Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Scariest Mass Email Ever

I'm currently reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis for the second time. I allow myself just one chapter a day because it helps me to absorb more. Every time I close the book, I think, "Man, that guy was smart." I love Mere Christianity because even though there's deep stuff in there, it's not tough to wrap my mind around. A couple nights ago, I read this:

"Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible."

The other night I camped out in that paragraph for a while and thought about all the ways in my life I see this demonstrated. I have struggled with honesty my entire life. Part of this, I think, is because of my writer's imagination; I'm always wanting to "embellish" and make my life-story sound just a teensy bit more interesting...

I'm also someone who avoids conflict whenever possible, so if I can lie to get out of a difficult conversation... Well, it's tempting.

But a few years ago when a lie of mine deeply hurt someone I loved, I knew I had some hard work ahead of me. I was ashamed of what I had done, of the piece of my life I'd had to work so hard to conceal. At the same time, I was writing Me, Just Different. And as Skylar learned about authenticity from her boyfriend's family, I was working on authenticity within me.

I decided I wanted to be the same person all the time, whether I was with my pastor or my coworkers. Whether I was with my husband or my girlfriends. And the first step toward that was getting rid of the lying.

This sounds a little cheesy, but to keep myself in line I pretended that at the end of the day, I would have to send a mass email to every person I'd ever met and tell them everything I'd done from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. What I ate. Who I talked to. What kind of words I used. What I read. How much TV I watched. How long I was on Facebook versus how long I was working. And in my head, all that information would get sent to my husband, my mom, my pastor, the girl who lived in the apartment upstairs who I was currently witnessing to, my ex-friends, my boss, and so forth.

And oh boy, was I ever aware of every activity I did throughout the day.

Now. This exercise can be taken to a dangerous extreme, because ultimately the only opinion that matters is God's. If my sweet, well-meaning Grandmother disagrees with a decision I make, but God agrees with it, then sorry, Grandma. That's just the way things are going to be.

But I had reached a very scary place of duplicity where I knew God saw and disapproved of some choices I was making ... but so long as He was quiet, I could mentally blow off my bad decisions. Talk about scary.

I still have honesty problems sometimes. But I do a lot worse when I allow myself "little" lies. I find the temptation toward bigger ones grows and grows, just like C.S. Lewis was talking about. And then I have to put myself back in the mindset of sending out that scary mass email, of reminding myself that I'm working toward authenticity.

In the above quote, C.S. Lewis says, "That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance." What's a little decision you could make today that will move you closer to Christ?

Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers and does so on her blog To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out


Heather said...

What a great idea. It is so easy in my life to gloss over some of the smallest offenses. Thinking in terms of detailing the good bad and the ugly of everyday to everyone I know?! Yikes! That would definitely make me to think twice. I would live more intentionally which is the ultimate goal. Living intentionally for God.

Thanks for your courage to share and bless me this morning.

Trinka said...

I have trouble eith lying also. :P I like the idea of the mass email, it would help me keep my life in order and pleasing to God. :)

Sierra said...

Good post Stephanie. I never would have known you had any are a great woman! God conquers all...good thing for us. :) I would lie a lot when I was was easier than the truth.I was pretty sneaky too...I stole my siblings Halloween candy :( But God helped me. So YAY!Sierra
Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Cause You Are!)

Emii said...

Oh, I love CS Lewis! My sister and I spend our Facebook-statusing lives quoting him.. that is, when we haven't deleted it. :P

What a great post. I'm pretty sure I remember reading the acknowledgements in Me, Just Different -- and you thanked your husband for introducing you to Mere Christianity. So it's cool to know why it was important.

Betsy St. Amant said...

I'm on a serious C.S. Lewis kick right now. The man was touched...thanks for your honesty friend!

Stephanie Morrill said...

Sierra, you're so sweet :) I have LOTS of growing left to do!