Amy

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Comments, emails, Facebook messages. Friday’s post struck a chord.

What makes our story enticing to others? What draws people to us? What are the building blocks of our identity?

I haven’t replied to the comments. I will. I want to let them breath. To honor them and not rush in.

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” The Wizard of Oz says after Toto had pulled back the curtain revealing his true identity. He looks over his shoulder and sees Dorothy, The Tin Woodsman, The Cowardly Lion, and the beloved Scarecrow no longer beseeching the hologram on the wall with the booming voice, but staring at the man.

The ordinary man behind the curtain.

Red shoes

I am the ordinary woman behind the adjective.

When the adjective is pulled back and you see me or I see you, who will we see?

You bore witness in the comment section to your story. It is the Accuser who wants us to believe that we have to have the persona of a Wizard to matter. To be of value. To have influence. And if we don’t we are not important.

Do not believe it.

This afternoon I volunteered with my sister at Samaritan’s Purse and helped package and box about fifty seven thousand five hundred and fourteen boxes (slight exaggeration. I’m clearly not made to be a “factory girl”) — but there was a RUSH in performing, in doing good to children in the name of the Reason for the Season, in thinking that the MORE I DID RIGHT NOW, the better it would be for some child somewhere (side note to a church in Kansas — your boxes were pathetic. Your many, many boxes. And it made me sad. Represent your state better!).

My point is, I can see why so many of us can’t resist the sirens calls to perform, perform, perform. To impress people with our stories and outputs. My point is not, don’t volunteer. Do volunteer, do notice the least, do connect and invest.

You are important not because of your story or the persona you feel pressure to present. When The Wizard came out from behind the curtain the result, paradoxically, was relationship. 

Doesn’t that seem backwards? When he was seen, really seen, it drew people to him.

But that is the paradox of faith. The first will be last. The meek will inherit the earth. And you and I will have richer relationships when we step out from behind the curtain.

It’s risky as all get out and not everyone will be let in to the same level. But the depth and richness of our relationships is one of the ways we bear witness as image bearers.

Share the name of someone(s) who help you feel free to come out from behind the curtain. We’d love to hear.

photo credit from Rosa Pomar at Flickr

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  1. Amanda December 10, 2013 at 7:11 am - Reply

    Amy, I (like so many) am blessed by your openness. I can tell I will be revisiting these posts and the comment section whenever I face transitions and have a sense of identity loss in order to gain insights and encouragement. To be honest I experience a bit of identity loss even when I return to the States for a summer. Recently it struck me why summers were so hard in that way. In China, I’m important and independent. I have my own place where I cook and host and decorate to reflect me. I am a “foreign expert” and my students call me “teacher.” I navigate train stations and post offices and markets in a different language and cultural norms. I have a job. I’m busy. In America, I live with my parents. I don’t have a job I go to every day. I feel lazy. I borrow my parents’ car. I spend lots of time at coffee shops and restaurants to meet with friends. My family and friends have never seen the “China Amanda.” They’ve never seen me “important” (Yes, I know how that sounds!)
    Last summer when I started to express some of those thoughts and concerns with a few trusted State-side friends, they simply looked at me in surprise and said that they never once thought of me negatively in that way. Yes, they are interested in my life in China. But, Yes, they are also interested in Me, as a person. If I were doing any other work they would still like me. Just as I like them and am interested in their “ordinary” work and lives in the States. Those good friends in the States, ones I usually only get to talk to once a year, have helped me step outside the curtain to just be myself, no matter what country I’m in.

  2. Gayle December 10, 2013 at 9:32 am - Reply

    I’ll need to go back and read the previous post/comments but this struck a chord. Love Amanada’s comment above. Our church secretary is this incredible getter-doner. But it’s in her vulnerability and imperfections (as she slowly lets me in) that I love her the most. In her ‘real’ identity, she is scary and other worldly.

    I feel most free at a weird place – yoga class. My big belly gets in the way of moves and is not hidden in my yoga-wear. Bt the teacher weekly preaches “no judgement.” “Don’t look at your neighbour.” “This is YOUR practice.” “Do what you can.” “Breath – the breath is more important than how you look!” It’s sunk in. It feels like family there.

    And lastly, Satan first deceives and then accuses.

  3. Avatar photo
    Amy December 10, 2013 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    It you’re wanting a Disney video to go along with the theme of this post, a friend sent me this link today:

  4. Mark Allman December 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    I think everyone is different once you pull the curtain back. It is hard for us to throw aside our own curtain and convince someone else to let us see behind theirs. Relationships become so much richer and deeper if we are willing to be truly seen.

  5. Holly December 17, 2013 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Well said, Amy, well said. And this is something I needed to be reminded of today, thank you!

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