Three years ago this week, I was let loose. In my own struggle for authenticity and transparency, God made a way for me to live in complete relationship with Him as my husband and my best friend. He became my road map for the path I didn’t know I could walk. In that journey, I was set free from putting up an image and I was empowered to unveil the life of addiction that held me ransom for so long. Jesus paid the ransom by valuing my life above the marriage that had kept me bound.
I went on a journey with my children to rewrite the template of our home. We made intentional efforts to recreate the culture of our family and the main value I wanted to install was Integrity. I wanted the life we lived at home to be the life that everyone saw on the outside because for so long, what went on behind closed doors didn’t align with the what you saw in the pictures.
We are still on that journey but we have come so far- no longer hiding away in secrecy, but living out in authenticity and finding the balance between vulnerability and disclosure. I wrote some lines into my phone in the beginning of that journey that would then be put into my book. It spoke to the desire of my heart and the pieces of my value system that I wanted to strengthen in myself and in the world I would create for those around me. They were words I believed, Heaven breathed into my spirit for me to share with the world…
“Religiousness causes us to worry more about the image people have of us, and so, our devotion to God becomes more behaviour-oriented (keeping the law) than heart-focused (being connected to the Holy Spirit so we can produce His fruit in our lives). Once we believe we have “attained” the goal of “righteousness,” we become self-righteous, conceited like the Pharisees, diminishing the position of other people before God because their performance isn’t as good as ours. Performance-based religiosity is not the heart of God. His heart for ours is to experience transformation; our lives changed as a result of the inner exchange in His presence.
When we have an obligation to an image or an ideal that takes priority over the obligation we have to cultivate our own self-worth, we will get lost in the pursuit, self-sabotaging our ability to know who we really are.
The Bible tells us time and again not to make idols or set up images for ourselves (Leviticus 26:1). What if the image we are setting up is a façade of ourselves? We bow to this image rather than to the God who created us. God is all about restoring His image in us, for in that place, we find freedom. Religiousness quenches the Holy Spirit that exists to bring us freedom. (2 Cor 3:17)” (An exert from Into the Garden)
In a world that is all about the image we portray to others, let us NOT bow to it but rather to the God who created us to be made whole as He sees us. I come across many people who are set about living a life that is second best to what God has for them because they want to put up a front and don’t want to deal with what’s going on deep down inside of them.
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.God uses broken vessels. God won’t despise.” Psalm 51:7
God is not just NOT AFRAID of our brokenness, He is not ASHAMED of it- He doesn’t despise it, He WANTS it! He sees it as a sacrifice because He understands that it will give HIM the opportunity to heal it. We can’t live a life, unwilling to admit our brokenness and our addictions, our sin and our shame and expect good results. Its only when we are vulnerable before God and openly towards man (as David wrote this for all to see), that we can truely find our identity and calling in our Creator.
My challenge to you today is: Don’t put up an image of how you want your life to be, live a life that brings about the best image of God in you. He’s not about image. He’s about relationship. And when we live in an intimate relationship with Jesus, we start to glow with a light that shines from within. He is the Light of the World. The best lighting you can have for those images you put up for all to see, is not an external light, but an internal Light that shines from a place of security in knowing Whose you are.
For more on this subject, you can read my book! Right now its online as an ebook. The hard copy is still to be released.