Today we begin our new online Bible study: Behind Those Eyes by Lisa Whittle! I’m so excited to share this book with you all. If you are interested in reading what other ladies are thinking about this text, visit our host, Lelia, and give them some encouragement.
Chapter One: The Truth Hurts
“What you’re after is truth from the inside out.”—Psalm 51:6 MSG
I’ve never heard this version of this verse before. I must admit, it packs a wallop.
The night that I read the first chapter of Behind Those Eyes, I was flipping through the channels on TV. I came across the high def music channel and who should be singin but that cutie Ben Harper (He is just the cutest thing). He was singing a song called Diamonds on the Inside. Here are the lyrics to the first verse of the song:
I knew a girl
Her name was truth
She was a horrible liar
She couldn’t spend one day alone
But she couldn’t be satisfied
When you have everything
You have everything to lose
She made herself a bed of nails
And she’s planning on putting it to use
But she had diamonds on the inside
She had diamonds on the inside
She had diamonds on the inside
Isn’t that ironic? The day we begin to explore authenticity, I hear this song about truth. The truth can be hurtful (like a bed of nails), just as Lisa’s opening story about her brutal honesty as a sweet little six year old girl (can’t you all just see her standing up beside the ugly man?). But Ben Harper is right if he is comparing truth to the beauty of diamonds. It shines.
Have you ever met someone who is real? A what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person? They sparkle, don’t they? We are drawn to these people because we too long to share who we really are. They give us permission to be real too.
Diamonds on the inside. Wearing it on the outside is a little more difficult, though, is it not?
Lisa asks what the word authenticity means to me. It is hard to put into words without sounding judgmental, but I guess it means not being afraid to say what’s on your mind…not pretending to be something you are not. And, yes, I think Jesus still calls us to be authentic in everything we do…especially in our spiritual life.
I love question #3, “…Do you see why difficulties can bring out the truth, though the process may be hurtful?” Through my work at the hospital, I have seen living breathing examples of this. People facing hardship quickly learn to disregard pretense. Their priorities change drastically when a loved one’s life is endangered. They learn to say what is on their mind. Like it or not. The same, I think, can be said of spiritual authenticity. My family has faced a difficult journey these past couple of years. We have struggled with some individuals in our church about different styles of worship. If anything, these disagreements have brought us closer to Jesus. When people are arguing over where the American flag should be placed in the sanctuary, it kind of opens one’s eyes to the sad things we have given priority over genuine worship.
I love what Lisa says on page 13: “A painful truth revealed to us can also be the catalyst for us to become a mere shell of who we really are beneath all of the fluff.” I think this statement truly captures how we so often react to a difficult truth. We hide from it. We withdraw into our hurt. We sulk and protest.
Why is it easier to react this way than to take the criticism and grow from it?
I think Lisa answers that question when she talks about Soul Cravings on page 17. “Make no mistake about it: women are yearning for something real. We’re hungry for truth and authenticity. We crave honesty.”
When we are faced with a truth that is difficult to digest, we often feel rejected. This chapter brings to light the fact that we all want to be accepted and loved for who we are, not for who we pretend to be.
It takes courage to step outside of that fear of rejection. It takes courage to reveal your true self to others.
It takes Diamonds on the inside. Ones that shine so bright they show on the outside too.
I am so looking forward to getting real with you, girlfriends! Shine on!