Friday, August 19, 2016

Solitude Before God Rips Off the Disguise

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, Michigan
The person you see on Facebook is probably not who they really are. They have created a persona, an image of something they would like to be seen as. They are clever, witty, cool, beautiful, and happy. Or they are dark, mysterious, and deep. And they may be very smart. But again, all these are appearances, and they are in fact none of these. 

There are exceptions. These are people walking the long road of self-examination before God. This requires solitude with God. Thomas Merton knew that the solitary life does not tolerate illusion and self-deception. He wrote: "Solitude rips off all the masks and all the disguises. It does not tolerate lies." (A Year with Thomas Merton, August 8, Kindle Loc 4074)

In solitude - lengthy periods of it - we do not have people to blame or praise us, to give us false wisdom about who we are, what we have been made for, and what we are to do. It's just us and God. And God sees into the heart behind the face behind the persona. 

I am not all that I imagined myself to me. I am what God thinks of me. Discovering more and more about the truth of me is what sets me free the false labor of self-construction.