You Don’t Have to Hide

Do you ever feel like you have to hide who you are?

You know . . . that person inside. The one who isn’t perfect. The human who makes mistakes.

I strongly believe in grace. Everyone messes up now and then. We’re all in need of forgiveness from God and each other. I also believe in the power of “story.” We each have a past and a present to share with others. By being honest and vulnerable, we can help and support those around us.

It took me awhile to understand the value in being open. Of course, everyone has pieces that can and should remain private. There are also people who should NOT be trusted with our vulnerability. But there's a freedom that comes when we're honest with ourselves and other people about our struggles. When we acknowledge that we have flaws, we're released from trying to be who we're not.

I grew up feeling that I needed to be perfect. I was always careful to look well-dressed and put together no matter what I was doing, or where I was going. Words didn’t come out of my mouth unless I was confident that nothing spoken would be considered wrong. I didn’t share my doubts or insecurities. Keeping up the image I wanted to project took a lot of energy. It also produced fear that I would be found out. Any public mistake I made caused my cheeks to heat in humiliation.

Then one day I realized that I didn’t need to prove anything.

I didn’t have to prove my worth to anybody.

I’m a child of God. He made me. And He loves me just the way I am.
And you know what? I discovered that other people do, too.

I found that by being vulnerable, I was able to share my beliefs with others in a more profound way because people related to my experiences. I’m a “real” person with “real” faith and a “real” relationship with God.

Sure, I still fall back into old habits. I still have moments of beating myself up over my imperfections. But as time goes on, I find that I have fewer bruises. I'm learning.

I don’t have to hide anymore.

You don’t have to hide. You don’t have to plaster a smile on your face when you’re hurting inside. You don’t have to face things on your own.

There are people who want to accept and love you with all your screw-ups and scars.

There is a God who has always loved you and who will never stop loving you.

Listen to this song by Joy Williams . . . and believe it.


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