For a very long time I have been a very big fan of people being real.
Years ago, when choosing a “handle” on Twitter, I went with @unmaskedmom because that’s what I felt like I was.
I was the mom saying “so..my toddler picked up a cough drop off the floor of the pharmacy this morning and starting eating it. Yep. And I swear, I took a full 10 minutes to weigh out the pros and cons of cleaning his mouth with a Lysol wipe..”
(That is a true, albeit disgusting, story.)
The point? Others in my life became more willing to be real with me. To take off some of the masks they thought they had to wear.
It’s hot under the masks we wear, you guys.
Hot, stuffy, gross and hard to breathe in.
And hard to breathe out.
And this morning I got to thinking – like with air, we were made to breathe in God – to replace our own choking, stifling, ragged breath with the sustaining, renewing air of His grace, mercy, love and redemption.
To draw that huge deep breath that changes everything?
You have to get out from the mask.
You have to be willing to allow the real you, to meet the real God – in the middle of your broken imperfection.
Out from under the mask, your face can lift heavenward and breathe deeply His grace.
There is another part though.
Take a deep breath right now and hold it in – I’ll wait.
How long can you make it?
How long before your lungs are ready to give out and everything inside you wants to burst? (I really should do some aerobics because I have to tell you – I was not holding my breath for very long before the struggle began and my commitment to this little test faltered)
But that’s just it. We were created to breathe in God’s goodness and we were also created to breathe it back out.
It is the hope we expell..the stories of our redemption, of our brokenness made whole, of our victories and our defeats ..that changes things.
We breathe out the hope of God into a hurting world when we begin stories with “my life wasn’t always this way..”
Breathing in God’s goodness, and breathing out our stories of being rescued is how we let people see what God does in real people, in the midst of trials and brokenness.
And it provides a flow which life under the mask of “everything is always fine” can never provide.
And yet another thought..
If you were once like a dying tree – withering, brittle and cracking – and now you are strong and growing because you have been replanted next to the Living Water and it refreshes, enriches and fortifies you – awesome.
If you now stand strong on that river bank by the Living Water and think your purpose is to present the shinest fruit, the most unscarred trunk or have the prettiest leaves – not awesome.
You know what that tree was made for? What we were made for?
To give off oxygen, which is the hope of Jesus Christ, to the world around us.
That’s how it works.
Well, that’s how it should work, when the cycle is unhindered and free flowing: from Him, into us, back out to a suffocating world.
Lets be those unmasked free-breathing crusaders.
Let’s be those trees.
The life giving kind.
Breathing In Grace, Breathing Out Hope and Authentically Yours,
“But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14