life: unmasked

God doesn’t require you and I to be whole and perfect. God doesn’t love us more when we do everything just right and love us less when it all falls apart.

Just the opposite.

Jesus deliberately sought out those whom society had rejected: Samaritans, Galileans, women, and the sick and disabled. Paul lays it out plainly in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31God chooses broken people, the ones least likely to succeed, the ones H.R. would pass over when looking to hire.

I know all this, I’ve seen God do it, and yet I still live like I don’t believe. I still hide my messes, and I pretend to be fine when I’m really a hair’s breadth from sobbing. Why is this? I think way down deep, I’m afraid of being rejected.

I am afraid to admit just how afraid I am that the depression will rear its ugly head again as the nights lengthen and the air chills. But when I confide in friends, they reassure me that winter slumps are normal and medication has its place if I need it.

I don’t know how to say out loud some of the questions I have about God and about faith and how things play out in churches that claim to follow Jesus. I fear being rejected, and I fear some of the answers I might find. But keeping this a secret drove a wedge into my relationship with my husband. True intimacy requires trust and openness, so we’re learning to share difficult things. (I wrote more about marriage and trust and being honest here.

I’m too proud to let you do my dirty laundry when I’m exhausted from caring for sick children. Helping brings the helper joy and when I let you in, it deepens our friendship in ways nothing else can.

You may have similar hidden shames, but you won’t share them with me if you think I’ve never had to talk myself out of bed in the morning or walked away from a mess that was so big I couldn’t figure out where to begin tackling it.

When I take down my mask, and especially when I share where I found God in the middle of my mess, I also show where we all find hope.
We live the truth that God is there, that God loves depressed messy exhausted overwhelmed people, and especially that God redeems and makes us beautiful.

Take off the mask. Show us who you are and who God is making you. You can write a story, record a video, or just post a photo. Share the link to your specific post (not just the general link to your blog) in the linky tool below, or write your story in the comments. I know we are all short on time, but will you please try to visit one or two other posts and share some encouragement for the other brave unmasked writers?

grace for the good girl by emily p. freemanIn honor of this inaugural edition of life: unmasked, I’m thrilled to give one of you a copy of “Grace for the Good Girl,” the new book written by Emily Freeman, who blogs at Chatting at the Sky. Emily’s is one of the very first blogs I read, and she has been an encouragement to me time and time again. We agreed that her book is a perfect fit for this new writing project. (And guys, if you happen to be the winner, I’m sure you know a good girl in need of grace with whom you can share the book.)

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