Often, as believers, we appear to have it all together. We let people know by our words and our responses that things are really good when they are not. We put on the ‘right face’ for each occasion and wear the right mask to hide what we are really feeling and who we really are. We know how to behave in each situation and thus can be who we need to be even if it is not the true us … because things are not always what they seem to be.
No where is this seen more often than in most people Facebook accounts. You can post such glowing things about yourself. Hand select the pictures you want to post. Make yourself look better than you are. Actually portray a different you than the one that lives in the reality of day-to-day existing. Things are not always what they seem to be.
And in the Church you see the same issue on a constant basis. You think someone is a mature believer and has a great spiritual life and a tremendous walk with Jesus.Only to find out that they are living in sin and simply put on the Christian mask or their go-to-meeting face so as to be acceptable and to fit in. Things are not always what they seem to be.
To avoid this self-deception and generally experienced pitfall we need to know ourself fully (to real ’me’) and be fully known by one other person.
Every year I create a statement that sums up what I am hoping to achieve during the year. A number of years ago I lived with the statement, “To know myself fully and be fully known.” It was a year when I asked myself a lot of questions. Why do you do that? What meaning does that have for you? Is this action (thought, attitude) linked to something in your past that needs to be dealt with? Why do you believe that? Should you continue to live like this? How do you feel about that? And, as I discovered answers to the many questions I shared my findings with a close and deeply trusted and confidential friend.
Over the year and the following three or four years (all of which had different slogans to be fulfilled) I continued to discover the real me that God had created. He was buried under life demands, social pressures, expectations of others, cultural baggage, the daily grind of life, and religious teachings that were not biblical. So, I continued to tear down and uproot the old me which was not the real me. Then after a season the real me began to come to the surface. I realized that things were not always as they seemed to be in my life. And, I was discovering the real me for the first time.
After the season of uprooting and tearing down came the season of planting and building. These seasons are, by the way, mentioned in Jeremiah, Chapter One. I began to build and then reveal the real me to my confidential friend and Christian brother. As he accepted this new me and the new ways I was expressing this new person he too realized that things are not always what they seem to be. And, he really encouraged me to keep digging, adjusting, changing … as I planted and built. The new me was slowly emerging and life began to be integrated and I was beginning to walk with serious integrity.
Well, I am now at the time when I am ready to fly. To make public the “new me” I have been working on understanding, embracing, and bringing forth for the last five years. I have brought who I am on the inside to the outside where others can see, hear, and encounter this new person who no longer has to wear masks as he worried about being received and accepted. He is now strong enough and understands himself well enough to live a life that has integrity and is integrated… holding together seamlessly being the same on the outside as he is on the inside.
Over this season of five years or more I have tried a number of times to “fly free.” But, I was not ready and it failed every time I tried. This past week I flew free for the first time since this major remake began. I and walking with a tremendous assurance of God’s love, a new confidence in what God is doing in and through me, and a tremendous boldness to simply be me and to minister in that simplicity and freedom.
You may not recognize me when we meet next time. But, I will be sure to introduce myself. You see, things are not always what they seem to be. But, in my life the masks are gone and the only face I put out there to be seen is the real me … I am now living on the outside who I really am on the inside – the new me has risen and the season of tearing down and uprooting, planting and building have almost come to an end and it is time to experience the freedom that only Jesus can supply and fly free in both my personal and professional life.