I am afraid to tell you who I am, because if I tell you who I am you may not like who I am, and it’s all that I have
~ John Powell
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, Who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
~ paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Ephesians 2
Oh beloved, it is true.
Each of us can – and usually do – live in the deepest of fear. We are afraid that if people come to know us as we really are, then they will turn away. They will reject us. The problem is that, even if they do reject us, we will not be safe.
Because really, what boils underneath us, in our flesh is a boiling cauldron of failure and pain and a willingness to hurt others. Our sickness is deep. And the only true way to kill the sin, is to kill the old man trying to call the shots.
We are afraid to be real. We are afraid that if we just let it all hang out, and share our struggles – people will look at us, turn their backs and walk out of our lives. And the truth is, that this will indeed sometimes happen.
But, it is the only way out. There is nowhere to hide. And trying to keep our flesh under control is the worst way for us to lose control.
If we try to hide our lust, we will be consumed by the internal desire to have whatever we want right now.
If we try to hide our fear, we will be drawn into its dark hole that keeps out the G_d-pleasing light of faith.
If we try to hide our pain, we are slowly eaten away by the ache.
If we try to hide our brokenness, it serves us no purpose.
If we try to hide our doubts, we allow them to fester instead of finding the truth.
If we try to hide our failure, we only delay the day when victory becomes permanent.
If we try to hide our worry, we only amplify this negative and false feedback loop.
Can we see it?
Hiding the worst of ourselves, is just like the problem that Adam and Eve had in the garden. They had become convinced that they had to hide from G_d. They had been so blinded by the lie that they had to go away and make peace with themselves; get fixed up before they came back to Him, that they would rather avoid His Presence than be made whole in it.
We do the same thing.
We think that we have to go and make peace with ourselves before we can be at peace with anyone else, especially G_d. And it is here that we miss the most bedrock of truths: We are poor beyond belief. We cannot do this on our own. We REALLY need help.
And the only place to actually get the peace we are looking for, is to accept the terms of peace that the Prince of Peace has put forth. His terms are clear: The flesh avails for nothing. It will never be fixed. The new Life He provides in the Spirit avails for everything. In Him, He breaks down the terrible fight we have been having with ourselves, and with everyone else – and brings the peace we have sought.
He Himself is our Peace.
So, are you struggling with the desire to hide your failures to try to get some peace? It won’t work. Never has. Never does. Never will. However, His Peace is available. But, you (and this fool of a writer), must not be afraid to come out into the light. Tonight is your night beloved. Time to find the Peace you have always been looking for.
Dear Abba, To spiritually photoshop, or not to spiritually photoshop: that is a recurring question. I’ve gotten pretty good at cropping and resizing to keep an impressive façade, but the emptiness behind it is the telling thing, telling me that something about the life I’m living is off the tracks. I’m not the biggest fan of mirrors but I realize they do serve a purpose: showing me the reality, the real me. I’m a ragamuffin, always have been, and yet You love me, the real me. Amazing.
~ Brennan Manning, Dear Abba: Morning and Evening Prayer