Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankful for the Real Deal~

My grandma, born and raised in the deep South, was a spunky lady, to say the least. She had a dry, witty sense of humor and was famous for her one-liners. While her words always brought a laugh, they also revealed her wisdom. Long after the laughter faded, her words resonated in my heart.

As a young, single woman in my early twenties, I often traveled by myself. I thought nothing of getting in my car and driving seven hours North to see my parents, or ten hours East to spend time with my sister. My parents, however, worried about my safety. Time after time, they cautioned me of the dangers of traveling alone. One time, this familiar topic of conversation came up while we were visiting my grandma.

"I don't know why she insists on traveling by herself," my mother said, as I sat right beside her on my Grandma's couch. "I keep telling her to get a man's hat and place it in her back window. That way, it would at least look like a man was traveling with her. For all they know, he could simply be taking a nap in the backseat!"

Without skipping a beat, my Grandma leaned forward, looked directly at me and remarked, "Forget about the hat, honey...

The Real Deal Canvas "Adventure" Hat
{Photo Credit}

Get a man!"

Laughter spilled into the room. Then Grandma continued. "Who wants a silly ole hat when you can have the real deal?!"

And of course, for all practical purposes, Grandma was right! I understood my mother's reasoning and felt her love for me in this odd request, but I had to agree with my Grandma. What good would a hat do? It was, after all, just a hat. At a quick glance, it might give the appearance that a man was along for the ride, but appearances and reality are two totally different things! Could a hat change a flat tire for me? Could a hat take the wheel and drive for me if I got tired and needed a break from the driver's seat? Could a hat protect me from a would be assailant? No, the hat was merely for show and would only provide a false sense of security. I didn't need a hat, I needed a man!

As ridiculous as I found my mother's idea to be, I couldn't deny that the joke was on me when it came to my spiritual life. I had grown up in a Christian home and had attended church from a young age. I knew all about God, the Bible, and what it meant to look like a Christian. In fact, anyone who spotted me cruising through life would have been sure to notice my Bible, my Christian lingo and my Christian ways. But, if they would have gotten close enough to peer into the backseat of my heart, they would have discovered all these were just for show. I was traveling life alone. I had religion, but what I needed was the man, Christ Jesus.

It wasn't until my earlier thirties that I traded in my religious facade for a true, vibrant, living and breathing relationship with the Lord. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God became real to me for the first time in my life. Now, my Bible is no longer on display for all to see, but instead, it's words are hidden in my heart, guiding, leading and transforming me little by little, day by day. The words I speak are no longer spoken to impress others with my spirituality, but rather to impress upon others the beauty and freedom that can be found in a relationship with Christ. I pray each day God will take the wheel of my life and live in and through me.

I am no longer satisfied with a religion that is just for show, and why should I be?

Think about it. Can religion forgive my sins? Can religion create a new heart in me? Can religion live in and through me? Can religion feel my hurt, understand my fears, or speak to my heart? No, only Christ can. Why would I want to settle for anything less than the real deal?...and why should you?

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Oh, by the way, in case you are wondering, I took my Grandma's advice and got a man. Now, I not only have Christ in my life, but a wonderful husband, too! No more traveling alone for this girl! From now on, it's the three of us sharing every single moment of this amazing ride called life!


As part of Thankful November, I re-posted one of my favorite writes! TO all my faithful readers...I hope you don't mind some "re-runs" this month. :)

4 comments:

  1. Yes, the real man (Christ Jesus) is what we need. Loved this post! I would believe that while traveling alone, that others might see what appeared to them to be a man, but instead was an angel. God protects his own, even when they are late bloomers to receive Him.

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  2. Hi Stacy - so true. There is a big difference between religion and honest to goodness real deal sold out for Christ. Great post. I'm really enjoying your thankful for... series.
    God bless
    Tracy

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  3. Stacy - I love this story, both for the comment your mom made about the hat (my mom made a similar comment) and also for your testimony.

    I was saved at a young age, but I didn't really have a relationship with Christ until well into my adult years.

    You are right - religion is just that, religion. Christianity is a relationship with the only One who can lead us to the father.

    I'm so glad you posted this again and linked up to share with others.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  4. I love this! I'm currently a single girl in my twenties, and can totally relate. I can also relate to having the religion vs the relationship. God has been hard at work in my heart for the past year and really opened my eyes to my own appearance vs. reality. Like you, I've grown up in a Christian home and know all the lingo - but realized that what I needed wasn't the lingo but to work on building the real relationship. Thanks so much for sharing!

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Thank you for leaving a "heartprint" of your own.