I’ve been on a journey with God! Over the last several years I’ve been listening more intentionally to my heart. I mean all of it. It’s been a journey of becoming aware and honest. It’s come with pain as I took off each mask and got really honest with myself about what I was thinking and feeling. The more I’ve listened the more I realize there are layers upon layers of thoughts and feelings behind feelings. Some people like to say it’s like peeling back the layers of an onion.The thing about onions is they make you cry.
We all wear masks. There’s the “I’m a Christian” mask. I wore it because it’s a way to fit in. If you’re a Christian I bet you can identify to some extent. I’ve worn the “I’m brave” mask that’s rooted in fear and shame. I think most of us are familiar with this mask.Then I have some other ones that have been deeply entrenched from childhood. I used them to cope. I used them for self protection.The problem for me was I was so good at wearing them I wasn’t able to be the real me. The me God created and designed me to be in this world.
Real masks come off. It’s the invisible ones that are hard to pry off. So for the past several years God has taken me on a journey of self discovery because wanted me to be as free as possible. But He wants that for you too. truthfully I don’t think we can ever attain complete freedom until we are in Heaven. But while I’m here on earth I want to live in as much freedom as possible.
Honesty really is a big theme in my life. I truly believe in being honest before God. Christ died so that I/we could access the cross, find grace and receive His power in our daily lives. I thought I was pretty honest with my feelings before God. But I guess He wanted to amp things up a bit. Everyone one of us demonstrate something for the world to see and model. I’d like to think mine is to be as honest to the core as I can be and help others become honest and free too. There’s just something about bringing all those hidden feelings out in the open that have a way of feeling like we’re not the only person with a particular struggle. It annihilates isolation and brings us closer to each other.
When Paul set sail for Italy in Acts 27, a storm rose up and they men on the ship had to throw off some of the cargo in order to make it to land. That’s kinda what’s been happening to me. I faced some storms and had to get rid of some masks I thought were valuable. Little by little I shed one mask after another until I felt raw, naked and exposed.Let me tell you that is not a good feeling. But then the winds of refreshing began to blow over me again. I found that I kinda like being naked. I didn’t feel exposed, embarrassed, different or ashamed. I just feel good. I like this new level of honesty. I like being able to speak about what I’m feeling openly. And guess what people like it! It makes them feel better about themselves and then they start to open up.
Recently, I stumbled on some videos of Brene Brown. She’s a vulnerability and shame researcher. And she’s amazing! In her research, she has discovered that “everyone” absolutely everyone deals shame. This has been quite the revelation to me. If she’s correct then there’s nothing more wrong with me than anyone else!!!! That also means there’s nothing more wrong with you than anyone else either!! Now that’s good news!