Thursday, October 9, 2008


“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here." - Marianne Williamson


Unfortunately it's a word that is rarely used in reference to human relationships.

Somehow it's strange. Somehow it's uncomfortable. For some reason, hardly anyone practices it.

Well...she's a bit different. She wears dark clothes and dark makeup, and her straightened hair falls over who knows what kind of eyes she has.

She slouches against the doorway of a room buzzing with life and activity, like a wallflower afraid to be one.

Her attitude speaks louder than her words.

But wait. She hasn't spoken yet. We haven't allowed her to.

Finally, someone chooses to single her out in the crowd. She extends a hand, and the long hair falls back from her face, revealing the bluest, deepest eyes.

Ten bracelets line her arm, but her grasp is the kindest we've ever felt. She speaks, and authenticity rings through her voice and says more than her words do.

She is a deep river, found beneath the rocky landscape of the world. But she's afraid and she's clinging to the image of someone she's not.

He's all put together on the outside; suit, tie, hair - straight from a magazine.

He steps into his office with firmness and presents business plans that are stamped with confidence.

His eyes laugh, dancing from the reflection of all and any light. But if we look closely, do we see fear lurking behind them?

He smiles at his colleagues, but underneath the suit, underneath the smile and underneath the confidence, he's kicking and screaming, finished with happiness and tired of life.

If we didn't read past his firm handshake and his measured pace, we'd never really know him. And he would never be able to change.

Why is that we go to church every Sunday and never really know our fellow church-goers - even the one sitting next to us?

Why are we bound by fear, afraid to be ourselves in an open, honest way? Why do we grab an image and cling to it, portraying it as the real revelation of ourselves when it is just a mask, a cover-up for the real person inside?

Why is it that an entire world is content with passing each other every day, living and working with each other and continually dwelling with each other on a level of superficiality?

No one wants to open up. No one wants to be rejected. And that's understandable.

Everyone wants to be understood, but there seems to be a rarity of understanding people just now. That explains why there's a startling abundance of hurting ones.

There is something that our world needs more than televangelists, tracts, radio programs, and churches, believe it or not.

Transparent people. Understanding hearts.

Someone once said, "If you can teach a heart to trust you, you can teach it anything." So true. I suppose the opposite must also be true. If you can't teach a heart to trust you, you can't teach it anything.


I am guilty of doing this so many times. Trying to teach when I should be listening. Trying to keep my image together when I should be throwing it down, revealing exactly the kind of person I really am. Trying to get compassion when I should be giving it.

I worry about the salvation of the world and forget about the unsaved in my own family. I am concerned about the people in my city not having anyone to truly know them, and I never bother to really know my best friend. I am so often focused on the outward; that shallow image, and never think to dwell on the heart.

I am charged with hypocrisy by my own conscience and the whispering of a small voice deep inside me.

I tell the world its faults, and neglect to reveal my own. I do my best to cover my sinful tracks, and my utmost to discover others.

And just when I think I am deep, I am beyond all others the most shallow. I can hide my heart the best.

Change comes when we find in ourselves in need of a Saviour.

It shows itself to the world when we reveal our sinful hearts to the heart next to us, revealing ourselves as real people, with real problems and hurt, as well as real hearts.

Hope never whispers its arrival. When it speaks, it is loud and victorious. It opens up its gates and pours out blessings. It tells the world who is its Master and why they are loved. It gives purpose to souls, throwing open doors of opportunity for the kingdom of God.

Its reach is unfathomable. Its effect is utterly indescribable. And it's here, ready for the taking, prepared for a great experience - ready to redeem. Me. You. The world.

But it begins with us. It begins in my heart, when I choose everyday to leave my mask on the shelf and put on the love of Jesus Christ. It starts when I've decided to listen instead of be heard. When I turn to the person next to me and ask how they are. When they reply, "Fine. How are you?" it begins when I look into their eyes, beyond the disguise, past the hurt, and ask, "No - how are you really?"

A revelation hits me in the form of a word, and I think I know its name.

Sometimes we call it love. Sometimes we call it hope. But it has told me its name.

We call it redemption.

And it will change the world.


Bethany Grizzard said...

Wow. That's really inspiring, Sarah! It gave me the chills. Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts....

Cheri said...

Wow, excellant and challenging thoughts. Thankyou!

Anonymous said...

You did it again.
You rock!!
Thank you so much.

Sarah Byrum said...

You all make me smile. Thanks a lot. :-)

Ruth Ann said...

wow, Sarah. THANK YOU. I read this a couple days ago but kept it pulled up as I read through it.

Thank you for the challenge. Too often I am hiding behind a mask and not wanting to be the real me. Wow, you put it into words. I appreciate that. A whole lot. Thank you for being used of God.

Write again soon. You always inspire me. :)

- Ruth Ann