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Lip Service

Lip ServiceI was watching a cartoon geared toward tweens. In it a young girl discovers she has a pimple. She very quickly goes from being a pleasant little girl to a raging monster. In fact she morphed into a giant green monster who went on a rampage destroying the house while her parents cowered in the corner. Of course this was an exaggeration of how we feel when encountered with the unpleasantness of a zit. Or is it?

The teenage years are tough. Zits don’t help. But why do we get so upset with our physical appearance? Is it because we put so much weight on the outside versus the inside? The outside has become all important. Pleasing the outside is our goal – it’s what we’re teaching our kids and what we were taught all our lives. It’s become our master. We’re slaves!

No!, we cry. We’re islands! We have no master! We do what we want when we want. These are interesting sentiments, but far from reality. We pay lip service to the inside and put lipstick on the outside.

In doing so, we turn into to ugly monsters. Our insides become hollow shells full of fear, envy, jealously, malice and more. Yet, at the same time, there is a raging desire to be fulfilled with a love and acceptance we can barely imagine. Meanwhile, we’re sedated because our outsides are tanned, manicured, plucked, and whitened.

I once witnessed a beautiful and confident business woman stutter and stammer during a sales presentation because she was so worried about her canker sore. It was painful to watch. She kept trying to put her hand over her mouth. Or she kept her face to one side. It was awkward. She was rattled by a tiny blemish! I have nothing against looking great – or wanting to look nice – and I too get rattled by externals. All this tells us is that the outside has become primary. Quite obvious when we get so upset over something like a zit.

These “zit” times are powerful opportunities to examine what we’ve built our foundation on. Would we rather spend our lives keeping up with the Joneses, or truly not care and be completely content with who we are? If the latter, then Jesus is the way. When we experience the incredible love and grace of God the Father, the things of this world grow strangely dim. Then we are free to blossom.

Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson

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