Reality struck me like a lightning bolt when the gospel message pierced my soul forty years ago. I was in the dregs of misery, a life without Christ, searching for meaning. I hardly knew who I was and what I did know, I didn’t like very much. Jesus embraced me “as is” and the knowledge that He had been pursuing me all along, was overwhelmingly fantastic.
We have a built-in desire for love and belonging. The key to fulfillment is found in discovering our authentic and real selves. All my life I was coming up empty from self-management until I surrendered my hollow attempts at being somebody and became for the first time, the real me. I became, and am still in the process of becoming, a new man in Christ.
Our common arch-enemy is “shame” – who I am is unworthy of belonging. I am flawed. If others really knew who I was deep inside they would surmise that I have a deficiency. This dark, embedded lie was extracted from me when I was spiritually raised up from death, but I’ve been privy to this from the get-go: the forces of darkness will never give up in trying to reclaim you. Pharaoh released Moses and the people of Israel. They were delivered, but the enemy followed in hot pursuit. Actually I’m okay with this. It decidedly affirms our value and sets up another opportunity to see God’s glory displayed in victory!
There is an expectancy in the heart of God as He oversees the epic storyline of our lives. I am so vested in my belief that God has an ongoing, never ending glorious plan for my life, that being a wholehearted disciple of Jesus Christ must be my benchmark. My partnership with Him is too good to ever forsake. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not always easy. But make no mistake; it’s always worth it!
So what about “being real”? It’s necessary to be rightly converted; repentance requires honesty. The man who led me to Christ held the first true mirror for me. I saw reality; my true state of soul. Once cleansed I began to be redefined. After a time of guiding me through my new birth and laying in some faith foundations, my friend released me to the care of others in a church near my home. I was discipled in an excellent manner for two years before I moved on to a ministry assignment overseas. My first foundations still serve me well, to this day.
Subsequent growth phases in the journey are almost, if not more, intense than the initial conversion to Jesus. In those times I ask, “Where’s my mirror holder”? We need real peeps around us; authentic community that will help us keep it real, remind us who we are in Christ, and run the race alongside us.
Seeing a real and true reflection requires courage; especially when denial or cover up present themselves an easier option. The word “courage” is from the root “cor”, the Latin word for “heart.” 1 Its original meaning conveyed: a person’s bravery in sharing their heart. The meaning today is more aligned with being heroic. Heroes are to be commended for putting their lives on the line, but there is another kind of courage, ordinary and every day. It’s about living honest and open – being brave to just be “you.”