I was seven when I told a big lie, a lie I would never forget.
I was already in love with words. I started reading at age four and began writing soon after. At that age, writing meant doodling names or copying words for the sheer pleasure of writing them down.
One afternoon, I sat in my room copying a short story from a library book. I filled the page with Ludwig Bemelman’s words, and had a new idea.
Wouldn’t my parents be impressed to think I wrote this whole story myself?
I tweaked little details and took the completed story to Mom. She read it, intrigued.
Before her stood a girl who loved reading and writing, swimming, biking, and playing school. Who adored all things pink and purple, kitty cats and puppy dogs, and spent hours playing Mommy with any little creature who would allow it.
Large, clunky mammals like elephants were right up there with the very last interest in my world. As was eating meat.
Yet I titled “my first story” The Elephant Cutlet, which could also have been called People Eating Slices of Elephant Meat.
While she asked questions, my face warmed. She knew I didn’t write it. Finally, she asked, “Ang, what is a cutlet?”
I’m guessing my Mom knew what a cutlet was. But I didn’t.
Recently, I remembered this moment and realized something. Sometimes people lie because they think they lack something, and the lie will help them get what they want.
What I wanted back then was to be impressive. Like Mr. Bemelmans.
Don’t we all want to be impressive?
We want people to love us. To think we are special. We want to be picked–paid attention to–admired. When people respond unfavorably, we fall apart, at least on the inside.
But the Gospel of Jesus tells us we already have all we need. We have God’s approval. He loves us, as we are, even before we clean up our act.
But sometimes, even when we’re grateful that Jesus paid it all, the horribly honest truth is–His approval isn’t quite enough for us.There are other things we think we must have. If it’s not people’s admiration, it might be money or comfort or power or relationships or accomplishments.
We chase after those other things, believing we will find life, contentment, and happiness in them.
So what’s the cure?
I can tell you what it’s not. The cure is not to will yourself to stop wanting other things. The cure is not to work really hard and try, try, try to obey His commands. The cure is not in your effort or discipline.
What we need is to behold Him, to see His glory, to experience His love.
For a long time, I saw His gift, but not His glory. I knew all about Him, and I believed to the extent that I could. But then something changed. It was easy and came without my hard work.
When we get a glimpse of God, He changes us. Instead of wanting to be regarded, we regard Him. Instead of wanting to be admired, we admire Him.
In my next post, I’d love to stir up some thoughts on seeing His glory. I hope you’ll come back!