Do I Know You?

Have you ever tried to make someone into the person you needed them to be?

I know a woman who is often says “I’m tired of propping men up so I can lean on them.” She’s been to that place.

Have you ever thought you knew someone only to find out you were terribly mistaken?

I met a man whose wife left him for someone else. “She wasn’t at all who I thought she was.” He explains.

Have you ever been the one who failed to meet someone else’s expectations – expectations you didn’t know they had?

When I switched jobs from a prestigious position in education to an unusual part-time job at the Y, I ran into several former clients who greeted me with dismay. “This isn’t who I thought you were.” They remarked. As if the new job reduced my personhood in some quantifiable way. I’m sure they scurried off to check the advice I had given them from behind my impressive desk with someone who still enjoyed sitting behind an impressive desk.

We go through this with God all the time.

Sometimes we try to make Him into the God we think we need Him to be. We invent a god who suits our wants. We imagine him to be the way we hope He is and in this way, we actually fashion an idol that sits on a stand in our mind’s altar.

Maybe we worship our idol god for a while. We talk to it. Make requests. It works for us sort of but eventually the relationship grows stale. We weary of playing both parts in the conversation. We can’t pretend any longer that it isn’t us writing the script for both roles in our play.

Maybe we get angry with our little god. We shout at him and fight trying to elicit a response only to hear nothing but a small voice from somewhere apart from our idol. “That isn’t really who I am, you know. I am over here.”

Oh.

Sometimes we think we know God and then He does something out of character for who we thought He was. Maybe we have false ideas based on uninformed church people or family or images from Hollywood or Walt Disney.

Maybe we’ve put masks on God – the mask of an abusive parent or an angry preacher. Sometimes the mask is blank because other authorities in our lives have gone missing on us and that has left scars on the lens of our soul’s eye that distorts everything we see, even God.

When God doesn’t act the way we expect Him to act, we feel disappointment and blame Him rather than checking out where we formed our expectations. Often the confusion or bitterness sends us running from Him rather than toward a more a check of our knowledge of Him. He calls to us as we run “Wouldn’t you prefer to know the truth of me? It’s better than the lie you’ve imagined.” But we can’t hear Him now because we’ve stuck our fingers in our ears and closed our eyes against the light of reality.

Oh.

I don’t know why I always think I’m such an authority on who God is when I don’t even know who I am half the time. There are days I look in the mirror and think “Who is this person?” but I’ll turn around and say that I know how God should respond in every situation. There are times when I surprise myself – shouldn’t I be open to being surprised by God?

There are people in my life who think they know everything about me – they believe they’ve got my number and know exactly who I am – and I know they’re dead wrong.

I bet God goes through that all the time.

It’s remarkable to me that He wants to be known. He is the God of revelation – He reveals Himself to us through creation, through His Word and ultimately, through His Son, Jesus. I heard a speaker this past week who said that Jesus is God’s self-portrait. Wow.

Even after following God for four decades, I get wrong ideas of Him stuck in my head. Every day I need to be open to letting Him reveal Himself to me and sometimes that means tearing down false images of which I’ve grown quite fond.

When I touch the truth of God it’s like the time I tasted expensive chocolate and wondered what it was I had been calling chocolate before that moment because my experience with the real thing was life altering and that had never happened with the brown substance wrapped in aluminum at the candy counter at Wal-Mart.

Have you settled for a candy counter god that can picked up in the checkout line at Wal-Mart? I almost did. Much better to be open to the surprise of who He really is.

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7 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Another encouraging article, Lori. Thank you! It’s amazing that God wants to be known, you are so right! Especially by the flawed individuals that we are. I so appreciate your heart. You encourage me.

  2. Andrea says:

    Oh, yea…I have tried to fix and change people. Of course, it NEVER worked. GOD has taught me so many lessons..over and over, again in this area. Obviously, I am a slow learner. I am thankful HE never gives up on me.
    Hugs,
    andrea

  3. Karen says:

    It is a sad thing to find out someone is not who you thought they were. To be witness to one terrible act that says something so unexpected about their entire character. But only God is in the fixing business. Sometimes we just have to step out of the way and let Him work. Sometimes we’ll find He works on us as well.

  4. Carmen says:

    That’s a really excellent post! His ways are beyond finding out…and so we just have to take Him as He is. So…ya…I’m working on that! 🙂

  5. Karin says:

    My heart is grateful that God does reveal Himself and we can get to know Him, through creation, through His Word and through His Son! So thankful that He knows me intimately and is willing for me to know Him! Loved your post!

  6. Praying for each of you faithful women that you will go deeper with Christ and know Him in life-changing ways. Thank you for sharing your hearts!

  7. Cheri says:

    Lori,

    I so love how you have taken an experience we have all had (unmet expectations) and caused us to see it in a whole new light that brings us closer to God.

    Great post!

    Cheri