Tag Archives: life

Behind the Mask

Masks.

I am very familiar with masks. I began wearing them at a very young age. I would do anything and everything to become what I thought people wanted me to be. If they wanted funny I gave them funny. If they wanted smart, I would give them smart. If they wanted perfect I practically killed myself trying to obtain perfection. If they wanted remorseful I would act sorry. If they wanted beautiful, I spent hours analyzing my looks and perfecting my image till I met the world’s standard of beautiful.

All this hiding led me to a very dark place where my masks replaced my identity. I didn’t even know who I was without them.

Since I was little I’ve had a love of performing. I lived for people’s praises and for their applause. At first it started out as make believe, Disney princesses and such, but gradually it became my oxygen rather than a little girl’s pastime. I needed it to breathe, to feel alive and to feel accepted, liked and at times even loved. But it was an empty love.

I craved becoming someone else and disappearing behind a character. In high school I started acting and writing dramas, writing stories of characters that I could step into and become rather than offer the world myself. I was way more comfortable hiding behind scripts, costumes and other people’s pain… mine was just too overwhelming to face.

Sometimes at night, when all the lights were out and it was safe, I would slip that mask off revealing my tears. I remember crying out to God to forgive me for all the things I thought he wanted me to be that I wasn’t. But just as quickly as I revealed myself, I would slip that mask back on, because I couldn’t stand who I was without it…I didn’t know that person beneath the fake smiles and sarcastic humor and the friendly face. Underneath it all I hated myself and lived under a constant tyranny of shame and self-condemnation. How could Jesus love me, if I didn’t even love me?

I used food to try and numb my pain and drown out all the negative voices in my head. It became my constant companion and comfort in times of sadness. I hid behind baggy clothes and heavy jackets (just a different kind of mask) and lived a not so secret life chained to addiction. This is a battle I’ve been fighting my whole life and to this day I struggle with these unhealthy patterns.

It wasn’t until about 6 years ago, that I was finally hit with this simple but incredibly profound truth.  God loves me. I grew up in church, I have known this since I was a little girl or did I know it? ‘Yea ok God loves me’, but I never understood how he could like me.

Did you know the word Beloved appears over 100 times in the Bible? And most of the time it’s referring to you and me, or God’s Son Jesus?  Webster defines Beloved as: Dearly loved. A much loved person. It’s described with words like, Darling. Dearest. Cherished. Treasured. Admired. Adored.

Romans 9:25 “As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ “ ESV

Ephesians 1:4 “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” NLT

 God calls us by the same name as He calls His precious Son, Beloved. Understanding what that means, that we are God’s Beloved…His deeply loved daughters…it changes everything.

This truth is continuing to change my life. Every day I am learning to offer the same love and grace towards myself that my Heavenly Father does. Because if he likes me, if He loves me then it gives me the freedom to like me and I don’t have to hide anymore. You see my addiction to food has just been a symptom of a really deep pain. My sin was that I kept pursuing a false self, I was pursuing acceptance and the praises of men, and I was covering up and denying my true self, denying who God created me to be. He’s calling the little girl inside all of us to come out of hiding, just as he called Adam and Eve out of hiding after they ate the forbidden fruit. His love, which called us into existence, calls us to come out of shame and self-hatred.

He invites us to step into the warm light of his unbearable forgiveness, endless love and acceptance just as we are, messy, broken, undeserving; yet, beloved daughters of the King. 

So lay down your mask Beloved and be fully known, rest in the arms of the Father who loves you like crazy and calls you His own. He is waiting, hand extended – all you have to do is reach back. 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

29 Things My Life Has Taught Me

29.

29 years is how long I’ve now been on this earth and it is has been beautiful and brutal all at the same time – as Glennon Doyle Melton says, “It’s Brutiful”…

How do you sum up 29 years in a few paragraphs? You can’t really. So I’ve decided to make a list – a truth list of the 29 things that my brutiful life has taught me.

