Lies I’ve Told

I’ve mentioned before what a liar I used to be. You may or may not be interested in knowing that I haven’t really changed.

As a kid, some of the phrases I used the most included:

I didn’t do it.

She [insert sibling’s name] did it.

He [insert another sibling’s name] made me do it.

I don’t know what happened.

Most of them were a panicked response to the trouble I’d found myself in. Motivated by the desire to avoid detection of whatever-it-happened-to-be-that-I’d-done-wrong, and resulting punishment. I tend to think I’ve grown past these kinds of lies (aka Garden of Eden Lies), moving on to less harmful ones, such as:

No, it’s fine.

I don’t care one way or the other.

I’m sure whatever you decide will be fine.

Feel free to correct my mistakes.

That [insert anything here] was very interesting!

I wasn’t thinking of anything in particular.

Yes, I’m sure.

My middle name is Frances.

I have a twin sister.

I really don’t have an opinion either way.

I’m completely content with what’s been decided.

I completely understand.


I classify most of these as the Polite Lies, the ones that almost no one calls me out on. Social niceties, I guess, dictate that, if someone wants to withhold her opinion, she’s allowed to lie and say she had no opinion to begin with. It’s okay to say something you don’t mean, sometimes. When the situation calls for it. And they aren’t always lies, just sometimes.

There’re other categories of lies, I think–Pointless Lies is one, of which “My middle name is Frances,” would be an example. I tell these mostly out of curiosity, just to see if people will believe me. If I think about it too hard, it sounds kind of sinister–almost as if I’m trading on a reputation as a generally honest person.

I suppose I could classify any sort of fiction or stories I write as lies–seeing as they don’t match up with reality, strictly speaking. But that’s not really what I’m getting at. The strangest thing for me is this idea that we say things we don’t mean. That I say things I absolutely do not mean.

Sometimes, I think, my motivation is pure–that I really am trying to be “completely content with whatever’s been decided.” So, rather than keep saying what I really think, I give that opinion up. So then I guess I really don’t have an opinion. But I did have an opinion at one point.

I don’t know. This is a ramble and I have no answers to the questions I haven’t even asked yet. What got me thinking about it in the first place was a quotation I read by A.W. Tozer, in which he claimed that the Christian is prone to lying whenever he sings certain hymns. Hymns such as “I Surrender All,” I mean, where it’s easy to just start singing the chorus over and over without getting into your heart and mind what the words mean.

I know what he meant, I think. Growing up, my church would sing this one song in particular that bothered me to sing. It’s called “Are Ye Able, Said the Master,” and I think you can find the text here:

Are Ye Able, Said the Master (

If you’re reading this, and it happens to be your favorite hymn, please comment and share with me why it’s so good. I’d genuinely like to know.

Anyway, I understand it’s important to be conscious of what we sing in worship to God. Sometimes I can’t sing hymns, because I’m all too conscious of something in my life I haven’t surrendered to Him yet. Generally when that happens I read the words, still, and pray that I would be able to sing them earnestly.

That only brings me to the other category of Lies, which is Lies I Tell to God. Which is ridiculous that that’s even a category, because the God I believe in is omniscient and already knows the truth about whatever-it-is-I’m-attempting-to-disguise. Ridiculous.

These lies include but are by no means limited to:

I want you to humble me, God.

I desire Your will to be done above all else, even if it’s uncomfortable for me. Even if it’s not what I wanted or had planned.

Guide me even when I can’t see the end clearly.

Teach me patience.

I am content with where You have me, in the situation in which You’ve placed me, and with the gifts You’ve given me, and I need nothing else except you.


Okay, okay, now. Are they always lies? No. Sometimes, I mean it when I pray for patience and humility. Then I remember that He answers those prayers and, I further remember, the process by which He teaches those particular lessons is not exactly my favorite. Being taught patience requires practicing patience. Ditto for humility.

So sometimes I think it’s possible to pray nice, lovely things and not mean a word of it. Because I’ve done it myself. And what I’m wondering is this: isn’t it a sin to lie to God? So I would think someone like Tozer would advise not praying if I’m not gonna mean it.

Okay. But what if it’s more that I don’t mean it, but I want very much to mean what I say. When I say, “I am content with what You’ve given me,” maybe what I really mean to say is, “I want to be content with what You’ve given me.” I just don’t see how I can mean any of the things I pray if God doesn’t help me to mean them.

If He does not answer that very first prayer–“Change my heart, God”– before we’ve prayed it, I don’t understand how on earth our hearts are ever changed.

Thanks for reading. Comment if you’d like!


The Pursuit of God, part two

Alright, friends, so this is pretty much what it sounds like from the title–a continuation of my reading of The Pursuit of God, by a man named Aiden Wilson Tozer (I kind of prefer the name A.W.). If you aren’t a fan of what I wrote last time, no worries, sooner or later I’ll finish the book and get back to writing about important things like moped accidents. Or not, I don’t know.

