Have you ever noticed that religion can teach us how to hide?

You can hide your sorrows behind “God is good.” You can hide your anxieties behind “Casting all your cares.” You can hide your burnout behind “godly Christians spend and are spent for Jesus.”

But when you hide, eventually a deep ache grows inside. You may masterfully squash your longings and shield your true feelings, but sooner or later the real you leaks out–or risks being silenced for good.

Truth in Unexpected Places

I read a great fiction book recently and was struck by a metaphor claiming we are each bottles with a label on the outside.

We are the bottle. Each of us . . . . [but] It’s extremely difficult to read the label when you’re standing inside the bottle.

The story explains we often can’t see the truth of who we are and what kind of impact we have on those around us. We simply don’t see ourselves clearly. And so we fall into one of these categories:

  1. the people that go through life worried that what’s written on their bottle is a list of faults, mistakes, and regrets.
  2. the people who easily see what’s on the bottles of others (with all their talents and influence) but fail to see anything remarkable about themselves.
  3. or, scariest of all . . .

the people who know what’s on their label, or maybe used to know, but they’ve forgotten, or they’ve gone into hiding. They won’t let people see their strengths any longer, because something has frightened them, or a personal crisis has taken them out of the arena, or they’re too ashamed of something they’ve done, or something has happened that has made them scared to show people who they really are. (pg 12)*

Do you relate with any of these three?

Learning to Manage

When we hide parts of ourselves, a deep ache grows inside. You put on the masks and hide till you barely remember what it means to say what you think or admit what you want or pursue what you love. Life convinces you it’s not okay to be you — even in the very best families and Christian circles.

And when we hide long enough, all that’s left is MANAGING.

Managing expectations
Managing schedules
Managing opinions
Managing reactions
Managing emotions
Managing what “they” think of me . . .

The Problem with Management

The problem is: MANAGEMENT IS A FULL-TIME JOB!

Whether we like it or not. Eeeerrrgg.

Managing people, expectations, opinions–and everything else–demands so much time and energy, you have none left to spare. Managing means you’re eventually crushed by a responsibility that leaves you feeling dissatisfied, overwhelmed, inadequate, guilty.

And in the quiet, end-of-day whispers—the rare, stolen, thinking times—you wonder how you managed to end up here . . . .

Holding onto Hope

What if life didn’t have to taste like cardboard?

What if you can be fully known and fully loved — and give up masks for good?

What if you could get back to the place where you know what you want? Release responsibility for what “they” think? Remember who you are?

What if you could leave guilt and insecurity behind and truly experience God’s love and acceptance on a daily basis?

Now that is adventure worth pursuing! Life worth finding?

And this is exactly the kind of life Jesus meant in John 10:10: “I am come that they might have life more abundant.”

You can stop living small and afraid. You can become the spiritually vibrant woman God created you to be.

You can actually enjoy LIVING instead of managing. (John 10:10)

You can be so comfortable in your own skin that you no longer worry what’s written on your bottle anymore because you know that you know that you know what matters most of all — who you are in Christ.

*Quoted from The Long Journey to Jake Palmer by James L. Rubart

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