In my hand was a simple survey. Eight questions about sin and our capacity to hide it. The answers on the card were not mine, but the answers of someone else in the room. As my card was in the hands of another, I wondered what they thought of anonymous me. The pastor asked those holding a card with a yes answer to please stand as he read the questions. As I stood up, I felt the weight of pain of so many in the room. I sat while one of the next questions was read and the card I held said no. Looking around the room, I wondered who was standing because of my card, on behalf of my sin.
We learned to hide early on. We learned we were loved and accepted when we did good and acted the way we were supposed to. We learned to hide our mistakes, our ugliness, our messes, our sin. We believed that no one would love us if they really knew us. So we live a double life. As Brennan Manning says in The Ragamuffin Gospel,
“When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.”
Yep, that’s me.
There is a light side and a dark side to each of our stories. It’s easy to display the light, and hide the dark. But if we are to live by grace we have to acknowledge the whole of us, our entire life story, the light and the dark. When we can accept who we are, we can understand what God’s grace means. Manning also says, “…women who are truly filled with light are those who have gazed deeply into the darkness of their imperfect existence. “ Maybe we need to start there, dealing with the parts we hide.
My name is Nicole DeVries. I am not a writer, but I love to hang out and talk about real stuff. My real stuff includes my husband Jesse and our 5 kiddos. We’re a big, crazy, loud family that is trying to figure out how to do life (oh, and we drive a really big van). In my spare time I get to work my dream job as the Outreach Director at Southeast. I love to read, laugh, and drink coffee. I really dislike sorting socks, hot dogs, and things that smell bad, like hot dogs.