Editor’s Note: As promised, her story continues. I pray that her words bless you as much as they have me.
Right after the fall of man, the Lord God is heard walking in the cool of the Garden of Eden. He calls to the man, “Where are you?” The man answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3:9).
God brings me back to a place of purposeful remembrance about a past plagued with hiding. Here are a few of the detrimental ways I have hidden:
- I hid my dream. At six years old, my dream of becoming a writer was crushed when I suffered a deep rejection by an authority figure. That day, without knowing it, I decided to protect my heart from experiencing that kind of pain again. So I laid down my pen and closed my heart to my dream; and a part of my heart died. I gave up my dream of myself, even at six years of age, and I began to chase a dream of someone else.
- I hid behind guys. From the ages of 15 to 21 years old, I constantly held a relationship and felt “naked” without one. Deep down, I didn’t feel I had any value on my own, so I tried to find my value in his eyes.
- I hid behind my college major and choice of career. Initially, I wanted to major in English literature because I loved it so much. However, I chose Chemistry and tried to set myself on a medical school track. I chose to hide behind others opinions of me; I chose to feel important, and ultimately to avoid failure in an area where I actually wanted to succeed.
- I’ve hidden behind clothes, makeup, and jewelry. All superficial qualities, these items made me feel more beautiful, more valuable, and more “acceptable” to myself.
Over and over again, I have made choices that kept the real me invisible — because I learned early on in life that the real me was not accepted or wanted in this world. I learned that it was painful to be the real me and that the real me was not enough.I was afraid, so I hid.
I agree. I am so broken, and it still hurts. Rejection will always be painful, no matter how “seasoned” I become. But the enemy only ever offers a half-truth so that he can distort it. His lies tell me that I’m broken and that there is no hope for me. But God says, Yes, I am broken. Yet I am whole.
Can brokenness and wholeness coexist in the same person at the same time?
Jesus. If anyone knows anything at all about being broken, it’s Christ Jesus. Christ’s body was broken for my sins (1 Corinthians 11:24). But by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
YES. I am broken, yet my brokenness is hidden in the wholeness of Christ within me. I am complete and lacking nothing in Christ (Colossians 2:10). The place where His broken body and my broken soul meet is the same place where my healing takes place. It’s the place where I identify most assuredly with a Savior who knew every pain I would ever face. He knew every heartache that this world would cause in my life, and yet his broken body, which hung on a cross for me, is enough for me.
Yes, brokenness and completeness in Christ coexist here. And that’s the exact place where beauty begins.
And here I am. And believe it or not, I must actually be growing from this experience. Because the OLD me would have shut down and never come out again. My heart would go into hiding, and cover itself with shame. Under this cloak I would choose to be invisible. Because invisible people cannot be rejected.
But invisible people also cannot be known. It’s no wonder that one day I had to face all of that hiding, when I realized that I had no idea who I was. All the people that I tried to hide behind — well, they couldn’t tell me who I was either. God used these things to draw me, and I gave my life to my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Invisible people cannot be rejected. Invisible people cannot be known.
But we have to stop hiding behind other things. Who you are and what you were created to do remains silenced beneath those fig leaves of shame. Our lives are now hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). Each of us has something incredibly unique to offer a broken world in need of healing. We were all created to enjoy and know the capacity of real love in friendships and relationships.
So the next time you step out into something and you meet rejection head-on, just think of this: you may be on the right path. Rejection has to get to you in the beginning to keep you from going any farther. Because if you go on in spite of rejection (in whatever you are called to do), then you just may find something beautiful waiting for you on the other side.
God bless you all.