Postcard Reality

As Chuck, Lyschel and I were leaving Mt. Rushmore, we took one more long look. It was a crystal clear morning with a vivid blue sky. The sun was low on the horizon and shone directly on the faces of the mammoth works of art so that they looked carved out of bright white porcelain or marble. The contrast of blue and white was stunning.

We walked away and someone casually said, “It looks like a postcard.” I heard the “ping” in the my spirit but we chattered on. Later that night, the revelation came.

A postcard is a picture of what’s Real. It is an attempt to capture the image of a person, place or thing. For a long time, before the advent of amazing cameras, we would judge the quality of a postcard by “whether it looks real.”  But no matter how good the quality of the photograph, it is a copy, or an imitation.

Here we were, standing before this glorious three dimensional work of art, created out of much blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice. It was so surreal, so larger than life, but we compared it to a flat picture, a modified and perfectly arranged imitation. The cold of the stone, the blue of the sky, the bitter chill of the wind could not possibly be captured by a picture. A postcard is lifeless.

Think about beauty. We compare the living, breathing distinct beauty of a woman to a flat  photoshopped image on a computer or in a magazine.

Think about sex. We compare the rolling passion and intimate connection of two devoted people to two actors who are paid to act like they want or enjoy each other for a moment on screen.

Think about God. We compare His breathtaking presence, His awe-inspiring reality to a spiritual check list of what He does and doesn’t want us to do.


The postcard realities are only shadows of the Truth. Standing in the presence of the real thing, you can’t help but be moved, be swept away, be caught up in the greatness of the life. Even yesterday I was telling the girls about a piece in the Louvre called “Winged Victory.”  The picture of it was great. Well done and professional.  But it doesn’t compare to standing next to it, smelling it and “feeling” the movement in the stone and seeing the power of the wind in her wings and garments.

I wonder by what standard you are living your life. A postcard reality? Your beauty, your intimacy, your God life — is it based on a paper thin imitation? Or are you soaking in the power and beauty of the Real Thing?

You get to choose: the hugeness of a mountain masterpiece or a 4×5 postcard. Don’t settle for anything less than Reality.

A Vision Requiring Demolition

I had the good fortune of being invited to South Dakota to speak. My dear friend Amanda, who used to be on my leadership team in Knoxville, had returned home to her roots. Once there, she wanted to bring the Unhindered message to the women of her area so she set that ball in motion.  Of course, since Mt. Rushmore was on my bucket list, I was doubly delighted to agree to come.

As usual, things are not as they appear. We arrived at the national monument and what I thought was casual “down time” on Friday morning before I taught that night, turned out to be a major “download.” He is so funny.  Here is part one.

The sight of this huge mountain that has been polished and shaped by human hands is impressive, confounding and awe-inspiring. You don’t really get the magnitude of the project until you stand at the base of it. And then comes the story behind the work of art.

A man named Doane Robinson had a vision of transformation. He looked for a sculptor who could bring it to life. At the age of 58, Gutzon Borglum took on the great task of changing  this portion of the Black Hills into a breath-taking phenomenon.


When most people are thinking about retirement and kicking back, the man took on a project so huge that it took his son and 400 men to complete it. But my first “Ah-ha” moment was looking at the pile of rubble at the mountain’s feet. Dynamite, chisels, jack hammers, all tools in the hands of craftsmen, were used to remove whatever was necessary to bring the faces to life. No one notices the broken pieces of mountain debris heaped up. No one hears the explosions or sees the blasting away of excess rock. The process is over. But the outcome is lasting and astounding. 

Wouldn’t it be absurd if bystanders intervened and said, “The noise is too much, please stop.” Or, “You might hurt the mountain, we will settle for half a face of Jefferson.”  Or even, “It is taking too long, why not go ahead a quit?” Ridiculous.

The vision was worth the risk and effort. How much more worth it is your transformation to God? When we see you for who you really are, we will be so thankful that the Holy Spirit did not listen when you or others said, “too much effort required,” “too much money,” “too late to make changes.”

You are God’s masterpiece. He loves working to bring out of the rock the Beauty of You. In the end, no one will see the rubble at your feet, only the glory of God in your face.