It is always a little scary when God puts something on your heart to share, when you are not so sure you are ready. The prompting is there, but fear easily steps in when you begin to consider what others may think of you. This would be the current state of my own heart, and I am fighting through the strong desire to simply switch modes and write a lighthearted version of the story, one that is vague and not so personally attached to the walls of my own heart. Let’s just say I find myself pacing through the garden, much like Adam and Eve searching for a few fig leaves to hide behind.
Satan will want me to hide from baring my soul, and he will want you to hide from reading this. He relishes in keeping us focused only on things at the surface, but tries to hide the rest. It is a warping of the mind that keeps you so distracted and focused on the most shallow of issues, like the size of your thighs or your neighbor’s new car, that there is no energy left to see yourself naked. By naked I am referring to the raw and unedited version of you. The “you” that’s in a complete state of nakedness before your Creator. He sees you just as you are, and there is no need to hide.
Today, I want to give us all permission to look into the deep places, the not so pretty corners of our hearts that we so desperately attempt to cover and to refuse to remain in hiding.
To live in hiding produces anxiety, much like the feeling you got in the pit of your stomach when you played hide-n-seek as a child. So, it is with our lives when we hide behind a false persona of who we think we are supposed to be, yet all the while having no real victory over the sin in our lives because we are too afraid to search the deep places of our souls. We build societies, communities, and kingdoms around a strict code of boundaries, in which we only allow others to see the “us” that we are comfortable presenting.
I know this, because that is the way I lived a significant portion of my life. I used to live behind my own veil of shallowness, so much so, that if you could have taken a magnifying glass to my soul, you would have cringed at the scene before you. It would seem that in this day and age it is quite socially acceptable to confess sins such as sexual immorality, drugs, or pornography, and confession is always good, but what about those not so obvious transgressions? You know, the ones that are much easier to hide, not only from others but most of all from ourselves. Those that may look or sound something like this:
She is prettier than I am, and far more talented, but it is much too difficult for me to allow myself to admit that I am jealous…so instead, I will just pick her apart in my mind, assigning impure motives behind everything she does. I’ll make fun of her posts, and laugh with my “friends” at her expense. This will surely make me feel better. (JEALOUSY)
I want to be noticed. I want to be successful. I am self-seeking. I am actually a promoter of myself, and place a large portion of my self-worth on the number of “likes” I will receive, but I will convince myself that it is all for God. (SELF-SEEKING)
Keep up your persona and win at all cost. For any issue that arises, I rush to place the blame on someone else. I have constructed my life in such a way that no one can hold me accountable, and to admit a flaw is to show weakness; I refuse to be weak. (PRIDEFUL)
My worth is in my beauty. As long as I am beautiful, I will be happy and relish the attention that I receive from both men and women. However, I will convince myself that my pursuit of physical perfection is merely for health benefits; I could never be that shallow. (SHALLOW)
You secretly desire the destruction of someone who has hurt you in some way, pretending to want the best for them, when in the depths of your heart you know that is not the case. You have built a wall so high around your heart, that you cannot allow yourself to admit that you desire to be the author of justice. (RESENTMENT)
Am I completely messed up beyond words, or can anyone else on the planet attest to struggling with any of these things? No one can read your thoughts. Be honest with yourself.
Why are we so afraid to see ourselves as we truly are? Because we fear that no one could possibly love the raw and unedited version of us. I get it. There is a fear in me, even as I am typing that you will reject the real me and prefer an edited version. But, there is also another part of me that is unbelievably relieved that I no longer desire to attempt to create that version. It is exhausting, and only draws people to ME – a meaningless attempt at fulfillment. I want to draw people to the feet of Jesus. I want to be a part of their story, and for them to be a part of mine as we see Jesus break down the walls of our hearts and experience true Grace.
A grace that grants us permission to see the ugliest places of our hearts. A grace that covers not only the things that we have done but that covers who we are: jealous, self-seeking, prideful, shallow, resentful, etc. It not only covers but loves us right in the midst of our darkest moments.
For years, I refused to allow myself to see the inner flaws of my heart, and it was the source of much anxiety in my life. I no longer want to live that way. I want you to see the raw and unedited version of me because it is the place where God has done the most beautiful work. I want to be so honest with my struggles, because I want you to know and believe that God can heal the ugly, broken-down places of your heart. I want to live a life of Paul where true confidence and strength were found within his weaknesses. I want to kill any desire to hide behind a false pretense of having everything figured out, but instead, I want to bare my soul, so my flaws simply point to the one who does. Are you ready to truly live original? Then run barefoot and naked with me straight to the foot of the cross, where therein lies all the covering we will ever need.
Live Original. Live Raw, Unedited, and Unafraid.