What if we began to see what God sees? What if we knew a fraction of what He knows? What if – just what if – we began to believe that what He says is true? What if we allowed His love to seep into the places of our heart that we keep so well hidden – even from ourselves?
You see, sometimes our lives become shrouded in the lies that surround us. They become cloaked in those things we know to be true about ourselves. Sometimes those things are ugly. They just are. Those things we stuff, try to hide or instead we dwell on them to the point that, that is all we see. Those lies that surround a little bit of truth that are whispered in the deepest parts of our heart. Yes, you may have been harsh with your family, BUT that doesn’t mean that you are a horrible wife and mother, but I can guarantee if you live in that lie long enough, you will be harsh way more than you ever wanted to be. You know the ones. I don’t have to tell you what they are. You may never even give voice to them, but may be trying to cover them up so that you can’t hear that voice that says the same thing in so many ways – “You are not enough, you never will be and you never have been.” You will never fulfill God’s plan for your life because there is something in the way and that something is you.” Busyness is an attempt to silence the voice. “You are lacking.” “Yes, but look how much I’m accomplishing.” Social media can be an attempt to silence the voice. “You are friendless.” “Yes, but look how ‘connected’ I am.” Isolation can be an attempt to silence the voice. “You are a failure.” “Yes, but if I sit here secluded, I won’t be found out.” It’s an inner voice that answers every compliment you receive. “You’re a good mom.” “Did you see how I handled that situation so wrongly?” “You look nice today.” “You should see how out of shape I am.” “You are a good friend.” “Have you seen how many birthdays I’ve missed.” “You are great at your job!” “Have you seen all the ways I’ve failed?” This, my friends, is the result of The Fall. The never ending, always speaking voice of shame. “You are naked, ashamed and you must hide.” Here is the thing – the more we hide, the more stuck we’ll be. The more angry we’ll become. The more bitter we’ll live. The more lonely we’ll be. What that voice speaks, will eventually bring the exact fruit we so fear. Hiding will never free us.
The only thing that will cause a person to emerge from hiding is love. A Love so grand that every insecurity fades in light of it. A Love so grand that the fear of being found out is overcome with the desire to be known. A Love that is so gentle that when dark places are exposed, healing happens. Hate wants us to hide in the shadows and live in fear of being found out for who we really are – and found lacking. Love wants us to come out into the light and experience the freedom of being known, forgiven and healed – living wholly, completely and unashamed.
I used to get so frusterated when people would say that God loved me just the way I was. In my mind, it was kind of translated that God was good with where I was. Inside, I would think, “Yeah, that’s great, but what if ‘just the way I am’ is broken. Then what?” So many claim that God is okay with us where we’re at, but that didn’t satisfy me. I didn’t want a God who was okay with where I was at. Can I just suggest that maybe God ISN’T okay with where we’re at because He knows the beauty He created in us? HE knows the us untainted by brokenness, sin, pain, depression and all of those things that have haunted the human race since Eden. HE knows that He made each of us uniquely beautiful with gifts, abilities and parts that reflect Who He is uniquely. HE knows that your world needs you. Your co-workers, your friends, your family, your neighbors, your church and your community will be transformed through a free you. I don’t know about you, but when I realized that – that made me feel so much better! I wasn’t okay with where I was at. I was stuck. I wanted a God Who would see my state – a scared, lonely woman living in a deep hole of depression, anger, bitterness, self-loathing and in desperate need of approval from people. I wanted a God who wasn’t scared of my brokenness, my sin, my anger, my ugly or my questions. I needed Him to peel back those things that kept me locked in and tripped up. I didn’t even know what they were, but I saw the fruit. No one would have guessed the inner turmoil I lived in except my husband. It mostly showed up when I would lay my head on my pillow at night and all the failures of the day would begin to run through my head. The more turmoil I lived in, the more it made its way out into the open. Anger over the smallest thing, taking the smallest comment as an offense, becoming standoffish, being paralyzed by what others thought started to become more common. You don’t have to have a chaotic life to have a chaotic soul. No one would have guessed the inner turmoil I lived in except my husband. God used him to speak so much truth through many inward struggles when I couldn’t see.
This is what is so exciting! We have a God who fights for us all the time! Every moment of every day, He is standing there calling us out of hiding. Sometimes we have to declutter our lives a bit to hear it, but I promise, if you slow down enough to hear, you won’t be able to miss Him. He is a God Who wants to be found. He is a God Who wants to take off that robe of shame and replace it with dignity. A dignity that is available to us because of the Cross. He doesn’t look the other way in disgust at our brokenness. He also doesn’t turn a blind eye to it. The Cross does not allow us to live in sin without judgment, but instead allows us to live in freedom FROM it. We don’t HAVE to live stuck anymore. The Cross means heart healing and freedom for us now. Not just for later, but for this life now. Oh man does the enemy lie about this. He wants us to believe we’re stuck because when we’re free, we’re dangerous. A free person reflects God way too vividly. We are all in the process of being freed, but if it’s been some time since you’ve seen some new freedom in your life, it may be time to find out where you’re hiding. I’m guessing it has to do with those places where you fear or have anxiety about. If you’re free in an area, you won’t be fearful or anxious. You just won’t. I know I’ve been mentioning Fervent by Priscilla Shirer lately, but there is a quote from that book that is so good that I just have to include it:
“These areas of greatest fear and anxiety in your life are clues to some important spiritual information. They reveal among other things, that a personalized strategy has been insidiously put in place to destroy your vibrancy and render you defeated.”
If you must, read that 1,000 times. I sat down just yesterday and listed out those things that are causing fear and anxiety in my life right now and my view became clear. Those are things I feel like going into hiding about. Those are the things the enemy beats me up with and causes me to obssess over. Instead, I brought them to God. These things, for me, usually center around where I feel I am (or actually am) failing as a mother. It can be a habit (like being on my phone too much or at the wrong times) or decisions we are making (not enough sports, too many sports; not enough family time, not enough social things); or an ugliness in me. Of course, there are much bigger things to be dealt with in parenting, but my point is that pretty much anything is fair game, so you can imagine the fear that tries to come in when there are bigger issues. This is where the enemy tries to steal my joy and my peace, because you see, mothering is my passion, and my season is – mothering. When I hide that place and stuff it down and ignore it, healing or wisdom cannot come. Brokenness and foolishness remain, but when I pull it out, dust it off and give it to God along with my fears – He can do what only He can do. He can make me wise where I am foolish, heal where I am broken, forgive where I have sinned and I can walk in freedom in those areas. You see, by coming out from hiding into the arms of the One who knows all things, loves relentlessly and wholeheartedly, I am free. Free to walk whole, holy and to be who HE created me to be. Let’s stop hiding from the One Who knows us intimately.
Psalm 139:1-3 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you understand my thoughts from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately aquainted with all my ways.
Lord, thank You that You know me. Thank You that You know me intimately and that there is not a thing in my life that is a mystery to You. Help me to see You clearly and to be able to trust You with who I am. I don’t want to live in hiding from You, but walk with You in security and being fully known. Help me to give You those things that I hold onto so tightly and I give you those things that fill my heart with fear and anxious thoughts. I will not walk in shame any longer, but choose to come to You with all of who I am. I trust You with my heart and hold nothing back from You. Show me those places where I am hanging on and help me to open my hand so that I can take Yours. Thank You that You always hear me when I call.