Who are you? This is not necessarily the same person that everyone else sees everyday. I am talking about the real you. The one you are when no one is watching, and your mask is put away. What are we afraid of? What are we really trying to hide? We portray these “perfect” lives to those around us, but that is not what is real. None of us will have it all together this side of heaven. As Christians, we are really doing more harm than good when we present this façade. The body of Christ, the church, is not able to lift one another up and help because we are not aware that there is even a need. Also, hiding behind a mask hurts our witness to unbelievers. They feel as if they need to have it all together in order to be saved, so they give up before they even know the truth. We need to stop pretending and simply get real.
Get Real examines just that, how to take off the mask and be who God has created you to be without fear. Get Real is divided into three different parts: identity, insecurities and perspective. This book is going to take a look at several different areas and how we try to hide behind a mask and the steps we can take to try and turn it around. In addition to the individual chapters, there are also discussion questions at the back of the book. These questions can be done individually or in a group setting. The purpose of them is simply to get you to dig deeper and discover whom you really are and why it is best to take the mask off. This journey will not be easy, but I promise it will be rewarding. People long to know the real you, and it will give them the courage to lay their mask aside as well. God wants us to be authentic with ourselves, others and, most of all, Him.
Get Real is so near and dear to my heart because for several years, as an adult, I could not answer the question, “who are you?”. I had lived several years of my life trying to please others and mold myself into who I thought they wanted me to be that I simply lost sight of the real me. It was quite a journey trying to tear down the façade that had been built brick-by-brick over time. I needed to get back to the basics and rediscover my true identity. Get Real is for all those others, like me, who need to discover or rediscover the real person behind the mask and who need not be afraid to show their true selves to the world around them. Our true self is how God created and intended for us to live.
I am praying for each and everyone who reads this book. Being real with people is something that I too have struggled with from time to time. I know that it will not be easy, but God promises to walk with us every step of the way and to help us along this journey.
Who Are You?
Discovering Your True Identity
During the Christmas season, it is especially easy to get wrapped up in buying and receiving gifts. We fall victim to societal pressure to believe that these things will make our lives better if we have them. When we give into this notion, we are letting society construct our identity. The real question we need to ask ourselves is where does our identity come from?
Another way to put this is: What types of things define a person? Say, for example, you were to introduce yourself to someone you do not know: How would you define yourself? Would you define yourself by your family relationships (i.e. wife, mother, daughter), by a professional title, or lack of one, or by where you live or go to church? People generally define theirselves by age, intelligence, education, marital status, material things, and family. For example, I would define myself as the wife of Mitch; a stay-at-home mother of six wonderful children, one in heaven; fellow church planter; and the daughter of Chuck and Kay Taylor, just to name a few. Circumstances or the trials of life can also define a person.
Satan, the Enemy, knows exactly how and where to attack each one of us. He knows where we are vulnerable. Even back in the garden of Eden, he used lies and doubt to tempt Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. And he is still using the same tactics today. As Christians, we need to learn to recognize the lies and replace them with God’s truth. Satan wants us to focus on our flaws and feelings of inadequacy, and then exhaust ourselves trying to hide them. God, on the other hand, wants us to focus on His acceptance, security and significance and thank Him for His promises that remind us of who we are in Him. I love this quote by Kay Arthur, “Your worth and purpose do not depend on where you have been… Your worth and purpose depend upon God and God alone.” We need to remember that God is well pleased with us before we do anything simply because we are His children. Keep this in mind: Identity comes before activity. We must start to see ourselves as God sees us.
We need to keep in mind that God was there from the very beginning. He spoke each one of us into our mother’s womb, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13 NIV), at just the right time to be here now. It was not by accident, nor was it a surprise to God. He designed each of us on purpose to be on a mission with Him for such a time as this. Our faith will grow stronger as we focus on our identity in Christ. Putting it simply, we need to get rid of any image of ourselves that is not from God. We have to stop believing what others have said or how we have been labeled in the past, and stop accepting how others define us.
This is a concept that I have struggled with for some time. Honestly, it is so much easier for me to believe the negative than the postive about myself. My insecurities about myself and falling victim to the lies started back in the first grade. My teacher had everyone pick parts for a play from a hat. I selected the part of the rabbit. She said that since I had gotten that particular part, it would have to be the fat rabbit. Keep in mind that I was not as skinny as a rail or a little waif. However, I certainly was not fat. But my teacher’s comment stuck with me. Throughout school, I became more swayed by what others thought about me. Before long, I could not even begin to answer the question, Who am I? Because I had no idea. I had lost all sense of “me” and who I really was. It took quite a while to break free from those lies. In fact if I let my defenses down, the lies and insecurities start to infiltrate my mind and try to take over even to this day.
When we let these lies take hold in our mind, we begin to feel as if we have to hide behind a mask. That way, we can present to the world what we think they want to see. In actuality, by listening to others instead of God to frame our identity, we are building a wall that masks who we truly are. This wall starts out innocently at first, with just a single comment. However, if these bricks are not taken down, the next comment or lie will just sit on top of the last one. This trend will continue until the world no longer is seeing the real us, but rather a façade you have created due to circumstances, other people’s viewpoints and opinions, and your own fears and insecurities.
Each of us has to come to the point where we make a conscious effort to replace those lies with God’s truths. As Christians, we are now identified with Christ and have the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Each one of us is God’s precious child, and He created each one of us in a way that pleases Him.