Thursday, January 29, 2015

Unveiling the Real You

What would you do if someone you loved found out who you really are? What if your husband found out that you pick your zits -- or worse, your nose? What if your mother found out that you steal -- just little things -- from the discount store when you're feeling especially alone? What if your girlfriend knew how you really feel about women? What if your pastor knew? What if your boss knew just how much stuff you really copy and fax on company time, with the company equipment?

Not many people today like the word "consequences." But like it or no, everything we do has consequences. Chances are, if you answered the questions above, you'd have already determined, maybe correctly some of the consequences involved: he'd think I was disgusting, she'd ground me for years, she'd break up with me, he'd tell me how wrong I was, I'd get fired. But not all consequences have to be so bleak. Suppose your answers went something like this: He'd hand me a tissue, she'd offer to keep me company, she'd give me the number of her pastor, he'd take me to breakfast and we'd talk, he'd let me pay for what I use and tell me I could do my personal stuff off the clock. Still consequences, right? But depending on the person you trust with "the real you," the outcome can be quite different.

I was always afraid someone would find out my deepest, darkest secrets. Was I afraid people wouldn't like me? Sure. But even more than that (and more disturbing than that), I think I didn't want anyone to find out my secrets because then they wouldn't be secrets anymore. You take the darkness out of the deed, you take some of the "rush" with it. (This is not a post advocating legalizing marijuana or lowering the drinking age, by the way.) But when you take someone who is a kleptomaniac and tell them, "I know what you've been doing; let's talk about it," now you've made a deception into a truth, a confidentiality into public knowledge, an unspoken offense into a treatable problem. Telling someone who really cares usually means you've got their help -- and who wants that?!

God knows -- literally -- all the stuff I've done. My entire childhood and for many years after, I tried to fix things myself. The rationale was twofold. First, there's no Father, heavenly or otherwise that would want me as His daughter, and who'd want the kind of Father that would? Secondly, if God starts meddling He won't do it without changing me into one of those people who are happy and smiling and talking about God and forgiveness all the time. And while the rationale was twofold, the results were always the same: I really didn't want to be happy; I was quite satisfied being dark and alone, wearing my damage like a badge and keeping everyone at a distance from which they couldn't "get" me.

But God cared. Enter Scott Murphy. He amazed me by his devotion to his children, and he was such a great friend. I didn't spend crazy amounts of time confessing to him my past deeds, but I wanted to be better for him from that point forward. I wanted to try this honest relationship thing with him, because he seemed worth it; I had to trust him enough to tell him who I really was.

Somewhere along the line God meddled. Through Scott He showed me that a true father loves no matter what, that a father has to allow his children to face the consequences now and then, but he never turns his heart away. God showed me that He wanted me just the way I was, and that knowing a Father and a Friend like that was worth it, too. And I have become one of those happy and smiling people who talk about God and forgiveness all the time.

And all of this is OK, because sometimes those are the consequences when you give someone who loves you, the real you.

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