We can easily live on the surface of our lives and forget that our sub-conscious and unconscious minds exist in us and hold maybe differing, even opposing views to our conscious minds. We can clean up our act, looking loving and good on the surface, but hold judgment, anger, and fear on the inside. As I have given some thought to this subject, I have come up with a list of interior voices that perhaps conflict with the persona we present to the world.
So what about
the inner critic,
the my-way-or-the-highway demander?
the hopeless one?
the unlovable one?
What voices reside in you and belie the face that you present to the world?
On the outside, we may present ourselves as loving, caring, dedicated and more, but so often these great characteristics are the opposite of the attitudes of our inner self, of our thoughts even as we’re trying to look good and loving and caring. We all are great at reading other people and whether what they say adds up to who they really are, and others read us in the same way. Of course, this is an unconscious, even intuitive sense we have of the other person, but this sense knows whether we can really trust what another is saying, or the image he or she is presenting to the world.
Shakespeare wrote this: “to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” I think there is a truth in this statement beyond what Shakespeare meant for Polonius to say in Hamlet. If we are to live in truth, we must be consistent on the outside and on the inside. No more facades. No more looking good. Just being good. Jesus put it this way: “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free…So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
Jesus set the example of freedom from all human cares and yet He cared deeply for His fellow human beings, especially the poor, the lepers, the ill, the down-trodden, the outcasts. He was the same on the outside as His own inner attitudes. He came to show us how to live in His kingdom, how to live as a branch on His vine, how to love everyone else, how to be true to our creation and to the image of God within us.
One of the great gifts of the spiritual life in Christ is that all of this stuff will be healed by God, eventually. We will be free of our burdens, our pain and suffering, our guilt and shame, and any need to be other than we are. We won’t need to make ourselves better than we are. We won’t need to put on airs. Just to be who we were created to be. Just another human being in God’s kingdom.
Jesus is the one who brings this freedom to us. To be followers of His we reap the benefits of our devotion: we “are called to be free.” Freedom “leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” Freed from our burdens, freed from slavery, freed from the chains of this world, freed from sin, freed to be our own true selves in Christ: “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
To be free means that we believe in Jesus Christ, that we have faith in Him and that we follow Him in all that we do. And then we are free to be ourselves, our true selves as we were created to be, to come before God in love, to love God with all that we are, and to love our neighbors—every other human being.
Questions to ponder over the week: What attitudes/unconscious or conscious belie the face I want to present to the world? Am I hiding judgment? Pain? Anger? Fear? Shame? Guilt? Have I lifted up these attitudes to the Lord for healing? Am I transparent and free to talk about my human frailties or do I cover them up? What is the first thing in me that has to be healed? And then? (Just sit with the ones that seem to call you.)
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who acknowledge our own human frailties, who can identify with another’s pain and suffering. May we seek out the stories of the people we meet, hear their pain and feel it with them. May we be loving and forgiving or ourselves and of them.
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I am collecting conversion stories. I am still not sure what the Lord’s intention is for collecting these, but if you would care to share yours, I would only use your initials to identify the author.
 John 8:32-36
 Luke 4:18 “The spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”
 John 15:5
 Matthew 5-7 the Sermon on the Mount
 Genesis 1:27
 Matthew 11:28-30
 Galatians 5:13-14
 Romans 6:22
 Acts 13:39, Romans 8:2
 Galatians 5:1
 Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25