i’ll abandon my defenses, and live to love again.

For years I’ve been guarded, for years I have fought,

But that which I battled was that which I sought.

I’m always aware of the way that I stand

(For the way I present myself says who I am):

Hands on my hips, feet planted firm on the floor,

I’m prepared for the battle, but alone in the war.

With a sword of indifference and wit like a knife,

My fierce independence is my shield — is my life.

I hide behind big words when I’m speechless

And because I’m afraid of you, act like I’m fearless.

But…

If I didn’t have to prove that I’m good enough,

Smart, independent, self-sufficient and tough,

If I could be open and honest and real

And forego this facade to explain how I feel,

It would be so much easier if I could just say

In an innocent, immature, little kid way

With a strawberry blush and cheeks growing hot,

That I want you, and need you, and like you….

…a lot.

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Published in: on November 26, 2012 at 7:55 pm  Comments (1)  
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This Love

What then shall I bring you, Father, when you only ever wanted me? I can’t understand this love that asks nothing. Surely there’s something you expect of me. Isn’t love conditional? To protect myself I must earn it, for the facade I’ve built depends on this wall of pride.

Always feigning strength, now openly weak; always showing indifference, now visibly moved; always guarded, now completely disarmed; transparent and vulnerable, I am brought to my knees in brokenness before this all-encompassing love. As a loving parent’s thumb gently wipes tear stains from the face of a child, so this love washes over me, healing the scars of my past and making me new.

I have always tried so hard. I have made myself someone I’m not and have let my worth be determined by the opinions of others. I have lived my life chasing the unattainable, trying to reach everyone’s expectations. I have pushed myself to the point of breakdown to find their approval. I have given everything… everything but myself.

But this love does not ask of me perfection. It does not ask beauty or intelligence or talent. It does not ask me to do anything, but simply to be; it asks me to be nothing more than who I am.  It accepts me completely with all of my flaws and my faults and my mistakes. It wants me despite my insecurity and my hesitation and my confusion. It is beautiful in its simplicity…yet also challenging in its passion.

For while asking less, it demands more than I have ever given in any relationship. It demands all of me. It demands my heart.

This love asks nothing, and this love asks everything. Let go, He says, and I will hold you. Abandon your image; I will never leave you. Cease striving, for the work is done. Only give me your heart.

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 12:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Walking in the Light

The first of many notes on 1st John — I camped out in 1st John for about 4 months, and those pages are so scribbled over with comments that I can hardly read the original text. There’s some powerful stuff packed into those verses, so here’s my first little commentary.

1st John 1:7 If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His son, purifies us from all sin.

Walking in the light signifies transparency.  Too often people interpret walking in the light as living the right way — as “walking in goodness” rather than “walking in transparency.” But it goes so much deeper than that! Living in the light means giving people an invitation to look at your life. People love darkness, not light, when they sin; they hide and refuse to come into the light because they know that it will expose their sin. But those who love God and do His will live in the light, because it shows that their lives are lived dia tou Christou — through Christ (John 3:19 paraphrase).  We tend to dismiss this whole idea of transparency because we don’t want others to see our sins and our struggles and our baggage.  So we put on what Casting Crowns calls the “Stained Glass Masquerade”: With walls around our weakness, and smiles to hide our pain.

But read the next part of the verse: we cannot have fellowship with others unless we get rid of these facades. Maybe this is why there is such a lack of unity in the church today. If we’re broken together, we can stand together. But as long as we’re hiding and pretending and refusing to be honest with one another, relationships will not develop. We will be divided, meeting together in body but not in spirit. And that, fellow Christians, is the death toll of the church.

Finally, we will only be purified if we are walking in this revealing light. Jesus’ blood can only cleanse us if we are open and honest about our struggles and our shortcomings.  So now this becomes more than an issue of privacy — it’s an issue of purity.  This is to be taken seriously; it’s not optional.  Transparency is vital both to your healing (purification) and the healing of Christ’s church (relationships and community).

So take a risk — be the first to truly step into the light. You will experience freedom like never before.

…and that’s just one verse out of the whole book of 1st John.

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 1:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Masquerade of Life

Written December 16, 2010.

Perfection once existed in the tranquility of a garden before the fall of humanity. Characterized by openness, honesty, and trust, the relationship between the first two people on earth was unmarred by false impressions. They were on the same level: both vulnerable, both unafraid and trusting. Yet in one crucial moment of painful self-awareness, they became “afraid because they were naked; so they hid.”

Thus began the Masquerade of Life: the desperate scramble to conceal our imperfections, our insecurities, and our weaknesses before anyone else can spot them. For milennia, the pattern has continued. We, like they, fear exposure; so we hide behind the safety of a mask, trading reality for a game of blind man’s bluff. We exist in an alternate reality, shadowed by the threat of rejection if we expose our true selves. To defend ourselves, we spend our lives creating and projecting the image that we want everyone else to see, when it is this very superficiality that makes our lives begin to crumble from the inside out.

Ironic, isn’t it, how feigning perfection lures us farther and farther away from that unattainable ideal? We all waste our time chasing the same thing, trying to impress the people who are trying to impress us, when if we all dispensed with the facades and reduced ourselves to the lowest common denominator, we would all find ourselves on equal footing. No one attains perfection with these masquerades; perfection is found in simplicity, which stems from transparency. As long as transparency is traded for image, the distant concept of perfection will remain beyond our reach.

But who will be the first to strip away the carefully crafted layers and stand, exposed and vulnerable, before the masked faces of the world? Who will be the first to risk judgmental eyes glaring through their open and transparent sincerity? I wish I could say that it will be me. But in all honesty, it probably won’t be. Because, like all of us, I discovered early on in life that vulnerability leads to rejection and embarrassment. I have learned along with the rest of the world that the only defense is to hide behind a clever facade.

Who will be the first?

No one?

And so it continues… the Masquerade of Life.

Published in: on April 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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