I used to experience deep feelings of emptiness. I could be in a room full of people and still feel alone. Somewhere along the line I had created a shell, a ‘false front’ I wanted people to see instead of the real me.
In a radio interview on Focus on the Family I heard author Larry Crabb say we have become personas, not persons to get what we want. We do this because deep down we’re terrified if people saw the real ‘us’ they wouldn’t want us; so we use control to fill the void.
It’s in that void where shame hides. It is not the ‘my behavior is bad’ kind of shame, but instead it’s the ‘I’m bad’ kind of shame.
Authenticity usually comes from being vulnerable with our feelings and reacting from that place of fear, shame, embarrassment or whatever it is we’re afraid people will ‘find out about.’ Sometimes we don’t even know what we are afraid they’ll see. This is because we may have hidden parts of ourselves away a long time ago, maybe from others or from ourselves.
We may feel alone and misunderstood and not even know why. But God knows all about us; even the parts of ourselves that are hidden and dormant.
For you created my innermost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well (Psalm 139:13-14).
Many of us don’t “know that full well,” because we’re hiding the very thing God may want to use to bring healing to others.
It wasn’t until later in life after working my own recovery program that I began to understand why I felt so alone. The answers were locked inside the ‘me’ I was hiding from the world.
Once I was to able overcome the fear and pray for God to release me from the shame (and the false self) I started to heal. It didn’t happen overnight. Some of us may need counseling or a support group.
Colossians 3: 3-4 talks about the benefit of releasing our ‘false self’ to God:
“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with him.”
God knows you. God wants you. If you let him have your shame and your false self then you too will be “revealed in glory” with him!
- Are there parts of myself I’m hiding from God and others?
- What scares me about being authentic and real with others?