What Mask Are You Wearing? - Jeff and Alyssa

I’m so thankful for my husband! I love his heart and his passion for truth & grace. Since last Thursday, he’s decided to make a short “nugget of truth”. (One of many “Jeffisms!” Or you could say it’s simply part of his “Jeff-ness” according to “You, Me & Dupree”. Love!) His hope is that it’d encourage your heart, as well as be a tool for your small group, bible study or class.

This week’s video is on being authentic and vulnerable with God and others. So often we put on masks, not wanting people to see our messiness, hurt or shame. The problem with this is that they don’t really get to know the true us. It creates a barrier between us and others, and us and God, when we carry that same thinking into our relationship with Him. The beauty of Jesus is that we don’t need to hide, or put on a false exterior. We don’t need to pretend we’re okay, when we’re not, or pretend that we have it all together, because let’s be honest- nobody has it all together. You may think so when you look at their life, but if you could actually sit down and have a heart to heart talk with them, you’d soon realize how false that is. We all have struggles, hurts, doubts, & sin. God’s heart is for community. We were created out of community (the Trinity) for community (with God and others).

Have you ever started talking to someone, and began to share what really was going on in your heart. Like for real- the nitty gritty. And  to your surprise, they began to open up to you with about what God was doing in their life- how He was smoothing out their rough edges through a difficult circumstance? And then at the end of your time, you’re suddenly best friends?! Okay that’s not always the case! But if you’ve been there, you can relate with that feeling of unity, feeling of community and a breathe of fresh air. You opened up, and in return, they did as well. Not that that will always be the case. It may take time. But there is beauty and truth when we let down our guard, when we are real with others– it invites them to be real with us. They can share openly and honestly.

Jesus does the same sister. He welcomes us with open arms. He sees all of us- the good, the bad, the ugly- and loves us anyways. He loves us relentlessly, fiercely- with a steadfast love that does.not.stop. Romans 5:8 says, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He didn’t die for the “perfect” you, or the “good behaving” me. No, he died for us while we were His enemies. While we didn’t know Him. When we were rebellious. He laid down His life for us. And the moment He did, the veil in the temple (which was 2″ thick!!! Crazy.) tore all the way through and fell down, symbolizing that we can now run into deep intimacy with our Father. Jesus went before us. He took the wrath that we deserve and rose again- showing that the payment was fully accepted. Now we are free to be with Him. Free to be real and open. Which is the very heart of God. He knows us fully, so why in the world do we hold back from Him at times? He wants our hearts. He wants us to surrender. To be vulnerable. And when we do, He joyfully loves us, and slowly changes us to be more like Him.

…So funny. I was totally just going to post Jeff’s video today and call it good. But then my fingers got to typing, and I couldn’t stop. I guess because this topic is so dear to my heart. For so long I struggled to be vulnerable with others. I was real with God, but felt too ashamed to tell people in my life what I really was struggling with, hurt over, battling. My dear friend in college showed me how to be vulnerable. She would ask the hard questions and then wait for me to answer. She wouldn’t give up. And then she would be totally honest with me- straight up. She was the starting point on my journey of learning that being open with others brings deep and lasting friendships. I learned how authenticity breaks down walls and welcomes people into your life; welcomes people into healing and hope. I still am learning this lesson every day. I still struggle with fearing others- “What will they think of me?” “No one goes through this.” “They wouldn’t like me anymore if I shared that.” “I’ll just listen to them today, no need to talk about myself.” But those are all lies. Of course Satan wants to isolate us- to have us be alone in the daily struggles of life. He doesn’t want us to live in community like God intended. He doesn’t want us to be comforted, healed, filled with hope. He wants us to feel alone and dark. Let’s throw this thinking out the door! Let’s cling to Jesus to find courage and strength to be honest and real with others today. To share hearts. To live in the light. To pour our hearts out to God because He is our refuge. To ask how others are doing. To live intentionally. Purposefully. Meaningfully. In community. With God and with others.