For The Shire

Today is the second in a series of ramblings about Bible verses which have spoken to me in recent weeks. Don’t worry, it will all be over soon and I will revert to the normal programming schedule of average running reports and griping about life in general. Just humour me. And who knows you might even get something from it.

Today’s verse is from the Message translation which I know is not everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee). But it jumped off the page and hit me over the head repeatedly. Which Jesus has a habit of doing. In a loving, non-violent way of course. 

‘But if you’re content to simply become yourself, you will become more than yourself.’

As with yesterday’s verse, at first glance, it appears that Jesus is contradicting himself again. I mean, isn’t being a Christian all about changing? About becoming a better person? A new creation? I certainly thought this to be the case when the ‘God penny’ dropped with me just over four years ago. I had already stopped drinking but sought to change every aspect of my life which was not of God.

I wanted to preach. I wanted to talk God with everyone. I wanted to lead house groups, youth cells and basically anything else I could muscle myself in on. At the time I thought my enthusiasm was fuelled by the Holy Spirit; when, in fact, it was driven by a selfish desire to grab the limelight at every available opportunity. Had that much changed from my days of drinking and social media addiction. Had I really changed? Not really. 

In time I became a bigger hypocrite than I had been before I took the leap of faith. I was standing up at the front of church on a Sunday talking about how Jesus had changed my life when in reality I was bad as ever, if not worse Monday through to Saturday. I was a total fraud. I hadn’t changed one iota. Whatever an iota is….

God of course realised this and allowed the light of truth to flood into the murky corners of my heart. A humiliating and painful cauterisation of my soul, but a necessary and life saving intervention. I began to realise that the world did not revolve around Stephen, something which Fionnuala regularly reminds me of. I began to take more of a back seat. I am, by nature, a shy and studious type. Call me a geek. I plead guilty.

I realised that I had not changed at all. I was still the vain, attention seeking, needy individual I had always been. I thought I was transforming when I was really just reverting to type. Living a lie instead of facing the truth. God had to step in again and bring to my knees. He broke me in order to rebuild me. Like resetting a bone. Nasty work. But it had to be done.

God does want us to change. But to change back into the human beings that he created us to be when he placed us on the earth in the first place. We are bespoke beings, unique creations; custom built to carry out important missions in a spiritual war against forces of darkness. We are Frodo Baggins. We are Luke Skywalker. We are all heroes in training. 

You don’t have to fake it. You don’t need to put on a performance or wear a mask. Just be yourself. As God meant you to be. It is then, and only then, that God will use you and refine the natural talents that he has graced you with. Talents that he will develop and refine if you are obedient to his will. Talents which can be used to achieve more than you could ever possibly imagine.

So Jesus was right after all. He does want us to change. But change as in revert back to our original selves, not conform to our earthly desires. It is only then that the magic will happen. It is only then that obstacles will be overcome, that ground will be gained, that bottles will be won.

Change. By not changing.

Do you put on a performance every day?

How can you change back into the real you?

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

19 thoughts on “For The Shire

  1. Congratulations on staying sober. I know that’s no mean feat. I have an uncle who is a recovered alcoholic. He turned to church for help as well.
    We all have our divine tests. I know I’ve been through at least one. I learned the strength of my own volition. If you don’t feel as if you’re out of the woods yet, don’t worry. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.


  2. Being yourself is tough. I’ve always wanted to be more and then when I couldn’t, I pretended to be more. That’s a slippery slope because I got comfortable living a lie, telling others a lie about who and what I was, lying to myself to justify what I did. Lying became my addiction.

    Breaking down the wall and becoming just a plain old human for all the world to see was tough but it set me free.

    Thanks for this great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this post. When writing the latest post on my blog I lost count of how many times I backspaced and thought “I don’t want people to know that I sometimes I struggle with my faith!”, “I don’t want to put THAT sentence out there!” and “Do I really want people to see how imperfect I am”.

    Well the way I finally resolved those concerns was this: Am I worried more about what people think I am (we all want people to see the perfect us) or am I worried about what God thinks of me? *then the light bulb came on* Why not just say whats in my heart, since full transparency and disclosure of my journey of faith is why I started the blog.

    I’m sure that at some point we all face those little thoughts and hear those “voices” trying to tempt us to doubt our faith in God. Besides GOD ALREADY KNOWS! He knew this before I knew this so who am I trying to hide what from?

    Be well, always.


  4. I’m a pretty blunt person, my face reads like an open book, and there isn’t a person who knows me that doesn’t know what I stand for. The ones who like me think I’m a pretty great person and laugh when I tell them that’s not true at all, like your post yesterday was talking about, it comes down to the heart issues and they’re the most important. For the ones who don’t agree with what I believe I think my stand is sometimes my true hypocrisy because it doesn’t always come from a place of love and desire to see them saved, it comes from a place of selfish hurts, desires, and mistrust. It’s good to know God is still at work in me and will finish what He has started! I think being changed as a Christian is more like watching a baby grow; if you’re close to the baby it hardly seems to change day by day, but if you’re just a visitor in the home and see the baby every once in a while it seems to grow in leaps and bounds. πŸ™‚ Thank You for the good reminder


  5. really enjoyed the read. I always find a real gem of a line when I read your blog todays gem”But it jumped off the page and hit me over the head repeatedly. Which Jesus has a habit of doing. In a loving, non-violent way of course. ” really agree with the idea of going back to what we were meant to be. I often talk about finding new habits but those habits need to be innocent habits as in not gambling,not sex,but more along the lines of things we may have enjoyed as a child because it is all of the adult habits that tend to get us in trouble like alochol,drugs,sex and gambling and innocent things like movie watching exercising reading drawing tend to keep us out of trouble. I will never get arrested for running in public.


  6. Amen! And seriously, no need to joke about going back to “normal” posts. I think these posts are just as important, and carry valuable, encouraging messages of truth. This spoke to me in one of the most positive ways. I’ve been working on being fully exposed. Sharing the hard parts with others. Rejoicing and praising God in uncertainty. It…well, it confuses many. I stumble with doubt while I work on pushing forward too. Tonight, I had told God that phrase, “Working on being myself, no matter how others might approach something.” Thank you for listening to what God puts on your heart.


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