Have you ever noticed that religion often teaches us 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 squash your longings and shield your true feelings until you’re not quite sure who you are anymore.

Truth in Unusual Places

I came across an intriguing metaphor recently that compares each of us to 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 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)*

Which of these three resonates with you?

Learning to Manage

When we’re afraid to show who we are ,we put on the masks and let life convince us it’s not okay to be us — even in the very best families and Christian circles and churches and families.

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.

Managing demands so much time and energy, we have little to spare. Managing means we’re eventually weighed down by feelings of dissatisfaction, overwhelm, inadequacy, and guilt.

Holding onto Hope

But Christianity doesn’t have to taste like cardboard!

Life can be more than managing opinions.

We can give up the masks for good and remember who we truly are.

We can ditch lave guilt and insecurity and experience God’s love and acceptance on a daily basis.

Now that’s be adventure worth pursuing, a life worth finding!

And that 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.

You can be so comfortable in your own skin that you no longer care what’s written on the bottle label because you know that you know that you know who you are to the One who matters most.

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