“God marvels in when we go, “Look how ugly* I am, and yet he loves me.” That’s where freedom is. Freedom is not in you looking pretty. Freedom is you understanding your ugliness and letting God’s glory be seen in him loving the ugly kid. I don’t know why we have to pretend. God’s victory and strength is not found in your strength.” Matt Chandler, from a sermon titled Superseding Righteousness
I have been wearing a masks for years. I don’t think they have been very effective and some people could probably see right through them, but they were there nonetheless. The masks were: perfectionism, financial “I got this”, super single mom, I’m a great Christian and my mistakes are in the past, I can meet all your expectations with a smile. Well, the masks got too tight, and I couldn’t keep up with their demands. Even so, it was hard to remove them…too much exposure. Well, I finally crashed and burned and dived head-on into a pit of despair, and the masks just had to come off to save my life.
As the masks were coming off, and the despair was lifting, God navigated me toward sermon podcasts by Tullian Tchividjian of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale. I’ve heard many beautiful messages about God’s grace over the years, but Tullian’s were different. They gave me a renewed sense of hope and helped me to understand that Christianity is not about “getting better”. I had believed for so long that the Christian life was all about getting better and felt like a failure because it wasn’t happening. I was reading the Bible all wrong. Tullian is helping me to understand that it is about what Jesus has already done for the broken, flawed, mess of me. A few months later, God led me to another pastor’s sermons who was preaching the same message of grace – Matt Chandler of The Village Church. I am so grateful for these guys and their mission to return to the heart of the gospel and to set people free.
That photo above is my favorite photo of me. It is pre-mask me. Thanking God that he is returning me to the heart of that little girl again. It’s not a fast or easy process, but it’s happening. I’m still the ugly kid – I mess up every. single. day. in so many ways, but I can rest knowing God loves me anyway. He loves you too.
What masks do you wear?Note: I had some nutrional deficiencies that contributed to my depression, but once I took care of those it has been God’s message of grace that is leading me to freedom.