Its so easy to pretend to be someone we are not.

Its so easy to conform to the images that society showcases. The next diet craze, the next celebrity fashion trend or the next beauty regime are some of the many things that sweep us into the false sense of reality and in turn in to a sense of insecurity. Don’t worry, we are all guilty of it (I know I am, fad diets are a reoccurring trend in my life haha) but it shouldn’t have to be this way. For me,

we try and hide the interior by masking our exterior.

We often put on a mask or build a wall around the person we actually are and act in a certain way in the hopes of fitting in and being liked. This default disguise is protecting our hearts from the fear of rejection, fear of being not liked for who we are. In so many different scenarios, we find we all put on a façade, and church is one of those. Believe it or not it can be hard stepping into church and being our true selves all the time. We are going to have moment’s when life really isn’t great, when we are weighed down by burden, by trials, by tribulation, and it’s in these moments where we are fearful of the rejection again if we show this side of ourselves to those who only see the happy, confident persona we front. That’s why it is so easy to just front a smile and show the world you’ve got it together, but God knows our hearts, and he invites us to be our unique and true selves before him. This is easier said than done, because sometimes we question how we can be loved, how we can be open to God using us when we don’t feel qualified. When our flaws, our sins resurface, and we ask, ‘how can I be my true self, when I don’t feel like I’m worthy to be loved by you’. But that is the beauty of God, that through our flaws, our sins, he still loves us and nothing can separate us from that. Romans 8:31-39 (NLT) says this:

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?  Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.  And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

He’s waiting to embrace our true selves, he’s waiting for us to be vulnerable before him. I think that our true-self lies within the soul of our being and we need to be confident in the knowledge that God already knows us, so if we can begin to open up before God, we shouldn’t be ashamed and shy away from being our true selves in front of others. Just be ready to open your heart before him and allow the unexpected to take place.

As part of my internship here at St Werburgh’s, we attend a Young Leadership College in Nottingham. One of the session’s was looking at why it is important to know ourselves and being true to who we really are. I felt this particular teaching challenge me in how I’m guilty of wearing a mask at times, out of fear, out of rejection. Realising this and reading Pete Scazzero’s book on Emotionally Healthy Spirituality voiced how breaking free and “shedding our old false self would enable us to live authentically in our new true self”, the new true self God wants us and plans us to be in my eyes. He then went on to talk about, which really impacted my heart on how “we need to summon the courage to follow our God-give ‘true self’ rather than the views, voices and the demon’s around me”. It is so true how words spoken over us or we speak over ourselves can impact on the way we showcase to world who we are – and that’s where we see Satan begin to play a part in overshadowing our opportunity to be our ‘true’ self. But get this, Jesus overcame the world (John 16:33) and we need to have the courage to believe that he can overcome the lies that the devil tries to impart into our minds.

My encouragement to you as you read this is that don’t be afraid to step out and embrace your true self, even though it can be so difficult at times, have assurance in the fact Jesus knows YOU, all of you and no matter what mask you front, he’s already embracing you just as you are. Trust that you are qualified and be certain that you are loved.

STW Derby