Disguised hearts

I wanted to be a spy when I grew up.

I loved to dress up in old clothes of my parents and costumes I’d acquired over the years. I had a whole box full of disguises. And I even carried around an orange, plastic case of quick-change disguises for emergency circumstances. One of my disguises included a puppet dog, who I guess was supposed to make me look like a different person!

As I grew, I learned that being a spy wasn’t the only time a disguise came in handy. After painful rejection experiences, I began putting on a costume around friends and sometimes family. As a quick change artist, I could hide my woundedness behind a plastic smile and happy tone of voice. But on the inside, I still hurt.

There’s one place I was most inclined to wear my disguise, and that was when I approached Heaven’s throne. To talk to God was surely to need a costume of some sort. A costume to make myself more appealing, more likeable . . less cumbersome, less frail.

For years my prayers to God were often no more than repeated mantras said over and over again to try to gain favor. The more mindless, the better. My face before God was one that hid my deepest problems and most scary questions. Though I didn’t have an orange case to carry with me, I had plenty of ways to deflect God from exploring my real heart—or so I thought.

What I’ve found, though, is that God isn’t looking for quick change artists who always say “fine” when He asks how they are and never carry their troubles to Him. Rather, He’s looking for real people who want a real relationship with Him. He is ready and able to pick up our burdens for us, and labor with them all the way to Golgotha. And even though He already knows all things, He longs for us to trust Him enough to share our true hearts with Him.

God showed His preference for the real in the story of Job. Even though Job’s friends were full of beautiful-sounding, daintily-gilded sayings about God, it was Job’s hard questions that God found honest. Even though Job asked some fierce questions of God, God directed Job to make a sacrifice of atonement for his friends, not for himself.

The next time you’re tempted to come before God with a disguise, remember this: God already knows who you are and He wants you to show Him the real you. Not only can He handle all the dark parts of you, but He can even bring light to them and transform you into the son or daughter He dreams of you becoming.

O Lord, you have examined my heart

and know everything about me. (Psalm 139:1, NLT)

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