  1. My parents are a gift from God – not only did He use them to bring me into this world but His sovereign grace allowed me to be raised by two beautifully imperfect people who taught me how to love Jesus with all my heart, how to dream big – they always told me I could be anybody I wanted to be, and they showed me what it looks like to live a life of loving sacrifice and obedience to the Lord. They also taught me how to have a lot of fun!
  2. Honesty is truly the best policy – There is no other way to live. I love this quote by Mother Teresa, “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” I’ve come to understand through my own journey that behind every mask is a beautiful wretched soul that is desperate to be known. Transparency is the key to our growth and healing and might even help someone else out along the way.
  3. Quality friendships are key – Life is way more fun with them and the bumpy, rocky, horrendous seasons require them.
  4. My mother was right – skin does lose it’s elasticity – seriously! Gravity is real!
  5. You will grow facial hair – the growth is insane!
  6. Tears are healthy – it’s extremely healthy – crying is like a shower for your soul.
  7. Laughter is life – find a reason to laugh multiple times a day it truly is the best medicine. I like to think it’s God’s love language.
  8. Marriage is hard and wonderful – Our fairytale ending can only be found in the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, no earthly relationship will fulfill our deepest desires to be known – they can only give us glimpses of the real deal – however hard marriage is, it’s so worth it.
  9. Short of sending His Son to die for me, my husband is one of God’s greatest love gifts to me  – Micah truly you are His tangible love and grace in my life.
  10. I will always be a Starbucks girl – it’s just the way it is – though, I now have a new appreciation for cold brew.
  11. Food and I will always have a complex relationship – I’m learning how to make it a healthy one, instead of a crippling one. But my weight does not and will never define me – I am the beloved daughter of the one true King – that is my identity, not a number on a scale.
  12. Sometimes you’ve got to put a little Mt. Dew in your wine – don’t worry it was white.
  13. Life sucks sometimes – live it anyway – there are things that happen in this life that I will never understand, but it’s not my job to understand, or even ask why – it’s to trust and ask “what?”
  14. I want kids and all that comes with it! – Never tell me, “Just wait till you have kids” – most hurtful phrase anyone could ever say to me. I have been waiting for 5 years – and I have counted all the costs, experienced all the loss, waited and tried, waited and tried again and still ache for babies of my own. One of my deepest struggles is to keep hoping and trusting. God knows what He is doing even if I don’t understand.
  15. Vacations are not a luxury they are a necessity – even if it’s camping – get away at least once a year, it’s so healthy and so worth it.
  16. Family is everything – don’t dismiss them, take extreme care with these relationships, sometimes friends can be family too, everyone’s picture is different but none the less handle with care.
  17. I will always be a “sweater” – Put me in a freezer, the desert is my personal hell
  18. School was worth it – so grateful for the grace to persevere through that challenge, it’s such an awesome accomplishment and it taught me to keep fighting, and never give up.
  19. You might experience balding – I have to admit this one knocked me on my ass and I’m still trying to get back up.
  20. Do the things that scare you – life is so much more fulfilling when you do things that require you to trust big.
  21. Bring beauty into your world whenever possible – a bouquet of flowers will go a long way to brightening up a gloomy day – here in Seattle we have plenty of those.
  22. Clinical depression is not a death sentence – don’t let it steal your purpose, your joy, your drive, your reason for existing. Fight and fight some more. Get out of bed, live on purpose, be about others – it’s the cure, take a shower, never give in to it’s grip and open up the blinds.
  23. Write – it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, the gift of self-reflection, go on a journey to get to know yourself better, it will help you get to know the Lord in a more intimate way and to be a more compassionate human being.
  24. Give what you have – it’s always more than enough, your time, your finances, yourself, your talents, give it all and watch what God does in and through you because He’s God.
  25. Forgive – It’s one of the most powerful forces on this earth. Receive it, give it and know it – God’s forgiveness of my sins is the reason I cannot, will not withhold forgiveness from anyone on this earth. I don’t deserve it, they don’t deserve it, no one deserves it, that’s what makes it so beautiful.
  26. My pets are my children – it’s ok if you don’t get it, I do. In the meantime #sorrynotsorry for all the Instagram pics of the fur babies.
  27. Sometimes you’ll get a bad haircut – it’s not the end of the world, really. Take a day to mourn and then get on with your life.
  28. Be present – in all things, in all conversations, in every moment. Put down the phone.
  29. I don’t know anything really – oh except that I will probably always struggle with spelling #thestruggleisreal oh… and I hate hashtags #butiusethemsarcastically
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: