It starts with an “I’m fine”. A small smile that doesn’t reach your eyes is next. A quick change in conversation to deflect the attention away from yourself follows. Each small act takes you one step closer to burying the real you.
For too many years, if I’m honest, I searched, hid and pretended. I lead many conversations with those I don’t know well with an “I’m fine. How are you”? I prayed the exchange would move quickly away from anything too personal and into a safe, comfortable place. If you could get inside my head, my response sounds very different. Who I am is not always a portrayal of the real me.
I am learning the real you, the part of you that you consciously choose to share or not, is one dimension of the many faces that make up the beautiful you God created. God takes the many facets of our personalities, quirks and all, and blends them into beauty. He loves every detail and rejoices when we willingly share each part authentically with family and friends.
I find this second part of my life is my chance to come clean. The deepest part of my being contains shards of brokenness that I keep hidden. A small piece of me revels in keeping those shards exactly as they are. God, however, desires freedom for my soul brokenness. Instead of creating a facade of having it all together on the outside, God can’t wait to gently put the splinters of my being back together again.
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On many levels, God challenges me to let go of the brokenness and surrender it all to Him. Weekly time in a leadership cohort tests me to throw down the old me and open myself to a wholeness that only God provides. If I truly seek the real me, I need to invite God to enter into the reality that is hidden in my heart. Freedom penetrates our heart when reality joins with God’s truth. God shows us how to grab this freedom when we name what’s real and live the words we claim.
The real you shines best when others question you in love and grace. For me this looks like:
Sitting across the table from a friend who knows me well and is quick to say “Me too” when I describe those innermost feelings.
Allowing church pastors to dig deeper into my soul brokenness as a way to name it and let it go.
Leading other women in discipleship knowing by sharing vulnerably, I bring my messiness to the surface and make room for the other women to do the same.
Answering the question “how are you”? with an honesty that evokes love and kindness, not a chance to gain sympathy.
What are some ways you reveal the real you when engaging in conversation or life with others?
If this is an area of struggle, what is one thing you can do today to make a change?
My prayer for you this week:
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8-9 MSG