A few years ago, I (Marilynn) stepped of a plane and into another country for the first time in my life. I was in London and thought I'd never see the light of day. Round and round, I walked through the tunnel maze called Heathrow airport. Stopping to re-shuffle my many bags, I looked up and saw this woman. I had to take a picture of this picture to tease a few women I knew that were so concerned about their wrinkles at the time. Aren't we all concerned about our so-called imperfections? In a sense we miss the telling of great stories when we mask ourselves having fallen for an age-old lie: He can't be trusted. This woman seemed pretty resigned to her fate. Aren't we tempted to do the same? As Stasi says, "we vacillate between striving and resignation" hoping never to be exposed.
Speaking of being exposed, I am taking a class on non-verbal interpersonal communications. We've been watching a British series called "The Human Face" narrated by John Cleese. It's fascinating stuff and Liz Hurley is his perfect sidekick of sorts. While the series covers a multiplicity of ideas, one really leaped out at me. According to scientific study, our attitudes become grooved into our face over time. Up until forty years of age, we aren't responsible for how we look. However, from forty on, we have become the creators of our condition. Have you ever noticed an older man with sad droopy eyes and a permanent frown? Most likely, he's lived a life filled with sadness. The same goes for those that looked embittered, hagged or, on the other side of the coin, youthful, joyful and forgiving. After forty, we can't blame God for the mug that we have. Why am I sharing these thoughts? If you have delved into chapters three and four, you may understand where I am going. What happens when we refuse to look in the mirror? Inevitably, un-forgiveness, judgment and misunderstanding create deep faults within our hearts. Worse yet, we position ourselves to pass generations of ignorance down to our children. How did Eve get so off track?
She hid, much like we hide behind controlling behaviors, unrestricted appetites and means of image maintenance. Why are we hiding? Why did Eve hide? I am convinced that had Adam and Eve immediately turned around and ran to their friend and father, he would have forgiven them on the spot. Instead, they fell for the lie: something is horribly wrong with me that I must hide. I know I have spent years and a fortune trying to hide my heart from those I loved. What if they rejected me? And so, I ran and embraced a lifestyle of hiding in place of a life filled with relationships. According to Mr. Cleese, had I continued my face would have told my story regardless.
I never really ever stopped to find out what I was hiding from. I sought out friends around whom I was normal. It wasn't until I interacted with people that lived lifestyles of forgiveness and healing that I realized what I had become. I had divorced my heart. Who are you in hiding with? Look around yourself. Are you surrounded by women that challenge you or pat you on the back and hand you another chocolate bar? Most of us are hiding from a common source of hurt: our wounds. They come wrapped in different experiences. Some of us still hear words spoken by an angry father, we see ourselves banished from the playground from taunting peers. It doesn't stop there, our wounds continue to build past, present and future. For those of us that are married, we know that an argument with our spouse can lead to these words, "Oh forget it, never mind." We can have the same reactions to a conflict with a friend. In doing so, we buried our true feelings under a pseudo compliance and "we adopted strategies to protect ourselves from being hurt again."
I am painting a pretty bleak picture aren't I? If you made it to the end of chapter four you may have encountered this statement "The wounds that we have received over our lifetimes have not come to us in a vacuum. There is, in fact, a theme to them, a pattern. The wounds you have received have come to you for a purpose from the one who know all you are meant to be and fears you." The questions, the hiding and the wounds tell a story of the power and potential of your heart. I challenge you to take a deep look in your heart. What is mirrored there that you don't like? This past Sunday, a group of us met in person and discovered the power in acknowledging our hidden hearts. It was real and raw, ugly and beautiful all at the same time. We stopped running and positioned ourselves in vulnerability. A funny thing happened. We realized that He can be trusted and we emerged much stronger than we ever knew we could be. I challenge you to be free today, reject resignation and trust your heart to the One that loves you!