A few months ago, I was journaling (as I often do), and the concept of “unveiling” was on my mind. Here’s an adapted excerpt of some of my thoughts about that.
During my walk yesterday with the Lord, performance was the word that came to my head, and I had to admit that’s exactly how I felt, like I was being pushed to perform within all of these disconnected areas of my life.
As God and I continued to walk, I felt I had been long absent from that safe place where I could just let down my guard and simply be me without worrying — worrying if I was too much or too little, if I succeeded in honoring God in my behavior or if I failed miserably by not extending enough grace, or even if I was engaging and witty enough to be noticed or just a quiet wallflower who was bound to be overlooked.
I felt worn ragged as all of these thoughts overran my mind and drained my focus and attention. I needed to drink deeply from the well of life so I could be my true self. I needed the walk and talk with You. I needed the conversations with my girls yesterday. I needed the honest talk with my Mom this morning. I needed room and opportunity to unveil.
Funny that it comes to that term “unveil.” I don’t believe I’ve ever used that term before in this context. Unveiling has always been something I felt was in the Lord’s span of authority. I’ve felt like the inanimate work of art hidden beneath a cloak of white cloth while I wait for the moment the Lord decides to remove the covering and all gasp and are transfixed by His masterpiece. My thought has always been that it’s just not time yet, but now I wonder if I’ve misunderstood this picture.
I crave to be my true self in every area of life. And while some contexts do not warrant full disclosure of who I am as a person (meaning all that I think, feel, believe, and do), I should still be free to be my true self in every context and setting.
To unveil requires vulnerability and well-placed security in the Father. Yes, the Lord provides the venues in which His art in me is displayed, but am I mistaken in believing that the release cord for this drop cloth which covers me is solely within His control? Or do I ultimately retreat in the veil because of fear that unveiling would not be well received? Or, to put it more bluntly, do I fear I will be rejected and spurned? And will that reinforce the message that I have nothing of beauty to offer?
Yes, if we look at our God, He shows Himself to be the God of revelation and hiddenness. But let’s be honest folks, it’s in the midst of revelation that He hides, meaning, it’s not for lack of revelation that men and women do not see Him. He freely reveals His reality and beauty to our world despite the scandalous rejection we often participate in. He even went so far as to reveal Himself in flesh, in a way that we could understand, and He “dwelt among us, and we saw His glory…” (John 1:14a) This was not bits and pieces of God. This was the fullness of His presence. And some recognized Him. And some did not. While His fullness is ultimately beyond finite human comprehension, Jesus did not hold back for He knew His purpose: Whoever would see Him would see the Father and find life through Him.
So the question I now ask of myself is this: Where am I hiding? And where have I made agreements with the enemy who says I have nothing of beauty to offer or that my beauty is obviously not good enough to capture anyone’s attention? If I am to be the light of the world, why am I constantly putting a basket over my head? (Matthew 5:14) Why do I give into the lie which says I have nothing of beauty to offer in the areas which matter most to me as a woman when that is the very means through which the Lord intends to bear witness to Himself as the Beautiful One?
As women, it’s not just our minds and hospitality that come into play. Jesus is Lord over our mannerisms, our physicality, our femininity, our attractiveness, our sensuality, our tenderness, our creativity, our ability to bring out the best in men and women. To hide any part of this is to render ourselves ineffective for glorifying God as women to the full extent that He desires. This especially includes His call on our lives as it relates to our role as sisters in Christ.
So again I ask, where am I keeping myself veiled where God wants me to shine brilliantly to reflect His beauty? And how by the wisdom of God do I unveil myself in a way that honors and glorifies God? How do I stop giving into fear which keeps my defenses up, my heart wary, and the basket of sorts over and above my head? Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, as we learn in Galatians, so God how do I live in freedom, especially as it relates to my family, my friendships, and other associations? What are the things that cause me to hide?
Deliver me, oh God. “Deliver me from me, and deliver me to You. Come and set me free. Come and find me tried and true.” (Margaret Becker, “Deliver Me”)
Lord, the accuser is so active, seeking to keep me paralyzed in fear, stacking up the evidence against me that reinforces his lies — Many have abandoned you. What makes you think now will be any different? Expect rejection. Expect desolation. Expect loneliness. Expect to be discarded. Look at exhibits A through ZZ. They all prove my point. So just protect yourself. Don’t let them do this to you again. Be wise and look out for yourself. You’re the one who gets hurt in the end. Always. Just deal with life as is and just get by. Really. This is as good as life gets.
And the web of lies he spins feels so real, so logical, Lord. Oh God, renew our minds! Let all of us women be transformed and know what Your good and perfect will is (Romans 12:1-2). Let us not lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6), but trust you and commit our way to you (Psalm 37). Let us adorn ourselves both outwardly and inwardly (I Peter 3) and be the women of influence You’ve called us to be, especially to the men You’ve placed in our paths.
And help us be the truth-telling, winsome, confident, beautiful women of grace who You call us to be. Let us not give into fear or agree with the accuser, but let us resist the devil so that he will flee and humble ourselves before you and submit to You, Your Lordship, and Your truth. (James 4 & I Peter 4). Amen.