And by hiding I mean our general posture in life. We learn to cover up who we really are, mask our true selves before God and others from a very early age.
I have spent many years living like that and – if I’m perfectly honest – often still find myself defaulting to that place of artificial perfection.
And yet we live in a society that tells us that nothing short of perfection is acceptable…and because we know we can never achieve it, we create a market for masks.
Make up, fake hair, overpriced clothes and brands, social media, diet pills…the list goes on.
Our conversations have been reduced to superficial chit chat, our songs have become means to communicate sexuality only.
Okay I may be exaggerating a little, but was nobody else shocked when one of the most popular pop song of this season is a song called ‘I’m feeling sexual’?? Okay I’m off on a rant now…let me bring it back.
The point I’m trying to make is that we put in a whole lot of effort to distract from our true selves, the thing we perceive as imperfection…We clutter ourselves, cover up, forgetting completely who we are.
And that’s just the problem. If we don’t know who we are, we actually rob the world of what we were created to bring to it – and trust me, that’s a problem…
So where does this statement ‘WITH ARMS OPEN WIDE’ come in? What does a life lived like that look like and how does it differ from what I’ve described above?
Firstly, let me put all my cards on the table: I am no master at this whatsoever, neither do I feel like I am very far on the journey of exploring it, but I had a taste and now I want more…So I’ve committed myself to working this out and sharing the thoughts and revelations I gather along the way…So here it goes:
WITH ARMS OPEN WIDE to me, means living with my cracks on display.
When we pretend and put on the mask of artificial perfection, we embrace pride and make it about ourselves.
Now hear me right, with arms open wide focuses on the arms open wide, not the pointing out of and drawing attention to said scars or throwing some kind of pity party. But the reality is that the beauty we hold, the Spirit that is at work on the inside of us, that fountain of living water, the Christ-Light, can only shine if we stop covering up the cracks – and let it shine through.
WITH ARMS OPEN WIDE also paints a picture in my mind. The picture of a child running into the arms of their parents…
I want to live like that. Expecting good things to happen, trusting at the risk of being disappointed fully aware that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all…
WITH ARMS OPEN WIDE, finally, means to EMBRACE.
I never want to be too ‘big’ to open my arms to comfort the hurting or to include the one who’s been outcast. I believe the message of Jesus is a message of inclusion and love. At least that’s the part I am called to worry about and leave the rest to him.
So there you have it, part one of my declaration.
To live ‘ WITH ARMS OPEN WIDE’.
I pray, every day, that I could learn to open my arms a little wider, drop the mask a little lower and embrace a little more deeply.
(pic found on pinterest – couldn’t make out the artist but loved it :))