"I grew up thinking that revealing the worst parts of me, especially in church, would be unacceptable. If grace is real, how could I ever feel that? The places that hold grace should be the safest places to unveil our humanity.
But they usually aren't. The gospel of grace fights every piece of pride in us. When God gives us grace, he is also taking something from us. He takes our control. So many of us don't live in grace even though we may have grown up singing about it since birth." Jennie Allen - Anything
Sometimes I think growing up as a Christian can bring with it it's own kind of bondage. The bondage of "being good" or keeping everything shiny on the outside, regardless of what the inside looks like. We become a Pharisee. Don't misunderstand. I am incredibly thankful for having had the opportunity to grow up the way I did, but I have to wonder how much the "good girl" image got in the way of what God really wanted to do in my life.
We hear about what Jesus did for us on the cross so often that the enormity of what he did seems to fade.
We sing about amazing grace so much that we fail to grasp just how amazing it truly is.
Church, the very place we should be able to be real with one another is the very place we wear our shiniest masks. The place where grace should abound in greatest quantity is the very place we believe we will feel the most shame. Is it really so, or has the enemy simply caused us to believe a lie, whispered repeatedly in our ears over the years? Looking back, I'm not sure the church I grew up in would have been a safe place to unveil my true self...to share the truth of my sinful humanity. I don't think it was a place where grace abounded. Or maybe it was just me. I wasn't at a place to take off that shiny mask. It was just easier to keep buffing out the smudges than to take it off completely....there was far too much at stake. The lie is that everyone else is walking around mask free and you're the only one with something to hide. The truth is we're all sinful and in need of forgiveness every single day.
Thankfully, my masks have come off. I wish I could say I've given up control, but I'm still a work in progress. I've stopped believing the lies that were whispered in my ear and embraced the freedom that comes from being who God created me to be. Yes, there is still sin, but there is also grace. There always has been. Somewhere along the way we were lulled into believing our sin outweighed the grace. And another mask falls to the ground.