I Was a Lying Liar
#IWasALyingLiar is the podcast for July 2, 2017. Living a life of a lying liar was taxing and exhausting. It was Jesus who eventually gave me the rest that I needed to face my family. In making God my priority, I learned to love myself and my family better. Listen here and find out more: Download it into your phone. #Lies #Liars #Lying #Converstion #Priority #Kolbe #Garbage #HateFather #HateMother #HateSon #HateDaughter #LoveFamily #LoveGodFirst #Anxiety #Choir #HighSchool #Freedom #Love #Facebook #SnapChat #SocialMedia
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For My Spiritual Advisor, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 7/2/2017 The 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Please pause this audio and read Matthew 10:37-44.
When God reached down and touched the back of my head and told me that my place in life was with him, there was not only a change in me, there was relief. As life has gone on, I have realized that there is tremendous pressure on us all to be accepted by everyone around us. I would even say that with social media, it is even worse. Who would wake up in the morning and post a picture of themselves before they got out of bed or touched their hair on Facebook? Snapchat? Twitter? (As a side note, I would love to see President Trump with all that hair take a selfie in the morning and post it before he touched a comb to his head! That is not a political statement.)
Being the youngest of nine children and having a great propensity to try to please people because I wanted them to love me, I was a great candidate for world pleasing. I distinctly recall a time when I was at a family gathering and I had what I know now was an anxiety attack. I was in our little three bedroom home, the place was filled with about 30 people because of the boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, and children of my eight siblings. I realized that all my life, I had been able to manipulate the situation to make the person I was with individually happy. But, with everyone in the room at the same time, there were about 30 versions of reality I had spun that I could not keep straight and that I could not harmonize. If someone asked me a personal question, surely my answer to one person would conflict with my answer to another person in my family. This is simply because I had told everyone what they wanted to hear.
It was selfish. I was a liar. I was manipulative. I was wrong. I was a sinner.
The dirty little secret about all of it was that, on top of all of those other things, I was miserable. I was as unhappy as I could be. I was like a little dog on nine leashes being pulled and yanked by my family. There was no relief! I felt trapped in a corner like I HAD to make them happy, so, in the corner, the only way out it seemed was to lie. I took it. At, least that is what I thought was the truth.
I have told this story over and over, but here it goes. Then, one night, at the invitation of my high school choir director, as I was filling in for his church choir’s Advent concert, I felt the hand of God on the back of my head. At that moment, I heard him say, “This is where you belong.” It was.
Worshiping the Lord was where I belonged. I realized, in an instant, that I belonged to the Father in Heaven. He loved me, totally and completely. He had sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to die, not only for the sins of the world, but for every lie I had ever told. For the first time that I could remember up to that point, I was whole. I had purpose. My live had meaning: I came to understand that I was a child of the Living God. I was put on this earth to speak to you this very moment of this very day with this very message from him.
The change was profound. No longer did I have to make all the people in my family happy, I just had to make Jesus happy. I didn’t want to make him happy because I had to. I wanted to make him happy because he told me that he loved me enough, in that single moment singing in that choir, that I didn’t have to live that life anymore. I didn’t have to live the liars’ life. I didn’t have to live that “make everyone happy life.” The only life I had to live was the life that the Lord, God of Heaven gave me, and it set me free.
All that happened was that someone had invited me to Church and and Jesus did the rest. The faith given to me in my baptism as a baby came to life when I turned and accepted Christ as the primary focus of my life. No longer was pleasing my family my focus, so I no longer had to lie to them. Ironic, isn’t it? Putting my relationship with Jesus Christ first made me love my family better.
I was no longer willing to lie to make people happy. I was no longer willing to participate in whatever dysfunctions caused me to feel like I had to be a liar. I was no longer willing to change who God made me to be so that others could be happy at the sake of my own self-worth. The Lord does not want that for us. He proved it in spades with me.
When Jesus says, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me,” we could get all in God’s face. We could be affronted by this and think that God was telling us to not love our mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. If that were so, then the Fourth Commandment of the Ten would not be “Honor your father and mother…”
My life is living testimony that when the Lord is at the center of our existence, there can be peace. When the Lord is the center of our existence, there is perspective, at least, even when it hurts. I can say that I have personally been through my private hells. Yet, it has never ever occurred to me that God might be against me. There is a lot of evil in the world, with a lot of sinful people, putting their garbage at our feet and telling us to smell it and say, “Oh, I LOVE your garbage. I could just sit here and smell your garbage all day if you gave me some acknowledgement. I could just sit here and wonder at the garbage you are spewing, if you would just give me a raise in pay, tell me I was a good son or daughter, or tell me, oh, Baby, that I am everything to you.” Yes, there are a lot of garbage salesmen and women who will try to get you off of your game.
When we love God first, then when people try to tell us their garbage is good, we know better. There is no other God but the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and no other shall we serve! So, get your garbage off my doorstep!
The only way I could come to understand that was to stop trying to be in control of my life and let the Lord take control. When I say, “control”, I mean love. God loves. He says, “Don’t do that because it is stupid and will disrupt everything in your life.” Don’t put something else in my place because it will cause you to admire people’s garbage instead. Come to Church and worship because you find people who know how to love (even if there are bad people in the midst of them). Don’t hate because it causes you to do stupid things, like murder. Don’t steal because it causes you to live a life of lies to survive. Don’t have sex with people with whom you are not married to because it causes all kinds of messed up relationships and ultimately hurts our children.
These are nothing less than the commandments, but they keep our life straight and protected because God loves us. Amazingly, we get our lives back on track when we give up trying to live life by our rules. When we put the idea that God loves us and we belong to him at the center of our lives, we find relief. We find joy. We find peace. We find patience. We find understanding. Even when the world looks at us and says we shouldn’t. I often think of Fr. Maximillan Kolbe being tortured by the Nazis by being buried under a corrugated metal tube singing hymns to the Lord as loudly as he could. Our reality is in the Lord, thanks be to God. Even the worst of life cannot deter us who are Christians.
When we lose our lives in Jesus Christ, we find our lives. We find lives filled with purpose to serve others. We become better people, less self-centered people. We become people who want a better world. We become people who will tell others the truth with a tender spirit. We become simplified. The Lord is our God and him alone, therefore we can go do the incredible things he has for us to do, regardless of what our family or others think. So, accept the Lord as the priority for your life today. Amen.
This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2017.
Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian