God's Love, Identity, Intentional Living, Uncategorized

Humility: Choosing to Live Real

Wearing masks

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I suspect I’m not the only one who’s done it.

Who’s donned a mask for one reason or another.

Sometimes I’ve done it to impress others.

More often though, I’ve placed that mask over the real me because it felt safer to have people look at the image they thought was me than the picture of the actual me. Living as the real me was too dangerous.

sofa and light

I’ve addressed before the fear that I am not enough in other’s eyes. That my “less-than” status could be hidden behind a mask—the one who has it together, or the one who has lived life in observer-mode because it felt safer.

I wore a mask for God too.

The problem is, God sees right through my masks. He sees the hurting heart inside.

Prayerful hands

And he says, “Daughter, I love you. Nothing can separate you from My love.”

Nothing I’ve done or haven’t done.

Nothing I’ve promised and then broken that promise.

All the ways I’ve failed Him.

The times I ran from Him.

Nothing can separate me from God’s love.

Which is true of all of us.

Tender grasses

When God asks us if we’re ready to take off our masks and start living real? That’s when things get scary. Because to take off our masks requires humility.

I heard Dr. Juli Slattery say this recently:

“The self hates to die. We come to God for mercy and healing, but we want our dignity intact. We want God to do work in our lives, but we don’t want it to be messy.”

Dr Juli Slattery quote

When a surgeon performs surgery, it’s messy. The gloves bear blood. Instruments get dirty. Sometimes his surgical gown ends up with smears on it.

And yet, when we ask God to work in us—to change us—we want Him to keep things tidy.

We want to be able to walk through the surgery dignified, to come out on the others side looking just like we did when we entered the surgical center. Anyone who’s had surgery knows there’s no dignity in wearing a big cloth gown and almost nothing else. Being hooked up to needles and tubes and having oxygen fed in through your nose.

Winter shriveled fruit

When we come to the place where we want God to change us—to work through the messes in our lives—we need to be humble enough to accept it’s gonna get messy. We must come to a place where we’ll be real with God.

We’re going to cry, rage, cry some more. And I’m not talking the soft dainty mewlings. Rather, those deep, guttural wipe-your-nose sobs.

When God confronts us with our inaccurate mindsets and misunderstandings . . .

When He reveals sin we’ve hidden in our hearts . . .

When we come to the place of seeing these as God does . . .

We’re going to be broken. It’s going to get messy.

winter grasses

The beauty in humbling ourselves and inviting God to work in our lives is He doesn’t leave us in that messy place.

Just like the surgeon performs the work that brings healing and restoration in our bodies, and cleans us up afterwards,

God does an amazing, redemptive, freeing work within our hearts, our thoughts, our spirits, cleaning and purifying us.

Light behind clouds

He removes the dross and the ugly and the darkness from us and replaces it with His light.

When we lay aside our masks in humility, God can work. When we’re ready to be real with Him, He can rewrite the stories of our lives (Click to tweet). He fills us with joy in those places that once housed insecurity, depression, darkness.


When we’re willing to get messy with God, He honors the humility. He works restoration. Whether it takes a few days, or years, He’s in the business of redeeming, healing, and drawing us closer to Himself.

And it all begins with laying aside our masks and inviting Him in.

What about you? What masks have you worn? What work did God do to help you lay aside a mask?

***Due to some “life-stuff,” I’ll be taking a break from blogging for awhile. I hope to be back the end of May or early June. Thank you for your understanding, and I’ll look forward to re-connecting with you then!

Today, I’m linking up with Holly Barrett and #RaRaLinkup.


30 thoughts on “Humility: Choosing to Live Real”

  1. Not really mask – but i learned to be the Gray Man. Object is to be so unmemorable that if you get on an elevator and I am the only other person there, you will remember it as having been alone.

    If I make to ACFW – not likely – you will see me if I want to be seen. Otherwise no.

    In some circumstances, it can be difference between living, and dying unpleasantly.



    1. Andrew, I know you did that as part of your job. I think I’ve tried to be unmemorable for other reasons. 🙂 I’m learning not to practice invisibility/unmemorability as I become more comfortable with who God made me to be.

      If you make it to ACFW, you’d better not go Gray Man on me. 😉

      In all seriousness, I am praying for you. Often, friend.


  2. This is powerful! We don’t become His MASTERPIECE without getting MESSY along the way! P.S. I know this was for me today because RESTORE is my word for 2016. I pray your break from blogging will be refreshing and restorative! Blessings, liz


    1. Liz, I’m so glad God used these words in your life today. RESTORE . . . what a great word! Mine is AUTHENTIC. I’m so glad God is the master of cleaning up the messes in our lives. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeanne, my husband and I spoke on 1 Peter 5:5-10 at church last weekend. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God…” Your words today are reminding me of that message. He promises to restore and confirm us as we humble ourselves before Him. I hope you enjoy your blogging break. I hope your need for a break is just regular life stuff and nothing serious.


    1. That is such a great passage, Betsy. There are promises attached to it that offer such hope. Believe me when I say I need to remember 1 Pet 5:5-10 more often than I do.

      Thanks for the well-wishes for my blogging break. There are some things that need more attention than I have time. So, for now, blogging will take a back burner. 🙂


  4. I will miss you while you are gone. Please message me if there is an intention I can pray for specifically while you are gone.

    I am notorious for wearing a mask, believing that it is protecting me and others from who I really am. But ever since I have been writing, God has slowly peeled back the layers to reveal the real me. The process has been one of healing and an understanding of how God made me. It is beautiful for sure but scary to think that others know my story now too. God calls us to humility and even if it messy along the way it becomes beautiful as He redeems us. Thank you for these words and sharing your heart for all of us. Love and hugs!


    1. Thanks, Mary. I’ll miss connecting here!

      Like you, as I’ve engaged in writing, God has really helped me unlock many of my reasons and motivations for wearing a mask. He’s revealing more of Himself to me as I walk things out with Him. It’s been healing for me too. 🙂

      Humility . . . I have a feeling I’ll be learning how to live this one out for the rest of my days. 🙂 Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself here today.


  5. Jeanne, YES! I decided a long time ago to take of the Christians are perfect mask and get dirty in the trenches, with my own life and with others around me. We are going through some pretty ugly stuff with some others right now, and I covet your prayers in this.

    You will be missed friend, but sometimes it’s necessary to step back.


    1. Christy, I love what you said about taking off the Christian mask and getting dirty in the trenches of life. It’s not always an easy choice to make, but it’s the better choice. I’m so sorry you’re going through some ugly stuff right now. I’ll be praying my friend.


  6. Jeanne, I just got done writing something about pride (my own) that I will post on my blog soon. So yes, I get what you’re saying here, more than I can say! I’ll miss you while you’re gone but hope the break is productive. (Also, I just read your “About” section and smiled quite broadly at what you call your sons in this space.)


    1. Pride is one of my nemeses (plural of nemesis, maybe? 😉 ), as well. Sometimes it sneaks into my thoughts and heart so subtly I don’t see it at first. I’m so thankful for God’s patience, and His determination to help us overcome it.

      Yeah, I gave my boys their choice of names, and I LOVED that they chose the ones they did. 🙂

      I’ll miss hanging out here, but I’ll look forward to being back. 🙂


    1. Lisa, thank you. Though it will be hard not to be here, it will be good. Thankfully, it’s not a health scare or anything. I need to spend more time in other areas of my life for now. I’m guessing we’ve all been there.

      I appreciate you stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ll be praying for you during your hiatus, my friend! Yeah, I’ve had a few of those messy growth moments. It’s the best kind of growth, but not the nicest.


    1. Thanks for the prayers in advance, friend! That messy growth is the best time, but it’s seldom the most pleasant time in life. :). I wouldn’t change the things I’ve learned, the character I’ve gained through those messy times with God. 🙂


  8. THIS: “The beauty in humbling ourselves and inviting God to work in our lives is He doesn’t leave us in that messy place.”


  9. Jeanne, you reminded me of what my daughter recently went through. She has always wanted to be a vet. So she was allowed to sit through a surgery. She felt she’d be fine. But when she saw the blood dripping off the table, she got light-headed. It was messy to watch. And now, she may want to follow another career path. 🙂 When God does the work, it’s messy to watch … it’s messy getting where we need to be … getting to real.


    1. What a gift she received! To get a feel for a prospective career before engaging in the schooling aspect of preparing for it. It’s messy getting to the place of real . . . so true, Shelli!


  10. jeanne, as a nurse, i love the illustration of surgery. so often, we want change, but don’t want the surgery that is needed to bring it about…with all the mess, pain, and discomfort involved! great post!

    sorry to hear you’re taking a break. i’m thinking that might be a good idea for me soon too. until i have a clear plan though, i’ll probably keep writing for now. blessings:)


    1. You’re right, Martha. We want the end result, but we don’t want to go through the necessary change. Sometimes we just need to take breaks, don’t we? I will truly miss interacting with everyone here. I always appreciate your insights. Thank you for stopping by!


  11. Surgery is very messy, yes! Yet so much healing. Love this analogy on how God is our great Surgeon, but it still can be messy. But we can’t do surgery on ourselves can we? We can’t cut our own selves open, or if we do, it gets even messier as we can’t see what we are doing. Have a great break and see you in a month or so!


    1. Yes, Lynn, there is much healing that comes from surgery. I loved your word picture. With the exception of Andrew, I don’t know anyone who has performed surgery on themselves (and he did it out of necessity). We can’t do the spirit work, the heart work, by ourselves. We need God’s hand working on us because He can see where the cuts and stitches and mending need to happen.

      I’ll look forward to connecting with you in a month or so!


  12. I love this quote from Dallas Willard: “A vision of God secures humility. Seeing God for who He is enables us to see ourselves for what we are. This makes us bold, for we see clearly what great good and evil are at issue, and we see that it is not up to us to accomplish it, but up to God–who is more than able. We are delivered from pretending, from being presumptuous about ourselves, and from pushing as if the outcome depended on us. We persist without frustration, and we practice calm and joyful noncompliance with evil of every kind.”


    1. The first line of that quote stopped me, Gene. When we have a vision of just WHO God is, we realize humility is the only valid response. I love how Dallas Willard’s quote shows how our vision clears when we see who God is. We see the good and evil at issue. We see that God truly IS more than able. And yes, we are delivered from any sort of pretense. Because we can see ourselves through His lens. I’ll be thinking about this quote through the evening. Thank you for sharing. 🙂 Have a great weekend!


Comments are closed.