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Hidden Faces

April 3, 2018

I have Loved you with an everlasting love;

I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Jeremiah 31:3

Me: “When you look in the mirror to shave or wash your face, what do you see?”

“I only see the razor, I don’t ever look at me.”

“That’s a horrible thought.”

“Sometimes I glance at myself and them shutter and walk away.”

“I see the tired lines, the deep frown, the loneliness.”

“I hate who I am…”

Version 2

Some of the responses I heard this week when I carefully raised the question of what people see when they look intentionally at their reflection.  I say, ‘carefully’ because it is an invasion of trust.  How we view ourselves and what it is like to see pain etched across our own face is something intimately private.  It is vulnerable to share the wounds of rejection looking back at you.

We can all easily recall the moment when we were not good enough.  Not fast enough for the track team, not pretty enough to be asked to the prom, not smart enough to get into that program, and then, when you do give your heart not enough for your partner to stick around.  Always someone nicer, prettier, more accomplished.  Our stories are etched with rejection.  The heavy beat of failure and the pounding drum of disappointment pulses through our days and we sing the lyrics of the ugly lies, knowing the words by heart.  The lies become our heart.

The responses above come from people who have for years tried medication, escape, work, drink, sex, blade, all attempts to bury the beat of self-rejection.  It ends up futile and empty.  And I wonder what to do with it when it has

been the beat of my own heart.  How do I help those experiencing self-loathing when it has been my story too.  I don’t want to be enmeshed but I do get it.  Sometimes clients are addicted to seeing the negative and the ugly.  It has somehow become them and their brain needs to be re-wired and re-channelled to see some beauty in a given moment.  Even in our striving for joy and the fullest of life we can so easily choose the empty dark.  Joy can be found in small ways but the allure of the deceit and lie is much stronger.

Yet, I know that God longs for His children to fully live.  To embrace the fullest of lives – right now.  I have spent many days thinking about God but, “it is how God thinks about me that is infinitely more important.” (C.S Lewis)

fullsizeoutput_864When I ask the question of how God sees them another layer of shame is revealed.  In our toxic environment, the church has become another layer of shame and rejection for some.  It becomes incredible to help peel that away, the song of acceptance becomes crystal clear for the first time, “I have loved you, says the Lord.” (Malachi 1:2)

I have heard His song of love and it draws me.   So I share a little of what I see in them and how they make me feel.  When I share that I am proud of them or I admire their strength or I think they are really special person, the song of acceptance begins to shine across their face. We talk about the possibilities of joy and hope and the maybes.  They are encouraged to look in the mirror and re-frame what the lies have done.  We can see beauty and hope and new beginnings.  They recognise the deceit snarling and chase it away to see the well almost full to dive into.

“The Wounded Warrior is achingly tender with the broken ones” and He has all the patient time to gently lead those who seek and He keeps leading {even me} back to Him (Ann Voskamp).

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