When You’re Afraid to Be Real

I’ve been wondering some things lately. I’ve been wondering what it is about us that makes us so afraid to live naked, unmasked lives. You know, from showing our true colors? Like, who we really are…on our insides. I just wonder why it terrifies us so much to be exposed. Why it is that we worry so much about what people will think if they knew the struggles we face or the messes we make?
Maybe it’s our pride that holds people at a distance. Pride that says, “Nope–I’m doing fine. Don’t need a thing.” Pride that always wears the happy face. That doesn’t let a person close enough to offer one bit of advice, for after all, we do have it all together. We’re pretty good at appearing perfect, even when we’re dying inside. 
Or perhaps it’s shame we feel. The ugliness we see is hard enough for our own souls to bear–why subject it to the hypercritical scrutiny of someone else? Or I wonder how much of all this cover-up is just plain old fear. Fear that we’ll be uncovered and not accepted.  We’ll be found out and then rejected. Or the worst–we’ll be fully known and yet not fully loved. So we hide. We lock ourselves up in dark, secret places and listen to the chanting, “It’s just not safe enough to let others see the real me.”
And I just can’t help but wonder, would we live this way if we knew who we really are and to Whom we truly belong? Children deeply loved by a God who knows our inmost being. Whose eyes see every nook and cranny of our souls and knows us better than we know ourselves. This Maker who formed us–draws us close and reassures us with His unconditional love. There’s no hiding from Him. No pretending. Our lives are lived before Him like an open book. We are exposed and bare before Him. He knows. He knows us, ever so intimately…and yet He loves. And He accepts. 
And He bids us to come out into the Light to live free. (Psalm 89:15; 1 John 1:6-8) Free from pride, free from shame, free from fear. Free to trust. Free to rest in His embrace. Free to just be authentic, transparent, real. It does take a radical kind of faith. A crazy sort of trust in the One who is not repulsed by the true me. He came to give us fullest life. (John 10:10) By spilling His blood, He became a gory mess to redeem all of our mess. And the more we feel secure in His love, the more we can live free.
Lord, help me to be as real as I can be.
And help me be the kind of person with whom others will feel safe.
This post was deeply inspired by this one (And of course, Ann Voskamp says it so much better than me.)

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