We were created for relationship. Each and every person has built into us a need for others. We need relationships in order to be healthy and grow. Unfortunately we have given into the idea of independence and we can go it alone. This was not the plan that God had in mind for us. God created us for relationship and the primary relationship was meant to be with Him. Everyday God would come and walk through the garden and interact and share with Adam and Eve. And even though things got screwed up by the choices they made that removed us from relationship with God, He never let go of this one thing. We were created for relationship, and God deeply desires a personal relationship with everyone.
Our problem is we don’t know ourselves and we are not willing to look within and see what is inside us we end up hiding from God. We take large portions of ourselves and hide them away for fear of rejection, or because they are parts of ourselves that we don’t like, or are uncomfortable with. We live a life based on the image of who we want people to see, or what I have begun to understand as a false self, or false identity. We have learned to portray ourselves in a way that seems favorable and ignores anything that is uncomfortable about ourselves. And every moment of every day of our life God wanders in our inner garden, seeking our companionship. The reason God can’t find us is that we are hiding in the bushes of our false self.
David Benner wrote “The more we identify with our psychologically and socially constructed self, the more deeply we hide from God, ourselves and others. But because of the illusory nature of the false self, most of the time we are not aware that we are hiding. Coming out of hiding requires that we embrace the vulnerabilities that first sent us scurrying for cover. As long as we try to pretend that things are not as they are, we choose falsity.”
The problem is we don’t always recognize our false identity because we have lived with it for so long that we have become comfortable with and live according to who we made ourselves to be. But that very thing we use to protect ourselves from others ends up separating us from God who deeply loves us. We end up not knowing ourselves, and as a result we miss out on knowing God. The worst part is we don’t even recognize that we don’t know God, because we design Him to suit ourselves. So we think we know Him and we follow Him, but we are following a “god created in our image.”
What is worse is the very thing we use to hide ourselves ends up creating this very thing. “Having first created a self in the image of our own making, we then set out to create the sort of a god who might in fact create us. Such is the perversity of the false self.” We then pursue a life we are comfortable with and allows us to never examine ourselves to deeply, and we never really have to change. Our false self will keep us in bondage and we will be happy to allow it until we realize that isn’t what God designed us for.
If we are willing to allow God to show us who we really are, and begin to work from there we can encounter the true God and see our lives transformed. But it begins by being wiling to see ourselves differently. If we close the door and refuse to look inward we lose the ability to truly know God. Knowing God will always cause us to see ourselves and to know ourselves. We cannot change what we do not know, and if we never allow God to reveal our true nature we will never allow Him to change us.
Even though it may be uncomfortable and even painful we must be willing to allow God to remove our shell and our false identity. It begins by asking God to help you see what makes you feel most vulnerable and most like running for cover. Our false self will try to protect itself and keep you hidden, but we cannot allow it. The places we feel the most vulnerable is the very place that God wants to open our hearts to His presence and love, but He can only do this if we allow Him in. So we need to ask God to help us look inside and to help us see the things that we use to defend ourselves from feeling vulnerable. Then we need to ask God to prepare you to trust enough to let go of these fig leaves of your personal style.
The riches of God’s presence await us if we are willing to open ourselves up to His touch.