We are looking forward to having Mark and Lindsay Melluish with us at The Point at Home Weekend in October. Here, Mark shares a few thoughts on the importance of being authentic, ahead of our time together.
“How are you?” my friend asks. “I’m just great,” I reply, but the reality may be significantly different.
Most of us have a front stage and a back stage to our lives; parts that we show to others and parts that we keep private.
The front stage is the areas in our lives that others can see, and we are ready to share, whereas the back stage is the things going on in the background of our lives – the ‘public us’ and the ‘private us.’
As the animated ogre Shrek famously said, “We all have layers… like an onion”. We have the layers that everyone can see, as well as many that are deep and hidden.
I wonder if you have ever looked at somebody and thought ‘They’ve got their life sorted: they’ve got financial security, a life partner, a pension plan, a nice car and a rewarding job.’ Yet, all we know about them is what we can see. We can’t see the unseen part of their life; the brokenness in their marriage, the struggle of being a parent, the stress of work, the anxiety they carry or the fears they live with inside.
Outside we can be a pool of calm; but inside we can be in utter turmoil. If church is to be real, then it’s not about just coming and pretending that everything’s okay. I am sure mine can’t be the only family who have had an argument at home and then come to church and everything still looks fine to everyone around us. We might be going through real tension or difficulty, anxiety, worries, financial concerns, family concerns or relationship difficulties. The church has to be more than just coming and singing some songs of worship. Church has to be a place where we can do life together.
At the end of his great Sermon on the Mount Jesus says, ‘Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on a solid rock.’ Both of the houses that Jesus talks about are similar in construction and look the same. But each has its foundations laid on a different material and each house has a different final outcome.
It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the foundations of a physical building or the foundation upon which you have built your life, the principle is the same. The material upon which you lay your foundation will determine the strength of the structure that is built upon it. It doesn’t matter the cost and the quality of the building material used. It doesn’t matter if it’s the best wood or the best bricks. If it’s built on ‘sand’ it is only as strong as the ‘sand’ upon which it’s built. It will collapse when put to the test.
Jesus explains that one house that is built by a wise man on a rock – stands firm – and the other, built by a foolish man, upon the sand – collapses. The foundation is really important because storms will come. You will have times when life is difficult. It may be at work, in your friendships or tensions in your marriage.
But if our lives are built on a firm foundation, we will survive the storms. The answer is to dig firm foundations; the trouble is that this can be difficult.
Sharing our weaknesses
I speak so often on a Sunday and there is a certain amount of me that I share. I know that I share that I am not yet a whole person, I am broken. I feel fragile in so many ways. I walk with brokenness. I have processed quite a lot in my life. I have processed issues of anger and insecurity and continue to work on these because I want to build my life on a firm foundation. I want to have a house that stands.
It takes time to dig those foundations and grow in emotional security. It takes time to lay them well but as we do, God is able to build our lives on them.
I hope that during our time away we might find space to be real with one another and help with the digging of firm foundations so that we can support one another in the storms of life.