Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to let ourselves be seen as we truly are? One of the most important stages as we grow spiritually is understanding what parts of ourselves we still try to hide from God (and others). I have spent a lot of time healing from my tendency to hide behind different masks. It has taken time for me to understand what purpose these masks served, what was underneath them that I was so terrified of others seeing, and how this transferred over to my relationship with God. There are so many masks we try to hide behind: humor, perfectionism, people pleasing, success, holiness. I have worn all of these and still find myself tempted to put on certain ones when I am feeling vulnerable. Somewhere along the way, these masks keep us safe, they protect us from feeling rejected or vulnerable or having our needs go unmet, and so they became functional and serve a purpose. But, as much as we have grown comfortable in them, they also steal a lot away from us. It is only when we allow ourselves to be seen as we are that we can come to know that we are loved as we are.
On a retreat a few years back, they showed a clip from the newest Cinderella movie. It was the scene where Cinderella was about to be seen by the prince for the first time without being all done up like she was at the ball. The narrator said, “Would who she was really be enough? She had no magic to help her this time. It was perhaps the greatest risk of all. To be seen as you truly are.” There it was. Cinderella managed to put into words perfectly what so many of us wonder, “Without this mask, will I be enough?” “If people truly knew me, would they still love me?” That line hit me so powerfully. To be seen as we are takes courage, and the only way we will allow ourselves to do it, is if we come to truly understand and trust God’s love for us.
In Sr. Miriam James Heidland’s beautiful book, Loved as I AM, she tells about her journey of conversion and coming to know she was loved by God just as she was, brokenness and all. She went through many of the pains and traumas most of us try to bury and hide. Sometimes in hearing others’ stories and entering into their own unmasking process, it can help us to do the same in our lives. The start of this New Year is a beautiful time to ask ourselves, “What ways is God inviting me to become more of my authentic, truest self?” And, “What in my life do I need to let go of in order to truly let myself be seen and loved as I am?”
You are not alone in wanting to be loved and fearing that you might not receive love unless you meet a certain standard. I wrestle with this lie too. But I am happy to share that the more I acknowledge the things I try to hide behind and the more I trust how God loves me in my imperfections, the less I have to hide. And I pray the same for you. I was listening to this song the other day, called “Out of Hiding (Father’s Song),” and it sums up so perfectly what God the Father wants us, His children, to know. I imagine God the Father inviting us to come out of hiding, to listen to His words, to let us know He understands why we hide, and He wants to offer us another way of living.
Come out of hiding
You’re safe here with Me
There’s no need to cover
What I already see
You’ve got your reasons
But I hold your peace
You’ve been on lockdown
And I hold the key
‘Cause I loved you before you knew it was love
And I saw it all, still I chose the cross
And you were the one that I was thinking of
When I rose from the grave
Now rid of the shackles, My victory’s yours
I tore the veil for you to come close
There’s no reason to stand at a distance anymore
You’re not far from home
I’ll be your lighthouse
When you’re lost at sea
And I will illuminate
No need to be frightened
No, just throw off your fear
And come running to Me
Here is the whole song to listen to and meditate on. May your New Year be blessed with freedom, hope and greater security in knowing that you are loved as you are.
© 2018 Drewe DeJesus
Photo by Bud Helisson at Freely Photos https://freelyphotos.com/glasses-back-focus/