Beautiful Portraits of Myself
Last Tuesday, I had not one, not two, but three hard conversations. They were all unrelated, but I would have been foolish to think it was by a mere coincidence. The details are unimportant, but what is important is I was confronted by friends about various ways I had hurt them. I crawled in bed that night honestly just wanting to disappear.
I had three options. I could hide and wallow in my shame of ‘never being good enough’, ‘always screwing up’, ‘being a terrible person’ , etc. I could blame my friends and make lists of their flaws, sins, and inconsistencies. Or I could accept correction graciously, ask for forgiveness, and ponder how the confrontations could refine my character.
Despite my usual M.O. to wallow in shame, I chose option #3: grace. forgiveness. refinement.
The hardest part for me was I felt exposed. My pride tore through my canvas of humility. My weakness seemed to stain my image of strength. And my selfishness roared it’s ugly head and shredded my “good Christian” visage. Have you ever felt exposed?
Listen to this beautiful passage:
“Christians who remain in hiding continue to live the lie. We deny the reality of our sin. In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of a healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others. We cling to our bad feelings and beat ourselves up about the past when what we should do is let it go. As Bonhoeffer said, guilt is an idol. But when we dare to live as forgiven men and women, we join the wounded healers and draw closer to Jesus.”
–Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child
This passage elicits both sadness and joy. I spend countless hours painting a beautiful portraits of myself, in essence hiding my weaknesses and disguising my wounds. I hate shortcomings. I hate imperfection. I despise not having it all together. But I am reminded again, that grace and healing are found through the vulnerability of people who have been fractured and heartbroken by life. If I never hurt people, struggled with selfishness, or said things I didn’t mean–I wouldn’t need Jesus.
It’s humbling, yet freeing to again embrace the reality that in Love’s service, only wounded soldier’s can serve. I’m chosen for this journey, not because I’m smart, talented, or accomplished, but because I’m broken and desperately need a Savior. My cracks break through the painted surface and awaken my spirit to that which God has called me to do: limp alongside broken women towards healing. And along the way, tear up this portrait of myself and allow men and women around me to see my wounds and flaws and call me into deeper relationship.
Have you experienced a time when you felt exposed? How is God’s truth different from what feels ‘normal’?