Spiritual Growth

The façade & the letting go

You don’t find many instances of vulnerability on social media. You do find a lot of perfectly posed and heavily edited selfies. You find the highlights of life. You don’t find very many low-lights. Very many valley moments. Very many reality glimpses behind the photos like that ugly thing said to the husband or the gossiping tongues of comparison. Very many “this is me and I’m a mess” moments.

We wear masks. We people please. We gratify pride and the ego grows. And we become so very unhappy.

The masks carry beyond social media though – into “I’m good” lies and the many we put in place to keep people from getting too close – from knowing the real us.

We can even put a façade on with God. To keep Him from getting too close. From creeping into the areas of our life where we would rather He not. From getting to know the real us. Because we don’t think He’ll like what he sees – what He finds in the deep recesses of our minds and hearts.

I think it’s time to take off the mask just a bit. I’m being real. Real with some honest feelings and struggles. Struggles that we may all have at one time or another.

I don’t always feel close to God. Right now I seem to be in one of those valleys. I still desire closeness with Him. So very much. I’m still faithfully in His Word and in Bible study but I don’t feel Him there. I can’t picture His closeness like I once had. I’ve been praying for Him to show Himself. To reveal His Presence to me. To draw near to me…but the feeling still evades me.

Here’s the truth through – feelings do not dictate truth. Just because I don’t always feel His presence doesn’t mean He’s not there. It doesn’t mean He’s left. He keeps His promises. So even if I don’t feel Him near me, I know He is and I cling to the truth that He will never leave me or forsake me. He can’t. He promised. And He’s a promise keeper.

After a week or so of prayers for His nearness, I felt a small whisper in my soul.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. – James 4:8

 Suddenly, I realized that the issue wasn’t Him drawing near to me. It was that I wasn’t drawing near to Him. I thought I was. I was journaling and praying and studying His Word but the mask remained perched on my nose. I’ll let Him see what I want Him to see. I’ll let Him near here but not there. I’ll let Him get only so close.

Maybe I’ve limited His presence. Maybe while I’m begging for His nearness He is begging me to just draw near.

Draw near to me, Lord.

 I can’t. Your arms are keeping me at length. You won’t let me near. 

Draw near to me, Lord.

My arms are open but your eyes are down and your fists are white knuckled clutching that which your heart truly is near. 

Draw near to me, Lord. I give you it all.

Not with that mask on you don’t, daughter. You’ve yet to fully trust me. 

Draw near to me, Lord. 

You just need to let go. Let go, put aside these things of the world and fall into me.

Draw near to me, Lord.

Your mouth beckons but your arms halt. Your heart is hard. Your mind is too full of other things. 

Draw near to Me says the Lord

Lift your eyes. Empty your hands. Lower your arms. Let go.

The thing about masks? At first they are uncomfortable. They’re not natural. They’re not how we were made. But over time we grow to love our masks. We grow accept our masks. We grow to embrace our masks. The purpose of a mask is to hide. Not reveal. So we cover. We get hurt and we cover more. Those closest who maybe we trusted just enough to remove a corner of the mask end up betraying us and those mask strings get tighter…slowly and surely suffocating the life right out of us. Even though it’s killing us, we cling to it all the more. Concealing.

I can save you from yourself.

And when Someone wants to remove the masks it’s painful. We’ve pasted so many on – it hurts for them to be slowly peeled away. Our eyes have been so deceived by the dimness of our coveted masks that they squint at the light. They do not recognize the face in the mirror. They may long for a mask, any mask, to cover up the vulnerabilities, the insecurities, the hurt, the ugly.

The masks of people’s approval, comparison, idolatry, distorted motives, unbelief, lack of faith, fall away and we can finally see for maybe the first time in a long time. Because when the masks are removed, nearness is possible. Healer brings salve to our eyes to see ourselves how He sees us. We see the truth. We are no longer slaves to the masks. We are no longer slaves to insecurity. To fear. To idols. To sin. To unrighteousness. To ourselves. We’ve been set free. Given new identities. New lives.

Draw near to the Lord and He will draw near to you.

Lower your arms. Empty your hands. Let go.

Welcome Him to uncover you. And then grab onto His cloak. Cling to the King’s cloak. He calls you by name. By your real name. And lifts you onto His shoulders.

Because when we draw near, we are His, He is ours, and we are free.

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