I find myself questioning what I am about to write…I am honestly scared. It is always nerve wracking when God lays something on your heart to share and your heart starts beating 530 MPH, because what you are about to do, say, or in this case write could change what others think of you. I would personally rather write about the workout I did today or how much fun national pizza day with Ezra was but instead I keep going back to this, me being raw and unedited in my desire for you to know the real me and the incredible grace of God.
For a long time I hid from what God wanted to pull out of me. I lived in anxiety and fear of “what if someone sees who I really am”. I can only imagine this is how Eve felt searching for something, for anything to hide her vulnerability behind, to cover up the shame. She was trying to hide from the closeness of Jesus when in reality He wanted her just how he created her. But I, like Eve, did not want Jesus to see the real me, my thoughts, my hurt, my brokenness. I wanted to hide, I wanted to look like I had it all together. And in reality He wanted me exactly how I was.
I want us to take these next few minutes and dig into the deep places of our soul, the places we are scared to admit exist. The not so “instagram worthy” corners of our lives that we attempt to act like don’t exist.
Do you remember playing hide and seek when you were little, or even now (haha)? Do you remember the anxiety you would get while waiting on “it” to find you? Even now when I play hide and seek with Ezra and Russ (yes, this is a frequent occurrence), I still get nervous. Waiting on someone to reveal where I am, or worse jump around the corner. I have lived most of my life like this. Not literally hiding in a closet or in the dryer (its the best hiding place EVER), but hiding behind a false persona of who I think I am supposed to be, yet all the while having no victory over the sin in my life because I am too afraid to search the deep places of my soul.
Don’t we all live like this to some extent? Afraid of the silence, afraid of our thoughts being revealed?
I feel like it is easy to point out other peoples sins; sins like sexual immorality, drugs, drinking or pornography. But what about the hidden sins, the sins that break us and cause us to wonder if God really loves us. Sins like; jealousy, pride, resentment, being shallow and selfishness. Sins that bind us in chains of anxiety, confusion, and wondering if we are good enough for the love of Jesus. Sins that appear in thoughts like this…
She is prettier and more talented than I am. But it is too difficult for me 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 will act like I like her in public, but in reality I want her to fail.
You ready for this one…I want to be noticed. I want to be successful. I want to promote God but in reality if I don’t get enough likes or words of encouragement I will delete what God meant for someone to see. I 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. I still deal with this today and have to remind myself that God has given me a platform and if I do not recognize that He will strip it from me…
Admitting a flaw is showing weakness; I refuse to be weak. I am not prideful, I am just not weak. I have gotten a lot better at this, but it consumed my thought life for years.
As long as I am beautiful, I will be happy and relish the attention that I receive. However, I will tell myself that my desire to have physical perfection is for health benefits. I do strive to be healthy but sometimes the desire to “look good” outweighs the desire to be healthy. I still struggle with this, honestly more now than ever. After having Ezra my whole body changed, my self-esteem plummeted and I wonder if I will ever be the old me.
You secretly desire the destruction of someone who has hurt you in some way. You desire to see them fall, fail, or get caught. You have built a wall so high around your heart, that you don’t want to admit you want justice and are not afraid to get it for yourself. You watch them on social media hoping they get what is coming for them. Someone I barely know has caused so much pain in my life the past 6 years. The first few years of this my heart was angry. These thoughts constantly consumed my mind. I honestly looked up scriptures on vengeance and righteous anger. I waited around and hoped this person would fail or fall. But 2 summers ago when I became pregnant with Ezra the Lord extended so much grace and forgiveness. In my prayer time my heart was constantly drawn to praying for this person. The Lord taught me the word “forgiveness”. This person still has walls up towards me and even so my heart does not want to see them fail. BUT I hate to admit that for a long time these very thoughts consumed my life.
As I read back on these thoughts tears slowly fill my eyes. God how much grace can you give? How can I think about myself or others this way? How can God use my prideful, shallow, resentful heart to bring Him glory? When we think about these sins we try to hide from or ignore it can seem like we are too broken to be used, we start hiding behind the fig leaves of shame. Afraid to expose the real “me”.
But why are we so afraid to see ourselves as we truly are? Honestly…because we fear that no one could possibly love the raw and unedited version of us. I mean all they see is the instagram, filtered, edited, life we put out there. Trust me, I get it! Like I wrote in the beginning, there is a fear in me as I write this. I am afraid of not being a role model or being “just another Christian”. But, there is also another part of me that is relieved I no longer desire to create that covered up, fake version, because in reality it is exhausting. These thoughts and desires only draw people to me, which is like grasping at meaningless 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. I want to see Jesus break down the walls of our hearts and experience the deep true Grace of a loving Father.
A grace that gives us permission to run, completely vulnerable, completely naked, dropping the fig leaves at the foot of the cross. Because at the cross we have all the covering we need. I want to live unedited, desperate for the renewed mercy and grace of the one who breathes life into my lungs.