"Just be yourself." That's what everyone always says, but I think what they really mean is try to be that person that everyone thinks you really are so you can feel comfortable. The reality is we are not comfortable being ourselves. We fear rejection and reticule, hiding behind a facade in order to protect our fragile self image, afraid that the real us won't measure up. I never really thought about it much either, that is until we talked about walking in the light at our homeschooling co-op.
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." 1 John 1:7
You see if your walking in the light there is no place to hide, everything is exposed for everyone to see. That is what true fellowship is, it's more than friendship. It's an openness both between God and ourselves, and between ourselves and others.
It really hit home this week for me. I was singing at the Veteran's Day service at our church, and from all accounts I did great, but people noticed I was visibly shaking. I never quite understood how, when I worked for AT&T, I could stand in front of a classroom of 20 strangers and talk about how fiber optic cables worked like it was second nature, but ask me to sing in front of my own congregation, my friends and family, I get terrified. It dawned on me this morning it's because I sing from the heart. I'm opening myself, my true self, up to criticism and rejection. I'm baring a little part of my soul for all the world to see every time I sing. There's a line in a song by Casting Crowns that goes "But would it set me free if I dared to let you see the truth behind the person you imagine me to be. Would your arms be open, or would you walk away. Would the love of Jesus be enough to make you stay." That is the question, isn't it? The one of which we are so frightened? We have to remind ourselves that God will never walk away from us.
I for one will continue to sing from my heart, because I know God is with me. He will strengthen me when I'm weak. His perfect love will cast out all fear, and I will walk in the light.