Anyway, I’ve been making my way through the book, and I’ve been enjoying it because it’s made me think of a variety of connections with C.S. Lewis, Chesterton, and other authors. I’ve had some questions, and I’ve seen places where I don’t automatically assent, but I’ve had to wrestle with ok, what does this mean when I try and live it out?

Case in point: the second chapter, entitled “The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing.” Like this post, and this blog in general, the chapter is pretty much what it sounds like. Basically, Tozer goes through the story of Abraham and Isaac and declares the importance of truly dying to oneself and one’s possessions–even if one holds on to possessions such as loved ones and relationships out of fear for their safety. Things, says Tozer, get in the way of our knowing God. Specifically, it’s the trying to keep things, even the blessings God gives, that hinders us from following him.

This is a hard chapter for me, and I wasn’t sure about the idea of including it, because it involves a change in my own outlook, especially as regards my family and friends and my plans for the future. I still think they are mine, as this blog is mine, to do with as I please. See, I guess it’s pretty obvious how often I don’t trust God to do what is best. I’m still struggling with this chapter, so I won’t say more except to include two quotations it made me think of. The first is from Matthew 6, toward the end of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, where he is talking about worry.

Jesus says, “Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (emphasis mine)

Well, please be gracious to me if you’re a bible scholar and I’m doing something awful to these verses by not quoting the entire context, but it seems like Tozer is making a similar point to the one Jesus was making. Tozer says we’re prone toward “self” and wanting to keep our selves (and all that we own) safe and happy, and that’s what we’re concerned with, until we give all of it over to God. Jesus tells us not to worry about necessities (Tozer’s “things”) because God is good and knows what we need. Both say to seek God.

The other thing I thought of was something Jim Eliot said. I first learned about Jim Elliot from my brother, I think, when he read Dave and Neta Jackson’s Trailblazer series. The Jacksons wrote all these books for children about Christian missionaries, and they were always in a historical-fiction setting, with the main character usually an imagined younger person who might have been there and observed their ministry. It’s a great series. Anyway, the quote I thought of is this: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

I’ve had to turn that thought over and over to try and really get it. It’s not a comfortable thought, maybe–especially not at first (or second or third) glance. It seems more like something that becomes more true to a person as he lives his life according to it. Even if you assent to it being true, it only becomes sweeter after living it out.

Anyway, there’s my take on chapter two–thanks for reading!

The Pursuit of God

For my birthday, my friend Abby gave me a copy of A.W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God, and I’m just now reading it. I sort of wish I’d read it earlier, yet at the same time I think maybe I wouldn’t gained as much from it as I am now. I feel like I’m learning a lot, lately, about my habits–that is, I’m seeing what I value enough to invest time in. It’s not always what Id like it to be. I tend to go in cycles, where all will be well and I’m rejoicing in the life God’s given me, to a place of uncertainty and discomfort, where I’m forced to go back to the Psalms and seek God’s comfort. Like I said, it’s a cycle, so as soon as I’m back on track, emotionally, I forget what just went down and I imagine I’m fine without God. I become complacent with the comfortable way in which I know Him.

Please keep this in mind–guilt is a very different thing from conviction.

So when I maybe seem to be beating myself up for not seeking God enough, understand that I’m not trying to articulate a sense of guilt. Guilt is the crippling sense that, since you messed up last time, there’s no making up for it. You have to try to make up for it, but you know in the back of your mind it won’t ever, ever be enough. Guilt is, in fact, what keeps me in the cycle I just mentioned. Conviction, on the other hand, is something quite different. There’s still the knowledge that nothing you do on your own can somehow make up for your imperfection, but then, again, that’s not really the point. With conviction, the focus isn’t so much on what you’re doing wrong, and what you always do wrong, and what you’ll never get right. That’s guilt’s job, and like I said, it’s a crippling thing. Conviction is the desire to do better–not because you feel bad and you’re trying to get God to somehow forgive you in a more powerful way then coming and dying for you–but because you know God, and you want to know Him more.

This is the first part of Tozer’s book, and immediately I have some problems. How do I pursue a knowledge of God when that’s not something I always want to do? How do I want something I don’t always want? That seems like such a silly question to actually voice, but Tozer addresses it. He reminds us, first of all, that God is a Person, and as such, “he communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills and our emotions.”

The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion. (Tozer 15)

In other words, it’s not a one-sided thing, where God tells us to seek Him and then sits by as we flail around, sort of trying and sort of not caring to try. He seeks us, and it’s only by His seeking us that we are able to seek Him at all. And it’s only by His working in us that we are able to desire to seek Him at all. 

So here I am, at the beginning of my journey through The Pursuit of God, and I’d like to quote part of the prayer that Tozer includes at the end of the chapter. I hope it will encourage you as it has me, and I hope that the rest of the book will be as uplifting and convicting as the first chapter was:

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

As always, thanks for reading and leave a comment if you’d like:)