'As a good girl, I lived a lot of my life believing that other people knew a secret about being a believer that I wasn't privy to. So I strived and tried and worked hard to find it. And when I couldn't figure it out, I wore all my masks to cover up what I thought I lacked. If I couldn't feel complete, I could at least look like I was. My masks bought me time while I figured out what the secret was.'
Emily Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl
This is so me.
Even though, up until a few weeks ago, I would've said that I did not have any masks - that putting on my 'best face' was a part of who I am. I mean, who wants to deal with all of my screw-ups and messes? Not me. I tried to cover them up the best I could, even from those closest to me.
"I just want to become more like Jesus"
"I should do what Jesus would do in this situation"
These are statements I have heard for as long as I can remember, and they sound right. Of course I want to be more like Jesus! Of course I want to do what Jesus would do!
Yet the more I think about them, the more impossible it seems to ever attain this level of Christianity.
This is not the life that Jesus died to give us, not the life of freedom that was promised. And it is of my own making - I have put the impossible standard of perfection on my walk with Him. This is why my day to day life is marred by guilt and shame.
'There is a becoming that happens as we walk with Jesus, but it isn't under a system of achieving. Rather, it is an act of receiving.'
I have to let go of everything that I think makes me a good person, all of the things I find my security and identity in, and release them to God.
'You are not accepted because you're good.
You are free to be good because you are accepted.
You are not responsible to have it all together.
You are free to respond to the One who holds all things together.
You do not have to live up to impossible expectations.
You are free to wait expectantly on Jesus, the One who is both the author and perfecter of your faith.
Million Dollar Question:
'Are you trying to be who Jesus wants you to be?'
(Honestly, at this point I said; yes! I am trying every day. Again, it sounds so right)
'Or do you trust him to bring out who he has already created you to be?
Do you see the difference? It took a while for it to sink in.
'Trying' jumps out at me. I think 'trying' could characterize my whole life. I have always been trying, so very hard to do the right thing. And be the right thing, and keep everything together all by myself.
When I read the second one, about bringing out what he already created me to be, a peace washes over my soul.
'You mean I can stop trying, Lord? That the responsibility of making myself into a thriving follower of Christ is actually yours?? You created me to be something more than this? And you promise to take care of all of the work?'
At this point I felt God telling me that I have two choices;
1. Be obedient to the law
2. Be obedient to the truth (Galatians 5:7)
When I am obedient to the law I have control over my own choices, and most of the time I can limp along pretty good. I can follow the good girl way, putting on my masks of 'Everything is great', 'I am loving everything about my life', and my personal favorite 'I got this'. But, inside I'm a mess. A great, big, emotional mess. My experience of the Christian life is much like a roller coaster, filled with spiritual highs - while dreading the low you know is coming. To give up control is not an option, no one can know what a disaster I am inside, or how many doubts I have on a daily basis.
Surrender I must, because this is exactly what Christ died to free me from - a life of trying to do and be on my own.
Obedience to the truth is simple. Will I choose to believe each day that God is who he says he is, and that he can do what he says he can do.
'Christ in me, the hope of glory.' With Christ IN me how can I not live changed? With Christ IN me I will live out the fruits of the Spirit. Not because I am good, but because the Holy Spirit IS good, and he lives IN me.
'Only Jesus can be like Jesus. And he wants me to trust him to be who he is in and through me.'
Why is it so hard to be transparent?
I am a master of the art of being just vulnerable enough to 'be real', but not so vulnerable that all of my mess hangs out. This is not right! This is harmful to the body of Christ, and reeks of the evil one's influence and lies.
Today I am choosing freedom. I am choosing to be obedient to truth. I am choosing to let God lead me to a new place of transparency and openness with him and others.
Choosing to Be Free,