Freedom Within

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A few years after I joined the staff at CedarCreek, I was asked to share my testimony (a Christian euphemism for public confession!) from the main stage as part of the pastor’s weekend message. Founding Pastor Lee Powell was out of town that weekend and, as I put together my testimony, I was reminded of the nasty pit I was in when the love of God chased me down. I called him and said, “Lee, people are really going to wonder why you hired me to be on staff at this church. I might be scaring people away.” Lee said, “Lauri, you’re exactly why this church exists, so unchurched people can see in-person the transforming power found in the love of Jesus Christ.” By giving that talk, I had an opportunity to recall the masks I had worn and how the pressure from them had broken me. I was grateful though, because it was the weight of those masks that finally got me to the place where I could do nothing but look up. I looked up, and Jesus was there, waiting for me.

Yes, I had been living in the room of good intentions! I just traded my “I can do it all myself” mask for an “I can do all things through Christ (and me)” mask. That one has been harder to shed than all the others.  After all, it was obvious to everyone, and even finally to me, that I wasn’t doing it all myself. But with Jesus by my side, well, that has been another matter altogether. When I forget, even for a moment, who I am in Christ and try to put on the “good Christian sister” mask, there is still an infection of guilt and shame inside that spreads into other places and other relationships when left untreated. In the book The Cure, the authors say that if you’re sick, you can dress up, fix your face, and do your hair, but you’ll just be a dressed up sick person. It’s like putting lipstick on a pig.

The reality is that we all wear masks. My mask was this sin of living life in my own strength. To remove our masks they must be confessed and exposed to the healing light of Jesus. Many times, in taking responsibility for my sin, I must also confess it to the person(s) who have borne the brunt of my infected behavior.

James 5:16
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Confession is a gift that God gives us and is key to removing guilt that we carry around. The courage to do that requires me to trust that God’s love will never depend on me. It is all him because he is love. Knowing that, really knowing it, allows me to shed the mask once again and to move into the grace that God has for me. One day, I hope I, with my naked face, will be a permanent resident in the room of grace!

Is there a mask you find yourself putting on again and again? What is it?

Do you believe, do you even want to believe, that God loves you without the mask?

Next steps:
Spend some time asking God to reveal the masks you still wear. Then ask him to help you put them aside once and for all, as he tells you who you are to him.

Father, I know in my head that nothing is hidden from you. Help me transfer this knowledge to my heart. Help me realize that you love me, the ‘me’ you created me to be, and that nothing I do will ever make you love me more or less. I want to believe that I am your masterpiece, created anew in Christ Jesus, so I can do the good things you planned for me long ago (Ephesians 2:10). I choose to live in that truth today. Amen.

This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people who God used to start CedarCreek 21 years ago, and was on staff until 2013. She and her husband Mike love to travel the country in their motor home with their kitties Jane & Mary. Lauri is passionate about prayer, and about helping women discover who they are in Christ. She doesn’t tweet but you can follow her and Mike’s adventures on Facebook.

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