Sheila Walsh writes in her book “Loved Back to Life: How I Found the Courage to Live Free” “…at times a fear of connection drives us away from one another. We are afraid to be known because we might be rejected. We are afraid to be known because at some deep level we fear that truth about us, when out in the open and reflected back to us through someone else’s eyes, will be shocking to ourselves.” She then writes, “So we struggle with this human dichotomy; we long to be known because we are lonely, and we fear being known because we may then be loneliest of all.”
This truth really resonated with me as I took hold of what Sheila was saying. It’s so true. We may smile and say everything is okay, when in reality, we feel like we’re falling apart. It’s the mask that goes on in our jobs and in our families and even at church. We keep everyone at just enough distance so they won’t really see us. It’s a tiring job. I say that from experience. Sometimes I just want to shout, “I’m not alright!” “I’m hurting!” But I don’t…and you don’t. Instead we carry our anxious thoughts like a big, heavy bone buried in the depths of our hearts.
I always say, "There are some places only Jesus can go with you." It’s a very dark place to be as we isolate ourselves, never wanting to let anyone know anything is going on.
In those times I must remind myself that with Jesus there is no darkness. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1John 1:5 Jesus knows us as we are. He knows our pain, He knows our suffering and affliction. He knows our sin and our failures. He longs to heal us. He came to set us free. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 In fact the scriptures tell us we ARE free!
Why then do we wrap ourselves in a cocoon when we could be spreading our wings and flying like the beautiful butterfly we are in Christ?
The reasons are many, fear, anxiety and all that goes with it. But if Jesus is the only one who can go with us…for goodness sakes, we must sit at His feet! We must drink the nourishment of His word. Let it wash our hearts and minds.
I was reading the beginning of 1Corinthians this week. And the words from Paul tugged my heart. It reads, “ To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:” 1Cor.1:2 This very personal letter was written, not to the unbelieving, but to believers in Corinth and believers everywhere. It may have been written for Corinth but this greeting travels to today in Fall River, MA. This book was written for you and I church, as is all of God’s word.
Paul goes on to say, Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (vs 3) Grace and peace… Just what we need in times of trials. So how do we obtain this grace and peace as God’s people? Paul tells us reassuringly, “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, “( vs 4-5) What? We’ve been enriched in Christ, in all speech and knowledge? So that means God is working in our lives, helping us to understand and communicate His will for those in the world who are His.
The Holy Spirit confirms our testimony concerning Christ in us. We don’t confirm it, God does. I don’t know about you, but I much prefer the seal of salvation from Him than from any human! So that takes away the fear we might have of what other people are thinking of us, of our walk and most importantly of the working of Christ in our lives.
He goes on to write, “…so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (vs 7) We, as a body are not lacking in ANY gift! God has equipped us all with various gifts for use in the expansion of His Kingdom. It’s so important to be using our gifts to do that in whatever way God leads us. Jesus didn’t just save us to save us. He saved us to reveal to the world who He is. We have missions because we are on a mission as believers!
We have a beautiful purpose. “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" Isaiah 52:7
In the end, Jesus truly is the only One who goes with us. It is He “who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” It is often said, God doesn’t make mistakes. And it’s true, He doesn’t. HE called us, HE keeps us and HE is faithful!
So my dear brothers and sisters, be encouraged! Remember to live freely, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil 1:6 You are special. You are beloved by God and loved by His body. And in Christ you are free…”free indeed!”