My second greatest fear is that someone will actually see me as I am.
My greatest fear is that when I am exposed and seen as I really am, I will be judged to be unlovely and possibly even unlovable.
To live in the freedom and joy of knowing my greatest fear to be forever false, I must face my second greatest fear head on and allow myself to be seen. But I don’t.
Instead, I put my shield up. I soothe my insecure ego with my accomplishments. I look for self-worth in how much better I am at some aspect of life than others. I hide myself from relational intimacy with pleasant conversation and worn out one-liners.
I run and I run and I run. And whenever I stop, my second greatest fear is still right there beside me and my greatest fear is not far behind.
My greatest temptation is to keep running. My greatest need is to stop.
Psalm 46:9 says that God burns our “shields with fire”. Inside of me and inside of you, God’s Holy Spirit is flickering, deprived on the oxygen it needs to grow into a roaring fire by the shields we put up. Yet, in those flickering embers lies a power great enough to consume our shields and enliven our souls. If we will even for a moment put down our shields, the fire will roar back to life.
The life of Christ is an invitation to throw our shields on the great bonfire of God’s divine love. Will you accept the invite?
Do you know what it is to come to God just as you are? Do you know the terror and joy of lowering your shield around a trusted Christian mentor or a group of faithful Christian friends and allowing God’s love for you to become incarnate through them? Until you do, you will never know the soul reviving joy and power of having been deemed forever lovely and lovable.
This Lent, as you prepare for Easter may God burn your shields with fire so that the eternal fire of God’s love might burn inside your heart.
Prayer: God, lower my shield. Remove my defenses. Undermine my unhealthy coping mechanisms. Expose the destructive ways I self-medicate my pain and insecurity. Look upon me as I am, let me feel your divine love and the joy you find as you recognize your image still residing within me. Lead to me to a mentor or a group of trusted Christian friends who will teach me what your love looks like. And having been loved magnificently by you and others, teach me to love as I have been loved.