Featured Contributor: Beth D. Saavedra
A certain iconic cyclist recently lost his hero status (not to mention his Tour de France titles) when he confessed publicly to lying about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. I’m not a professional athlete, but I’m not that different from Lance Armstrong, if truth be told. There’s a fiction about myself that I want to maintain, and sometimes I’m not even sure what is the true me and what are the lies I believe about myself.
Maybe you and I won’t ever have our deceptions exposed on a national stage, but moments of truth will come to us, when life holds a mirror up to our flaws. Maybe I see myself as patient, but the tear-filled eyes of my child tell me my mouth is out of control. Maybe I think I’m a healthy eater, but my inability to button my jeans tells me otherwise. Maybe I believe I’m a decent employee, but I get a poor performance review mentioning my lack of discipline. Maybe I want to be a respectful and loving wife, but I catch myself yet again, rolling my eyes in contempt at my spouse. Now go ahead and fill in the blank…
The moment when our duplicity is revealed doesn’t have to make us despair. In fact, those moments can be occasions for hope. In the words of Thomas Merton, “The man who sweats under his mask, whose role makes him itch with discomfort, who hates the division in himself, is already beginning to be free.” The first step to freedom is to truly see our self-deceptions. It may be painful to acknowledge we aren’t who we want to be, but confronting a hard truth is better than living in the chains of an easy lie.
But wait, there’s more good news! God already sees the painful truth about who we are, and he loves us just the same. David Benner, in his excellent book, “The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery” writes that freedom comes by recognizing three deep truths: our self as deeply loved by God… our self as deeply sinful… and our self as in a process of being redeemed and restored.
Isn’t the reason we construct false selves because we want to be loved?
And we fear we won’t be worthy of love if our true self were known?
Yet we are already known (with all our flaws!) and we are already loved (by Jesus Christ, himself!).
Why not step into that process of being redeemed and restored? Jesus wants to set us free, and he says, “…if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:32)
There is much to be learned from fallen famous heroes that are broken and seek to make amends. What fallen famous hero has impacted your life?
Not all of us are fallen famous heroes but we have all fallen. How do you get back up again?