly does come through in your writing.
Many blessings until next time,
C S Lewis’ quote resonates in my soul. I recently left a job after 13 years. At the time I truly felt “called” away and yet today it seems I am wandering and looking for the self I left behind. The job hunt leaves me hoping and wanting more yet at each unopened door I question my decision, my purpose, my next steps and what “I” have to give. After your post I’m realizing my shift from me to him is essential if I am going to find the peace , healing and direction I long for. Thank you.
Hi Edie Thanks for the insightful and encouraging words. I know who I am in Christ but have trouble translating it into what that looks like in the daily routine of my life. But that’s okay because it makes me have to keep leaning on Jesus. Rhondi xo
This post really did hit home for me. I’ve spent so many years trying to “find myself” and am just now understanding that all of those many facets I thought were me have nothing to do with who I will become from walking with Christ. This transition of my heart in such a short time has been pretty amazing. I thought I was kind-hearted before, but now I am starting to learn how to love the way we were meant to. I know on your survey the results might have said fewer and easier Faith posts, but don’t write for a survey! Keep telling the truth, you have at least reached this one person. Thank you.
Great post! After reading C.S Lewis quotes online and in books for years, I finally decided to read Mere Christianity myself. I started reading it two weeks ago and I keep re-reading certain sections over and over. I borrowed it from the library and now it’s overdue so I really need to buy my own copy.
I feel like living “free” is an area where God is working on for me right now.
Never stop writing Edie-EVER. Your words have a huge impact-more far reaching than you may ever know; their impact spreading in all directions for years and generations to come. There is no other EDIE-you are important and God is using you and your words in miraculous ways. Thank you and keeping plugging away girlfriend!!!
I’m afraid to look at my true self because I’m afraid I’m too hardened and prideful to let The Lord take my pride and hardness and exchange it for beauty! Please pray for softening; for grace to believe and love and receive grace and Christ!
Jen Anderson says
Your writing and words are truth told to me. Thank you for continuing to type Edie. The Lord has been saying so much to me the past week and He confirmed it with your words. You are a gift to so many people.
Thank you for writing this post, for being so honest with your words. New follower, love your blog!
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Absolutely beautiful!! Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through you.