God doesn’t ask us to hold it all together before Him.
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Happy Saturday, Friend.

Today I invited Shandyn Paul to share some helpful strategies for all of us who struggle with fear and anxiety on a regular basis. It is so encouraging to know that God loves and accepts us even when we fall apart. -Sarah Koontz

Years of hurt and disappointment had left a barricade around my heart. For the past six months or more, I had fought a battle in my own mind.

Anxiety and depression left me riddled with fear. I was numb and paralyzed by the world around me.

Every day felt more like a daunting task than a blessing. I had grown so accustomed to masking my true feelings that I began to approach the Lord fully suited, too.

I came to Him with a brave face and my mask firmly in place.

I petitioned Him with matters that couldn’t begin to scratch the surface of my wounds. I did my best to conceal all the pain I was holding inside.

When alone, I would cry just as David did in Psalm 6:6 NLT, “I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping.” My mask couldn’t hold in the tears, and I needed help from God.

As I prayed while walking around my pool one morning, the Lord began to strip away the false protection I’d been wearing. He started to peel back the layers of my worn-out mask. Before long, I was laid bare before Him with every scar and wound on display.

That’s when tears slipped from my eyes, and I cried out: “Lord, I’m afraid. I’m worried. I am anxious. I am all the things Your Word tells me not to be.”

Just as I had whispered this prayer to Him, He whispered back in response: “Daughter, I know every bit of hurt and disappointment you have faced. I know every fear you hold. I know the anxiety you have in your heart. I know because I’ve been with you every step of the way. And I’ll continue to be with you.”

Though I had come to Him in my full armor, including my worn mask, He knew the fragile woman beneath it all.

Psalm 139:1 ESV reminds us, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!” He not only sees us behind our armor; He dearly loves our unmasked selves.

Despite our best efforts to hold ourselves together, our gracious Father takes all of our broken pieces and holds us instead.

We can come to the Lord unmasked. We can approach the throne of grace with full confidence in the Lord (Heb 4:16). No matter what we bring to Him, He can handle it when we cannot.

We can lay our masks at His feet along with every burden we are carrying.

We may be hesitant to let our masks go because they feel like protection. But God will show us how our masks become barricades. We may use masks to try to keep out any hurt, so it may be hard to set them down.

But as we do so, He will pull us lovingly to Him, and we can lean into His gentle embrace. He will catch our tears in his bottles (Ps 56:8) and shine His loving gaze upon us (Nm 6:25).

Has your mask become worn and tattered? Are you longing to set aside your mask to stand free in the shelter of the Lord Most High?

Here are five things to remember when you become unmasked before God:

  1. He promises never to leave us (Josh 1:5).
  2. He protects us from harm (Ps 32:7).
  3. He invites us to come to Him fully surrendered and unmasked (Rm 12:1).
  4. He offers a place of safety and security for us (Ps 18:2).
  5. He holds us in a loving embrace (Ps 63:8).

God doesn’t ask us to hold it all together before Him.

God sees it all because, dear one, He’s been walking with you every step of the way. You don’t have to hide your true feelings with Him.

You can step out unmasked before God in complete confidence because He loves you so very much.

Even when you feel there is no way, He is there. He will carry you when you aren’t sure you can go any further.

Though you may be falling apart, He is waiting to put you back together. Come to Him with every broken piece, each bruise and scar you hold.

He’s waiting for you.

“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:7-12 ESV

- Shandyn Paul
Shandyn is a wife and mother of two boys. She is self-proclaimed as a socially awkward overthinker and too much of a people pleaser. Despite all of those things, she is a lover and follower of Jesus. She is passionate about sharing Him with others through her faith and writing. On the rare occasion she finds herself in a quiet car, she will crank up worship music with the windows down. Read more of Shandyn's writing on her blog or connect on Instagram and Facebook.
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